By Asif Mehmood
LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that the drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and any other part of the world are insane, immoral, illegal and counterproductive.
While talking to the Times, Khan asked Britain to clarify its role and policy over drones and urged the public to engage in a debate on a form of extra-judicial killing that continues unchallenged despite outrage by human rights groups and the people who live in FATA.
Khan said, “Of drones I think two words – it’s immoral and it’s insane. Immoral because you cannot justify eliminating suspects and insane because it’s counterproductive. All it does is it turns more people against the US, hatred grows and the beneficiaries of this insanity are the militants.”
He termed drone strikes a war crime and said that the CIA never gave the names of the people killed. “It is too criminal to justify these acts, which are a violation of all humanitarian laws. You can’t eliminate suspects, their families, their children and anyone else who is killed and pass it off as collateral damage. All it does is aid the militancy,” he added.
Khan also opposed the drone strikes against alQaeda suspects in Yemen and Somalia, where similar tactics were being deployed. “Having seen the impact of drone attacks, I completely disagree with this way. It is inhuman. I don’t know how anyone presses buttons and eliminates human beings on information that might or might not be correct. How can this be civilised?”
Khan said that there was no evidence to show that missiles fired from faceless drones were destroying militant networks. Instead, he said they were prompting more tribesmen to join various branches of the Pakistani Taliban. “Things have gone from bad to worse. The only way to resolve the problem is to withdraw the drones, pull the Pakistani Army out of the Tribal Areas and let the people who live there weed out the alQaeda extremists and other foreign militants,” he added.
Khan said that he intends to expose the war that has been hidden from the public scrutiny, as it is happening in an area that is too dangerous for most foreign journalists to access. He said he plans to travel in a convoy to Waziristan in September with thousands of followers.
The PTI chief said he would bring the world’s media with him and introduce them to families of some of the people who have died since the US began its drone policy eight years ago.
“Einstein defined madness as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Eight years we’ve been bombing them and what are the results? This is not the way. The way to do it is to win the people to your side,” he said.
Khan is hoping to win lots of people to his side when his party competes in national elections against the two main political parties in Pakistan later this year or early in 2013.
“People all want a change. They are sick of these two main parties. Never has the situation for Pakistanis been as bad as it is today – highest inflation, highest unemployment and lawlessness has gone through the roof,” he said.