Jirga denounces drone attacks
The gentleman who is a lawyer told me that these drone attacks are being directed by the CIA Chief in Islamabad. He found his name with great difficulty and learnt that he is on a business visa but is operating as a diplomat and claims diplomatic immunity. When he learnt that they are taking him to the Court he ran away from Pakistan. So, I thought Hellary Clinton was right that there are no Black Waters in Pakistan but they have contcted firms to do some security work. Obviously even these so-called contractors are in fact the same thing as Blackwater . Coming on business visas they should neither operate from the Embassy nor are entitled to diplomatic visas nor to diplomatic immunity . Has US Embassy not learnt the lesson from Raymond Case.
I attended the “Jirga”. Judging from the attendance, that is the number of Waziris in the gathering it seemed as if the hall was located some where in Waziristan . At the extra large crescent shaped central table were a number of tribal maliks, may be about 20 or 30, I did not count them. Too many Waziris with huge turbans and locals men and women, blocked my view of the central table . Perhaps never before in history so many tribal chiefs had come to Islamabad privately or any where outside KP agitating their case and cause and that too peacefully . The hall was a mix of Islamabadis and Wazirs, and again I may say never so many Wazirs had come outside their jurisdiction to peacefully plead for their cause. I count this as a demonstration of great maturity of Pakistanis but more of the Tribals who are reputed to live by their guns Their reputation is that they speak with their guns. Here they were resorting to a civil method, political agitation, not that they have given up arms where words do not produce results. They were all loudly proclaiming their patriotism. “ Are we not Pakistanis that the Government do not stop” this massacre of our children, women and old men, by drone attacks was what they said with the spirit of an injured patriot.
Some reporter has made them say “ no one raises voice for us when our near and dear ones are killed” – there is no mention in the reports of some reporters of the protest that they were making to the Government on doing nothing to stop the drone attacks. The human presentation of the Jirga’s protest is missing in many reports, as if this was the protest of a lawyer in a Court. The visual presentation through the videos of the destruction of small mud houses, the dead bodies of the children, women, etc killed by the drone attacks added conviction to their lament in Islamabad, the seat of the government. Speakers after speaker repeated the point that drone attacks are counter productive and lead to revenge and thus fuel militancy. On the other hand if they are stopped the militancy it would eliminate terrorism automatically Yes, then the tribals could eliminate any militancy themselves, there was no need for foreigners to get involved in the matter.. They loudly said yes they can eliminate militancy themselves if the drone attacks are stopped. They said drone attacks ignite militancy and promote it, it is a wrong idea that they curb it. A Malik said what will I do if my children my family members are killed by the drones. Certainly I will take revenge. They protested that this was violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and yet the Government was not doing any thing. The extent upto which Chief Justice has caught the imagination of the common men, from Karachi to Khayber , for doing justice was illustrated by the appeal made to him to take suo motu notice of drone attacks and hold an independent enquiry into the harm it is doing and spreading hatred and causing as a reaction militancy- which was meant by thee Resolution to appeal to the Chief Justice Iftkhar Mohammed Choudhry.
The Maliks of North and South Waziristan presented a Resolution to the huge gathering which was passed unanimously by show of hands. There was not a single dissenting voice. This was a real people’s gathering and not an official show and yet passed unanimously.!
The Jirga called upon CJ Iftikhar M Choudhry to take suo motu notice of frequent drone attacks and hold an independent and transparent . inquiry into the matter
It called for an immediate halt to the drone attacks which were killing innocent people apart from the targeted terrorists. It said the US Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the drone attacks in that they were carried out from within the country and abroad in flagrant violation of international law and this was tantamount to massacre of citizens. It is sheer insult to humanity and violation of Art 14 of the Constitution .
It was clear at this meeting that Imran Khan was no longer an emerging leader in the country but has already emerged as a national leader to be reckoned with .In fact now there are PPP, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan before the nation as leaders. Many tribal leaders from the Jirga said that “Imran Khan is our leader” he is the only one who came to our areas and saw our sufferings and no one else.
He opposed the military action in Waziristan . Imran Khan ‘s influence on the tribals was quite visible which no one has so far . Imran Khan’s influence on the tribals was further illustrated by the fact that Clive Stafford Smith , Founder of Reprieve, UK based NGO, gave a presentation of the issue illustrated by vedeo clips at the hall full of the tribals fuming over the Drone attacks and in whose area no white man, English or American will be welcome. The foreign white persons also joined the protest march in the Blue Area no ordinary sight to be seen in northern Pakistan
As a genuine public protest by the most war like tribes in the world as a peaceful agitation and that too in Islamabad was a unique event. American activist was in their demonstration, something like a lion walking out of the cage with a man whom he never met before It showed how People of Pakistan are patriotic and united where Pakistan’s independence and honour is concerned while the leaders present a dismal picture What a national contrast.