Senior Vice President Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) Ajmal Khan Wazir demanded this in an interview with TheNation and Nawa-i-Waqt during his visit to the Nawa-i-Waqt House on Thursday.
“The drone attacks issue should be taken up at the international forums. President Zardari would represent Pakistan at the General Assembly. It’s golden chance for him to highlight this menace at a global platform. Thousands of innocent Pakistanis have lost their lives due to drone hits in the tribal region. It’s high time this issue should be debated at the United Nations Security Council and other international forums. There must be an immediate end to the drone attacks,” he said. Wazir regretted that drones issue was not on Pakistan’s agenda during the ongoing NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) summit. “Pakistan should have reflected its stance on drones issue during NAM summit. I’m not saying this would have changed the things altogether but at least it would have had an impact on the international community and a strong message would have been conveyed.”
The PML-Q leader slammed the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and those whom he dubbed as ‘drawing room intellectuals’ for toeing the American line. “Those America-funded NGOs, who claim to be so-called champions of human rights, cannot dare raise their voice against the civilian killings in drone attacks. And those drawing room intellectuals who appear on talk shows and support drone attacks are the ones who don’t know where Waziristan is located. These American puppets know nothing. They are out there to please their masters. They are rubbing salts on the drones’ victims wounds.” Having hailed from South Waziristan Agency, Ajmal Wazir said, he spent the recent Eid in his native town where he was ‘welcomed’ by drone hits. “It was a horrible experience. It was the rain of drones I saw with my own eyes. For three consecutive Eid days, there were drone attacks. The children and women were terrified and people had sleepless nights there.”
“It’s time to review policy on the war on terror. This has cost us over forty thousand precious lives. What more do we have to lose? All parties Conference should be convened on drones. Te Parliament should play its role and move on from passing mere resolutions against drone attacks. There’s democracy in Pakistan and it’s for us to do something. If not us then who else would shoulder this responsibility? We have to wake up before the drones start reaching out to Balochistan in the name of targeting Taliban’s Quetta Shura or hunting down Punjabi Taliban in Southern Punjab!” Wazir suggested.
The politician asked as to why the US was not carrying out drone attacks in Kunar and the rest of Afghanistan and solely targeting Pakistan. “As much as 65 percent of Afghanistan is under militants control. The US has tried all out options in eleven years of exhausting war but it failed to defeat Taliban. Why doesn’t it target Afghan militants through drones who wage cross-border attacks in Bajaur, Dir and Waziristan. These are double standards. On one hand, the US tries to dialogue with Haqqanis and opens its office in Qatar for this purpose. On the other hand, it wants to put the gun on our shoulder and pressurises us to launch North Waziristan operation. This is election year in the US and Obama administration is playing it political,” he said.
“I’m not saying that miscreants are not there in North Waziristan. They sure are just like they’re everywhere- in Karachi, Quetta or elsewhere. Does that mean you start dropping drones and killing civilians? This gives an excuse to the miscreants to justify their actions and influence public sentiment. There’s only a handful of miscreants in NWA while the remaining civilians are patriot Pakistanis. Why should they suffer for the crimes they never committed? What’s their fault? I warn, if NWA operation is launched it would have disastrous implications. We have seen military operations in South Waziristan and what was the result? The terrorism has engulfed the entire Pakistan.”
The Swat operation, according to Wazir, remained successful due to the effective writ of government there. “Swat has proper infrastructure like judiciary, police, district administration and an intact governance structure. The military operation in that area is way far easier compared to the tribal Waziristan. The North Waziristan Agency is not Swat I’m telling you. This is a tribal area where everybody has weapons. Launching an operation in that areas mean trouble, trouble and trouble,” the PML-Q leader cautioned. “The NWA is no more a safe haven for militants. It’s Kunar now. If the US has to take out terrorists, it better starts drone campaign in Kunar.”
“The drones issue entails strategic, ideological, social, economical and political implications. If you pursue strategic endeavours and ignore the remaining factors then the results are going to be a disaster like they are. The first suicide attack took place in Pakistan’s Dargai village in Malakand Division in 2006 in reaction to drone hits. Before that, suicide attacks in our country were never heard of. See? What these drone shave brought along! Violence, destruction and killings!“
Ajmal Khan Wazir said, the drone attacks did not spare the civilians who were attending tribal jirgas, marriage ceremonies, offering prayers in mosques and participating in public congregations in tribal region. “The entire social fabric in Waziristan region is destroyed. It was a forest rich area turning into a desert due to heavy destruction because of drone hits.
The Americans are using chemicals in the drones that have caused to erupt serious toxic diseases in that region.
I ask them, give me the names of even a few dozen high value targets killed in drones and show me their bodies if they were really taken out. What’s the justification of killing more than 3500 civilians in the name of hunting down terrorists? Who would pay for what happened to them?”