“We did not succeed to march into Waziristan, but it’s not a failure as the event has kicked off a global debate on devastating adverse impact of drone strikes, while it had also exposed the ‘dual policy’ of Pakistani government against drones,” Imran Khan said while addressing a news conference here at party’s central office.
He said the march had provided a golden opportunity to the government, which they deliberately wasted, to show to the world that the militancy was increasing because of drone strikes. “It was an opportunity for the government to show the world, by supporting PTI, that drone strikes have fuelled militancy in the region,” Khan said.
He lamented what he called “disinformation spread by the government and Maulana Fazlur Rehman” before and during the peace march. He dubbed Maulana Fazlur Rehman as “the right hand of President Zardari”.
“First the government said six suicide bombers would attack rally and then it said nine bombers. Then Rehman Malik said that Taliban has mixed poison in water to kill marchers.”
“It’s shameful,” he added.
He alleged that pamphlets were distributed among the residents of Jandola, South Waziristan that peace march is part of Jews and Christian’s conspiracy against Islam. “Maulana you should fear God,” Khan remarked.
Criticising government he said, “The government proved that it followed a policy of double standards. It privately allowed drone hits inside Pakistan while in public it condemned these attacks and the same was revealed by the Wikkileaks, wherein top US officials said drone strikes were mounted after the government of Pakistan’s permission.”
Imran also referred to President Zardari’s statement that the collateral damage caused by the drones was of no significance to him.
Imran said they were the first to go to show solidarity with the people of Waziristan, particularly of South Waziristan, most of whom had now settled in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan and living there in miserable condition, as most of them were devastated by these attacks: had lost their livelihood and even livestock.
He regretted not having met victims of drones due to his late night arrival in DI Khan. But said he met a person, whose son had died in such attack and his friend (cousin), a student of Namal College, Jafar, then resorted to a suicide hit in Ghazni to take revenge of that. He was a student of electrical engineering.
The PTI chief thanked the media for objective and free coverage to the peace march and also apologised to them for some mismanagement, particularly at the Farm House, the venue of their overnight stay prior to leaving for Waziristan.
Imran was highly appreciative of the party’s ISF youth, who paid no attention to concocted security threats and even faced criticism from their parents but made their way to Waziristan along with the march.