Raids, Drones Deteriorate U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: here.
From Al Jazeera:
Last Modified: 22 May 2011 07:28
Imran Khan, Pakistan‘s cricket-great-turned-politician and the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party (Movement for Justice), has led around 6,000 protesters in Karachi demanding an end to US drone strikes on Pakistani soil.
On Saturday, thousands of anti-US protesters gathered near the port of Pakistan‘s largest city Karachi to stage a protest on the first of the planned two-day sit-in against what they regard as violations of Pakistan’s territory by the US and NATO forces.
Khan called for the blocking of NATO’s supply line to put a stop to the unpopular drone attacks which are carried out mainly in Pakistan’s tribal regions, where al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters are believed to be based.
US-Pakistani relations are at a low point over the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.
Pakistan is angry that it was not told in advance of the raid and says it did not know that the al-Qaeda chief was hiding in the area.
In the wake of the operation in which Bin Laden was killed, Pakistan‘s parliament has demanded that the US stop its missile strikes and drone attacks, warning that it may cut off the supply route into Afghanistan altogether if the attacks do not end.
Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily, reported that Khan said that the “war on terror” is not Pakistan’s war and it is harming the country’s integrity, and that drone and other such attacks were breeding terrorism.
“On the face of it they always condemned drone attacks but under hand they have given the Americans permission,” Khan said before joining the sit-in in the port area.
“So there is total disregard to the democratic representatives of Pakistan, and thirdly, it is violation of all humanitarian laws, it violates every human law because no law allows anyone to become judge, jury and executioner.
“It is a fixed match between the government, army and America,” he said.
He added the protest would convey to the US that “we will not be cowed down by drone attacks“.
Khan further demanded that new midterm elections be held saying that the Pakistani government should resign “if they can’t stop it”.
Angry Pakistani Army Says It Does Not Want US Aid. Saeed Shah, McClatchy Newspapers: “Pakistan’s army lashed out Thursday at its critics at home as well as in the United States in an angry statement that underscored just how deep a crisis the country’s armed forces are suffering. The statement rejected all American financial aid for the military, saying the money should go instead to the government to be spent on ‘the common man.’ It warned that it intended to ‘put an end’ to domestic criticism of its actions. It also tried to distance the military from the United States, saying that it had stopped U.S. training of the country’s border guards and ordered the U.S. to ‘drastically’ reduce the number of its troops in Pakistan. Analysts here said the unusually detailed statement – at 1,032 words, it even provided an accounting of how U.S. aid had been spent – appeared to be an effort to garner flagging public support. Much of the statement was highlighted with bold lettering to emphasize its points”: here.
Around 2,000 people demonstrated in the Kurram tribal area today after unmanned US drones killed at least 12 people in the region: here.
Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout: “The US-Pakistani relationship is one of the most complicated bilateral relationships in the world. Since the start of the cold war, the United States has needed support from the Islamabad government and, as a result, has ignored Pakistani perfidy. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the United States needed secret bases in Pakistan for U-2 reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union and, therefore, disregarded Pakistani military dictatorships. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the United States needed logistical support for its secret opening to China and overlooked human rights violations in Pakistan. In the 1980s, Pakistan served as a conduit for US assistance to the anti-Soviet mujihadeen forces and, therefore, ignored Pakistan’s secret development of nuclear weapons”: here.
US deputy special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Frank Ruggiro arrived in Islamabad on Monday, as the latest in a series of visits to Pakistan by US administration officials since the US killing of Osama bin Laden on May 1. These visits aim to press Islamabad and particularly the Pakistani army to toe the US line and continue waging war on the Pakistani population, in accordance with the needs of the US “war on terror”: here.
American officials told to leave base used to launch drone strikes, according to Pakistan’s defence minister: here.
US air force personnel have killed 25 people in villages in Pakistan’s tribal region so far this week using remote-controlled drone bombers, according to Pakistani spooks: here.
A British legal charity called today for the CIA’s former legal chief to be arrested on murder charges over the United States’ use of unmanned drones: here.
Legal action charity Reprieve and Islamabad human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar will tomorrow exhibit harrowing photographs showing the devastating impact of US drone attacks on civilians in Pakistan: here.