“Drone Strikes Must End For Peace Talks”

Nov 11, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Spotlight, The Diplomat

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday announced in the National Assembly that drone strikes must end for peace talks to continue. He was speaking in relation to the death of Hakimullah Mehsud on November 1.

The former Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief was killed in a drone attack, as he was leaving a meeting at a masjid in Dande Darparkhel area in North Waziristan.

According to military sources, five militants, including Abdullah Bahar Mehsud – another key commander – were killed in the drone strike, with two others injured. The attack on Friday came almost a day after three militants were killed in an earlier drone strike that also targeted a militant compound near Miramshah.

Witnesses in the towns of Mir Ali and Miramshah reported that Mehsud’s supporters fired at the unmanned vehicles in anger after the incident.

The killing of the Taliban supremo dealt a severe blow to the peace talks between the government of Pakistan and the TTP, which had been initiated after a hiatus of nine years.

The Pakistani government reacted strongly against the attack on Mehsud, saying it would hinder the peace talks.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Monday, while speaking in the National Assembly, announced that there would be no further peace talks until drone strikes came to an end.

 He had earlier called the strike an “attack on regional peace by the US” and stated that ties with the American government would be reviewed.

While speaking to the both local and foreign media on the day following the drone strike, he had clearly stated that the identity of those killed in the drone strike was irrelevant.

“The government of Pakistan does not see this drone attack as an attack on an individual but as an attack on the peace process.”

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chief Imran Khan on Monday stated that drone strikes were killing innocent and patriotic civilians in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

He was speaking in the National Assembly.

The leader of the opposition party declared that the USA would receive a stern reaction to the strike, adding that “the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud sabotaged the entire peace process.”

He further informed the assembly that 90 billion rupees were being spent every month on the war on terror while the country’s debt in five years has increased from 7 trillion to fifteen trillion.

Khan moreover announced that PTI would fully support the government on all levels in order to successfully undertake peace talks with the Taliban.

The United States on Monday responded to the Pakistani government’s reaction, admitting to tension between the two nations yet implicitly defended the drone strike.

Whitehouse spokesman Jay Carney further added that the US “hoped to continue to make progress in the relationship.”

The killing of Mehsud resulted in a strong public reaction in the country, with the government strongly raising its voice against the attack. Jamaat-e-Islami’s spokesman Munawar Hassan, in a recent television programme, had called the TTP supremo a ‘martyr’.

His comment resulted in a loud burst of reaction from both the government and civilians alike, with social media abuzz over the issue.

Few twitter trends also picked up, such as #BanJamaateIslami and #ShameMunawarTTPSpokesman.

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While the majority of Pakistanis were bristling with ire at Munawar Hassan’s controversial remarks, the ISPR in a rare reactive moment also issued a statement asking the JI spokesman to apologize.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly also passed a resolution against the remarks made by the JI ameer. The resolution was unanimously presented in the Assembly by various political parties including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement ( MQM), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F).

The members of the Assembly declared that a killer of innocent lives could never be a martyr and agreed that Hassan should apologize to the nation.

In the midst of such growing fury, the JI spokesman however, professed his determination to stand by his stance.

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