Pak tribesmen rally against US drone attacks in FATA

Saturday, January 22, 2011

MIRANSHAH - Over 2,000 Pakistani tribesmen rallied to demand an end to US drone attacks, which they said were killing innocent civilians in the Tribal Areas.

The protesters staged their demonstration in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, and raised slogans against the United States and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which is responsible for the unmanned missile attacks in Pakistan.

Shop owners, students and other FATA residents called for US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the former CIA station chief in Islamabad to be brought to justice.

“They should be arrested and punished by the courts in America,” the Daily Times quoted Abdul Khan, a student leader, as saying.

Addressing the rally, Sarfraz Khan, member of a local political committee, denounced the drone attacks for killing innocent people, including women and children, and said he would launch a long march to Islamabad in protest if the strikes did not stop.

The United States does not confirm the drone attacks, but its military and the CIA operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the unmanned aircraft in the region.

In 2010, the campaign doubled its missile attacks in the Tribal Areas, with around 100 drone strikes killing over 650 people, according to a tally.

Pakistan officially protests the strikes as violations of its sovereignty, but its security agencies are believed to secretly cooperate with the programme. (ANI)

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