Drones: PTI anti-drone protest from Downing Street to US Embassy in images

On 23rd November 2013 Pakistanis and friends said “no to US drones” in a protest march organised by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) UK to coincide with a demonstration led by Chairman Imran Khan in Peshawar to block the NATO supply line

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Thanks to PTI UK and friends for images

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

Drones: In London we will walk

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“The November 21 strike targeted a location in the K-P province and also resulted in the unfortunate killing of several persons including children, this has deeply disturbed the people of Pakistan” Sartaj Aziz  (Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs)

The Drone March- 23 Nov.2013

In London
We will walk
With one voice
On a cold November Day

From Downing Street
To the place known
For freedom
Of speech and liberty

Of symbols it created
of wars & of horror
The monsters Frankenstein
These drones of wars

In a distant land
The suffering huge
The humanity
And it’s trial

In London
we will walk
With All
The old promise
Made
With children of Waziristan

In London
Our voices
From Gomal & Tolchi
The land of Waziristan

In London
You will hear
Not the drones
But screams of Waziristan

Asim Khan (The Pashtun Poet)

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

Drones: US drone terrorism radicalizing youth in Pakistan and Yemen, time for peaceful action on 23rd November

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(First published on personal blog November 22nd 2013)

“Every American missile launched creates newly radicalized youth ready to take a step nearer to strapping on a suicide vest”

Drone Attacks on  Pakistan and Yemen

As an independent campaigner on global health/human rights, I strongly condemn the latest drones strikes on Pakistan and Yemen and states that endorse drone terrorism and create new insurgents as a result of targeted killing programmes.

Several missiles were launched at a seminary yesterday near Tandharo village close to Tehsil Tal’s main Tal bazaar in Hangu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa killing eight people including teachers. This comes swiftly after a drone strike took the lives of three men travelling in a vehicle in the Wadi Houaira area of Hadramawt province, Yemen.

Drone strikes in Pakistan have mainly focused on the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) seen as the stronghold of militant groups. As Chris Wood who has investigated drone strikes with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism stated, “today’s reported US drone strike on a seminary in Hangu, KPK is only the third outside FATA ever recorded (9 yrs, 376 strikes) http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-127221-US-drone-strike-kills-five,-injures-8-in-Tal …

US drone strikes are indicative of imperialist and racist policy, you don’t see Obama droning “alleged” insurgents that reside in American cities, only Muslims thousands of miles away, because their ‘collateral damage’ which often includes civilians does not count.

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The Nawaz Sharif government has “strongly condemned” the latest strike but although it has the power to take action does not appear to want to move into the next stage of actually blocking US drones. Rehman Anwar, interfaith and peace activist working between London and Lahore described the latest strike as “another slap in the face of Nawaz Sharif government who should have taken a zero tolerance policy on drones issue.”

Earlier this week, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was keen to reassure people that the US would not carry out any drone strikes in Pakistan during any peace talks with Taliban militants in the future. This must surely be a joke in very bad taste. The US is clearly out to sabotage any efforts for peace knowing full well that every drone strike pushes insurgents further away from the negotiating table and instead towards retaliation attacks. Every American missile launched creates newly radicalized youth ready to take a step nearer to strapping on a suicide vest.

According to NBC News today, Pakistani officials declared five Taliban commanders had been killed in the latest strike including the Haqqani network’s “number 2” Maulvi Ahmad JanOther alleged dead were named as Maulana Ghazi Marjan, Maulana Hameedullah, Maulana Abdur Rahman and Maulana Abdullah.

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/21/21558669-drone-strike-kills-haqqani-networks-no-2-other-taliban-commanders-officials

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This is a statement from former spokesperson for Pakistan Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) on drone strikes:-

1. Pakistani people know that drones are happening over many years in Tribal Areas.

2. These drones kill innocent people in tribes.

3. Pakistani government has adopted a policy of betrayal on this issue.

4. On one side in media they (government) call drones bad and on other side they give permission for drones

5. This Pakistani government is a slave government

6. People must raise up against this government to save their country

7. We want to inform enemy that in the end they will lose.

Sajjad Momand

————————————————————

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Who will be next on the US hit list…will it be politicians trying for dialogue with the Taliban, journalists writing on insurgency?

What happens if US drones start hitting “alleged insurgents” in main cities in Pakistan for example… will government remain inactive?

US has its own alleged insurgents, extremists of all faiths on US soil, yet Obama’s “kill list” is focused only on those OUTSIDE its own territory and against those residing in Muslim countries. Why the double standards? The reason being that drones strikes hitting “alleged” insurgents and “suspected” terrorists in the heart of New York would be totally unacceptable to the American people…

No US accountability for naming the dead

Despite calls from anti-drone activists to name every drone victim, combatant and non-combatant, Reuters reported that, “the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee rejected a proposal on Thursday that would have required U.S. spy agencies to make an annual public accounting of the number of casualties caused by U.S. drone attacks on militants overseas”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/house-drone-casualties_n_4319765.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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Dr Shireen Mazari, Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Pakistan  Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was quick to issue a press statement following the Hangu strike saying drone strikes were “a declaration of war against the people of Pakistan by the US”. She demanded to know whether the Pakistan government and military were sleeping while Pakistan was being attacked or were they complicit in this latest drone attack? Mazari declared that “the time had come for the Pakistan government to demonstrate through actions that there is zero tolerance for drone attacks amongst the people and political leadership of Pakistan – a consensus reflected in the APC resolution.”

PTI Anti -Drone Protest

PTI are preparing to protest in Peshawar on 23rd November supported by anti-drone protestors in the UK who will march from Downing Street to the US Embassy.

Chairman of PTI Imran Khan stated the following from his Twitter account:-

Unacceptable US drone attack in Hangu, KP, simply on assumption of possible future terrorism. 4 innocent children, 2 teachers killed.

The drone killings will once again create more militants and extremists vowing revenge for the killings of Hangu. Why is Nawaz govt silent?

The KP govt will identify and give out the names of the Hangu drone victims to expose the lie of drones killing only “militants”.

Later Khan spoke at a televised press conference saying that he would announce at the protest on Saturday that he and supporters would permanently block the NATO supply route until drone attacks are stopped. He said, “if it’s in our hands, we will block it today. Our powers are that we can tell them that NATO supplies can’t pass through our province.”

Dr Arif Alvi also PTI tweeted, “Hangu Drone Strike in KP is a further escalation into Pakistan territory. Weak kneed leadership will enslave us. We beggars cant stand up. Shameful.”

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Drones radicalize young people

The recent drone killing of Hakimullah Mehsud who was Emir (leader) of Pakistan Tehrik – e-Taliban (TTP) has served to drive more youth to embrace insurgency where they will be welcomed joyously by those ready to train the latest recruits. The recruitment is not limited to males. I was told recently by TTP that women are also active and do far more than just traditional cooking.

The US should keep in mind that although political parties will peacefully protest and block the NATO supply line every drone strikes bring further fury from TTP who have their own solution which is blowing up tankers on the route as this video from 2010 demonstrates https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JoXHflbAN0

A community leader from Tribal Areas who is afraid to be identified and spoke on condition of anonymity told of the aftermath of the drone strike on Hakimullah stating the following,

“you know more then one million kids of our land are out of schools from last ten years…and you know well what will be their future and they are vulnerable to militancy. I know personally, I know many children under teen age, they are the joining militants group.”

Faisel bin Ali Jaber, 55, a Yemeni government engineer recently travelled to America seeking U.S. government compensation for his village and warned of increasing radicalization with every drone attack. He described the missile strike on his community as being akin to “a mountain falling on us” and seeing legs, arms and a head strewn on the ground. He conveyed his message to members of Congress;

“the attack had only made al Qaeda ‘more popular’ and that young people in his village were ‘infused with anger’ including two local teenagers who left to join the terrorist group, never to be heard from again”…… “they would join al Qaeda or any other group that would be able to get them revenge”

Read Jaber’s full story can be read on NBC News Investigations, link http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/20/21553062-yemeni-tells-white-house-of-us-drone-strike-that-he-says-killed-innocent-kin

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I spoke to Ihsan Waziri, a business development representative born in Birt, Wana, South Waziristan who has recently returned from visiting family and friends in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, this is what he had to say about radicalization;

“The U.S and their Allies cannot eliminate the Taliban with drone strikes and what I know is that in one drone strike they kill at least 15 people but more then 50 join Taliban so the drone is not a solution to end the war. I stayed for 3 months in South Waziristan, Wana since August and I visit different places where Taliban were attacked by drone strikes in the past and I meet some of the Taliban commander and others even some of them were my classmate in the past.

They told me and I saw by myself that daily some new people come and join the Taliban and everybody is ready to carry on suicide attack in Afghanistan happily. So it shows that Taliban are still strong and they are not yet defeated and nor defeatable very soon and the only solution is a process of dialogue to stop the bloodshed and massacre of the innocent people of Afghanistan and Tribal of Pakistan.”

Waziri also described how one young man had a fall- out with his father who scolded him, the boy’s answers was to run off to join the Taliban. He said that “if you go after them some will even turn on their family.”

Drones are costly, counter -productive and their use violates human rights law. The US and allies carrying out and supporting drone strikes are according to reports recently released by human rights organizationa committing war crimes. Drones must be stopped.

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Thanks to PTI for anti-drone posters.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

When drones fly, children die

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When drones fly,
children die
As we hear
screams and sigh

Clicks it’s trigger
the invisible sly
plumes of smoke
in the purple sky

Cannot you hide
we try
Out in the open
We are left to die

Gomal and Tolchi
the rivers dry
As death wanders
In the purple sky

For children of Waziristan
there is no toy
we won’t surrender
To the enemy and it’s try

Moulded into our skins
The fear and it’s fry
In hands, no books
Only shrapnel and it’s cry

Cannot you disown us
Our plight and it’s cry
The wandering nomad
the dreamers eye

The children of Waziristan
For us, there is no toy
Plumes of smoke
In the purple sky

Engulfed in our fear
We often wonder
What happened
To our limitless sky

When drones fly,
Children die
What happened
To our limitless sky

What happened
To our limitless sky
Not a tear left
In our beautiful eye

What happened
To our limitless sky
When drones fly
Children die……..

Asim Khan (The Pashtun Poet)

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

Pakistan: Could collaboration with US on drone strikes constitute “high treason”?

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(First published on personal blog Nov 11th 2013)

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason. 

Sir John Harington

Could alleged collaboration with US on drones strikes against citizens in Pakistan constitute treason against the state of Pakistan?

Below is the definition of “high treason” as defined within the laws of the country.

High treason.—1[(1)     Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.]

(2) Any person aiding or abetting 2[or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

3[(2A) An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.]

(3) 4[Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

http://pakistanconstitutionlaw.com/article-6-high-treason/

Recently the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif met with President Obama and US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

On 24th October 2013 the BBC stated that Sharif discussed several issues with Obama including sovereignty and counter-terrorism and Sharif is reported as saying,

“I also brought up the issue of drones in our meeting, emphasising the need for an end to such strikes”

On 2nd November, BBC reported  that Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan’s interior minister has said the death of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has destroyed the country’s nascent peace process,

“this is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts”

On 4th November 2013, Sharif is reported by BBC as saying that,

“US drone strikes violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and international laws and are counter-productive to efforts to bring peace and stability to the country and the region….

Gone are the days when our national security policies were determined through telephone calls from abroad. We now have a democratically elected government, chosen by the people of Pakistan”

Commenting on the need to end violence Sharif said,

“but it cannot be done over-night, nor can it be done by unleashing senseless force against our citizens, without first making every effort to bring the misguided and confused elements of society back to the mainstream”.

“the government has to ensure that political parties, the military and civil society are on the same page to create an environment necessary to tackle this problem”

Surely then, given that all those participating in the All Parties Conference (APC)  had made a unanimous decision to go for dialogue with insurgents, then anyone within Pakistan involved in sharing intelligence leading to a drone strike would be guilty of treason against the government. If so, those collaborating have allegedly contributed to acts carried out to inflict damage (senseless force) on Pakistani citizens thus subverting away from a government’s democratic process.

Force in the form of a drone strike has been used against Pakistani citizens on multiple occasions and that force has now derailed a democratic decision to work towards peace talks made by the political parties of Pakistan.

This issue should not be separated from judging the nature of individuals targeted by drones within Pakistan instead focus on whether treason may have been committed against an elected government.

Given this line of thought, a lawyer could look back retrospectively to the recorded words of this government and previous governments against drones to determine any dates where other internal agents may have co-operated with the US to inflict drone strikes which would allegedly be “high treason”.

As Farooq Sumar points out in his excellent article Taliban Talks Sabotaged in the Daily Times (Monday Nov 11th 2013);

It is said that for a successful drone strike ground support in the form of intelligence is required, which means spies, chips, and lasers etc would be needed. Then the question arises who has been providing this intelligence and hardware and why? If it was provided by our intelligence agencies in the past as a result of the secret agreement, should it not have been stopped with the coming of the Sharif government and its publicly announced policy against drones? One can either conclude that the government’s writ does not extend to the defence establishment or that the Nawaz government is also complicit and hypocritical. In both cases it raises serious issues for the nation to ponder.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C11%5C11%5Cstory_11-11-2013_pg3_5

Governments can’t play it both waysthey are either for or against drone strikes.

Talking in the Geo News programme ‘Aapas Ki Baat’ last Friday, Najam Sethi alleged national security institutions of Pakistan were fully involved in the drone attack on Hakimullah Mehsud.

Imran Khan stated to the BBC that the US drone strike was “absolutely deliberate – this was a deliberate targeting of the peace process.” However the obvious question to follow should surely be, were the US working in isolation or in collaboration with Pakistan agencies against an elected body.

If Pakistan government is against drones, then every effort must be made to determine who exactly is involved in betraying the government which would mean the US being called upon to submit any information showing co-operation from within Pakistan and acts of conspiracy. A government that is dishonest with the people does not deserve to be in power.

Nawaz Sharif is reported in Business Standard as not wanting to take a tough stance against US for “one incident” but this is a total cop-out, and an insult to voters. it is many incidents and probably with a fair amount of assistance from those within Sharif’s own country http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/nawaz-sharif-rejects-tough-stance-against-us-post-mehsud-s-death-in-drone-strike-113111100154_1.html

Again if as the article below states there was no written agreement with US to allow drones strikes and the government are stating in public they are not supporting drone strikes, then an argument could be made for treason for anyone within Pakistan supporting targeted killing through providing information leading to an attack http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26568-Govt-says-no-written-agreement-found-to-allow-drone-strikes

Arguably the most famous treason case in Britain was that of a disillusioned Catholic named Guy Fawkes attempting to blow up Protestant King James I and his parliament. The drone strike in Pakistan was not aimed at obliterating the government but by blowing up Hakimullah Mehsud and his companions it has undoubtedly also blown up and sabotaged the APC’s chances of dialogue and we have yet to see what blowback may follow.

As someone that assisted lawyers in the UK taking cases against my own government, sometimes even lawyers can’t see the wood for the trees or perhaps don’t have the courage or initiative to try a new legal approach. If I were a lawyer in Pakistan right now, treason would one legal route I would be pursuing to “assist” the government in its efforts to keep alive hopes for dialogue. Then the government might also maintain a modicum of credibility with ordinary citizens who are deserving of peace.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also the survivor of US “collateral damage”.

Reprieve: UK government refusing to grant visa for drone strike victims

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(First published on personal blog Nov 6th, 2013)

Reprieve Press Statement Wed Nov 6, 2013

The British government is refusing to grant visas to three Pakistani drone strike victims, including Noor Khan, who is suing the UK over its role in intelligence-sharing with the CIA. All three men had been invited to speak at a Parliamentary meeting on drones that was scheduled to take place today. Last week, the Rehman family – whose grandmother was killed in a drone strike – travelled to the US to speak at a drone strike having been granted visas.

Noor Khan has launched legal action over the British Government’s refusal to come clean on its policy of providing intelligence to support the CIA’s covert drone war. Reports have stated that GCHQ shares intelligence with the US in support of their drone programme, which is considered to violate international law.

Noor Khan was to be accompanied by Kareem Khan, whose son and brother were killed in a strike on News Year’s Eve 2009. Kareem Khan is, along with his lawyers the Foundation for Fundamental Rights and Reprieve, suing Jonathan Banks, the former CIA Station Chief in Pakistan, and John Rizzo, former CIA General Counsel, for the murder of his son and brother. Noor Behram, a journalist who has been investigating and photographing drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan for almost six years, was also scheduled to attend.

Mr Khan, Mr Behram, and Mr Khan were due to speak at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on drones hosted by MP Tom Watson, who had written letters supporting their visa applications. They were to be joined on a panel by Robert Greenwald, a US documentary filmmaker whose new film, Unmanned, profiles the men’s stories.

Cori Crider, Reprieve’s Strategic Director, said: “It is an unfortunate coincidence that David Cameron is refusing to grant a visa to the very same man who is suing his government over its role in the drone strike that killed his father. Just last week the Rehman family were able to tell their story to the US yet the UK seems unwilling to extend a similar courtesy to these three victims of the drone programme. The British government must reconsider and grant the men visas.”

MP Tom Watson, said: “It’s very disppointing that visas have not been granted in time for the drone victims invited by the APPG on drones to speak today. Last week the Rehman family travelled to the US and testified to Congress about their grandmother who was killed by a CIA drone. The UK must allow Noor Khan and other survivors into the country so that we too can hear these lost voices.”

ENDS

Reprieve website http://www.reprieve.org.uk/

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US collateral damage…

Drones: As Imran gives impassioned speech to National Assembly, Taliban threaten “an eye for an eye” in retaliation for US drone strikes

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“First published on personal blog, 4th November 2013)

“An eye for an eye” 

The latest drone strike which killed Hakimullah Mehsud, leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) at his compound in Waziristan shows once again that the most dominant policy of the US government is to export death and destruction and kill hopes of peace in Pakistan.

Sadly too many politicians have raked in the dollars and alongside the military qualify for a CIA loyalty card as some put personal interests above that of ordinary Pakistanis who are tired of the ongoing internal conflict. The loyalty card would go something like this, every drone mile is equivalent to 100 Air Miles, the more time you spend grovelling on your knees, the more points you gain, every drop of blood spilled equals a dollar paid.

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The US government clearly have no regard for peace and speak with forked tongue. During Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to Pakistan which included meetings with President Obama and John Kerry, they claimed to support dialogue (as voted for by the All Parties Conference, APC in September) made up of ruling and opposition parties. Sharif called for an end to drone strikes during his trip but targeted killing continued as usual.

As Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik –e-Insaf (PTI) party stated, “US itself is holding peace talks, when we try to hold talks, a missile strike is carried out”. He added, “US could have killed Hakimullah Mehsud anytime. Why choose such a crucial time when peace talks were almost initiated?”

The US government might as well enroll as PR team for the Taliban right now as every time a missile strikes it creates a new interest in TTP. Some that weren’t in support of the Taliban previously, now view Hakimullah as a “shaheed” (martyr) and post their condolences on social media, sharing his image below…

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Fazlur Rehman, of political party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) argued that,“the drone attack has now changed the situation, which is why we need a new APC to review the situation. We were trying to get Pakistan out of crisis but the drone attack has increased instability,”

There were also efforts behind the scenes to work on finding a solution to tackling the growing cases of polio in Waziristan and ongoing discussions with the Taliban for safe access for workers… that has now been scuppered by America.

A poll running in the Express Tribune today asked readers the following question,

Do you support the resolution against drone strikes?

71% (612) voted yes

29% (255) voted no

Total voters 867

There were strong opposing views from others including Raza Rumi, writer and a public policy specialist based in Pakistan, affiliated with Jinnah Institute. He is due to appear on PTV News this evening discussing drones and had this to say on Twitter, “drum up anti-Americanism and forget that 800,000 Pakistanis live there and send remittances. US is a big investor in Pakistan, 60% military aid.”

Referring to death of Hakimullah he said that he had “never heard Jamaat e Islami (political party) call our 8000 state security personnel shaheed? But the head of a killer mafia is a martyr.”

Shireen M Mazari, Central Information Secretary, PTI was quick to respond to an attack made by journalist and editor Najam Sethi on the front page of The News ( 3 November) who argued that stopping NATO supplies would be “a kind of rebellion. She said it was a “deliberate attempt to mislead readers.” In an extract from her Letter to the Editor: Sethi’s erroneous proclamations she writes:

The Peshawar High Court judgement on drones of April 2013, on writ petition Writ Petition No. 1551-P/2012 inter alia held that:

“ That the drone strikes, carried out in the tribal areas (FATA) particularly North & South Waziristan by the CIA & US Authorities, are blatant violation of Basic Human Rights and are against the UN Charter … the provision of Geneva Conventions thus, it is held to be a War Crime, cognizable by the International Court of Justice…”

In the same judgement, the PHC held that in case the US does not stop the drone attacks, then the government of Pakistan “shall sever all ties with the USA and as a mark of protest shall deny all logistic & other facilities to the USA within Pakistan.” Hence the action being contemplated by the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government is most certainly not a rebellion of any sort.

http://www.insaf.pk/News/tabid/60/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/17532/Letter-to-the-Editor-Sethis-erroneous-proclamations-3-November-2013.aspx

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Imran Khan addressed the National Assembly (Monday) and made the following salient points

Gen Musharraf betrayed the nation & instead of protecting Pakistan’s interest, he protected US interest and engaged in someone else’s war

I feel Nawaz Sharif failed to articulately convey Pakistan’s point of view to Obama in his recent US visit

Nawaz Sharif should have carried a one point agenda for his US visit which should have been that Drones must be halted while we are into peace talks.

My heart is filled with anger against this drone strike. It’s not about Hakimullah but peace talks and future of Pakistan.

At the same time I feel ashamed as a Pakistani on how US perceives and treats us? Worse than slaves! It’s we (Pakistani’s) suffering

After the latest drone attack, there shouldn’t be any doubt on who’s war it is and who wants more war/militancy & an unstable Pakistan?

This is not our war but of US and we must not be their slaves. Nation must unite & tell US to stop drones.

I’m willing to reach out to all political stakeholders to unite them against US Drones – This is a defining moment for Pakistan

I never say that we should wage a war against US. War & Slavery, there is always a middle ground- Pakistan should adopt that!

I have serious political differences with Maulana Fazl ur Rehman – But I’m even willing to go out to him for Pakistan’s interest!

Lastly, I would just inform the house that KPK assembly has passed a resolution to block Nato Supplies if Drones don’t stop.

We will wait for Muharram proceedings to end peacefully Inshallah – After that,on the 20th of November we will block Nato Supplies

Taliban

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It now seems that for the time being at least, talks are off. The latest information coming out in a statement from TTP jihadi network is as follows:-

-An “eye for an eye”, TTP calls for revenge for drone strikes

– Asmatullah Shaheen is posted as caretaker TTP head

– TTP chief to be announced in a few days time

– TTP rejects various media reports as baseless. Media is accused of lying and airing fabricated reports about the new leader and rifts within the TTP

– Pakistan army accused of taking the $5 million reward money (bounty for Hakimullah Mehsud) and accused of being equally responsible as US

(Thanks H A for translation)

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There are growing calls from Pakistanis to follow in the footsteps of Iran and Gaza and shot down the drones. It is believed that Pakistan army have proven they have the capabilities to do so in a training exercise. Frankly if I were Pakistani, alongside blocking the NATO supply line, I would be calling on the government to close the US embassy, expel diplomats and stop US aid. As for John Kerry phoning up with some lame excuse for why US likes annihilating people, I would be hanging up the phone.

It is time for Pakistan to fly the nest, be independent and work on internal divisions. A clear message is in order to America and time to wake up to the fact that Pakistan can never truly develop under the ever darkening shadow and control of the US…

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

Pakistan Taliban: Hakimullah Mehsud dead in drone strike, US sabotages efforts for peace

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(First published on personal blog Nov 2nd 2013)

“There are so many lions in this jungle and one lion would replace another to continue this noble mission” TTP

Hopes for dialogue and a route to peace were dealt a bitter blow yesterday when Hakimullah Mehsud, Emir of Pakistan Tehrik -e-Taliban (TTP) was killed in a US drone strike along with several others. I received a message from a contact in Waziristan at 3.35 GMT Thursday which simply read “Hakimullah is killed.”

He and his companions which included relatives and bodyguard were targeted on home soil with missiles striking his vehicle at a compound in the village of Danda Darpakhel, five kilometres north of Miranshah, North Waziristan.

Imran Khan, leader of opposition party Tehrik -e- Insaf was quick to respond to the news stating the following,

“one thing has been proved today, Whenever Pakistan tries Peace Talks, there is a drone strike. We will try to get KPK Assembly to pass a bill to block NATO supplies and I will take the resolution to National Assembly myself.”

Hakimullah who had a reputation for being bloody and ruthless was in his thirties and took over as leader of TTP after Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike in August 2009. Waliur Rehman, Hakimullah’s second-in-command also fell foul of President Obama’s targeted killing programme in May 2013.

A $5m US bounty was placed on Hakimullah’s head following his appearance in a video alongside a Jordanian who was alleged to have blown himself up killing seven CIA agents in Afghanistan to avenge Baitullah Mehsud’s death. Hakimullah was also known as the mastermind behind attacks on NATO convoys, blowing up tankers along the supply route.

The mercurial militant had been targeted by drones on several occasions and would sometimes choose to lay low for months. I recall a journalist colleague interviewing him at a time when most believed he was dead, he was however busy recruiting and training up future commanders while others speculated as to his fate.

Taliban have now officially announced his death and issued a martyr photograph…. A statement reads as follows…

“We congratulate the Muslims on his martyrdom and we are proud of him. While his death is a tragedy, I would like to tell the enemy that death can never deter us from our mission. Mujahideen must never despair since the cause is the establishment of a Khilafah upon the way of the Prophet. TTP shura has had a session today and it will continue tomorrow. Never fall for the lies of the secular western media. Media aims to spread lies to create divisions between the mujahideen. They will not succeed. TTP shall inform you as soon as a new leader is appointed”

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In Washington, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said U.S. officials were not in a position to confirm reports of Mehsud’s death. Obama has been strongly criticized for his drone programme which has killed many civilians and for continually failing to name those anhiliated. Given that Prime Minister, Nawas Sharif had informed both Obama and John Kerry of the All Parties Conference unanimous vote for dialogue, the latest drone strikes appear to be a deliberate attempt to sabotage talks. A process they had claimed to support.

Yesterday’s events have made a mockery of the conspiracy theorists that claimed TTP were funded by the CIA. Taliban had responded to these allegations as recently as the 8th October stating;

“America does NOT fund TTP. America does however carry out a vicious drone campaign against us, using intelligence provided by the ISI. The drones have resulted in the martyrdom of hundreds of our members and leaders such as Nek Muhammad, Baitullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud”

Those who naively believe that drone strikes will put an end to TTP however should reflect on the words of former spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan to journalist Amir Mir after a previous strike aimed at Hakimullah on January 12th 2012;

“Jihad is not linked with Hakimullah alone and wouldn’t stop even if he is killed. We will continue jihad whether Hakimullah Mehsud is alive or dead. There are so many lions in this jungle and one lion would replace another to continue this noble mission”

Ironically Taliban had recently been discussing dialogue with its numerous groups and Interior Minister Ch Nisar indicated a delegation was to have been sent on Saturday for talks with Taliban. However there is a question mark over whether TTP were officially consulted on this move.

Referring to a leaflet distributed in North Waziristan following Hakimullah’s death and a holding off on talks, a contact alleged,

“it seems the peace deal between Mujahideen and American-backed army is going to break down and we will have another war….

to prevent any retaliation, ISI has been making mass-arrests from Southern Punjab , Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi”

Many will not mourn the passing of Hakimullah and refer to the thousands of people that have been killed in bombings and shootings during the last decade blaming the Taliban. However some feel that many of those killed would not have died had it not been for Pakistan government and military carrying out the bidding of the US in the War On Terror. Locals also point to the army as being responsible for some of the death and destruction in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Civilians are reluctant to raise concerns in public about the military for fear of reprisals and the army itself has suffered many losses.

One tribute to the Taliban leader reads:-

“Emir Hakimullah was an agent of Allah and he paid with his blood for it. Pakistan rulers are agents of America and they spill Muslim blood and get paid dollars for it.

Emir Hakimullah was a slave of Allah. Pakistan rulers are slaves of America”

There have been the usual inacuracies in the media reporting with one news programme discussing Taliban attacks against footage of a a bombing recently denied by TTP. There have been concerns regarding attempts to derail dialogue through violent action where the blame from many would automatically be directed at TTP whether or not they were involved.

The drone attack on Hakimullah is viewed by some as short sighted and will only act as a recruiting tool for the Taliban radicalizing more young men and women whom I am told “do more than traditional cookery.”

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Most would also prefer to ignore the fact that the Pakistan military is divided on the drone issue. The week before my journalist colleague Saleem Shahzad was kidnapped, tortured and killed he had been speaking on this issue with those within the armed services. He was never able to write up the second part of an article which was to have discussed the alleged ACTIVE recruitment of insurgent sympathizers into the military.

The Afghan Taliban posted a tribute to Hakimullah online as follows:-

“With great sadness we have learned that yesterday the leader of Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Hakimullah Mehsud, was martyred as a result of a cowardly US drone attack, surely to Allah we belong and to Him is the return.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan condemns this barbaric and unlawful attack by America. We consider the martyrdom of Mullah Hakimullah to be a great loss and offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, relatives and friends. Muslims consider martyrdom a lofty objective and we all strive to achieve this status. If America believes that by martyring Mujahideen they will somehow create a void and reach their selfish aims then they are greatly mistaken.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan also calls upon the Government and the people of Pakistan to take all steps necessary in order to stop these barbaric and illegal American attacks so the innocent people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, suffering from these brutalities, can free themselves from the evil of America and determine their future destinies without outside interference”

The funeral of Hakimullah took place today at Miramshah with drones spotted overhead and tribesmen reported fired for an hour at the menace in the skies over Waziristan. It is part of Pashtun culture to avenge killing so it’s likely that there will be “blowback” and possible retaliation attacks for his death. One sympathizer gave his opinion saying;

“Please be clear that Taliban were very well positioned when the idea of talks was floated. Talks favored the army and not the Taliban. But Taliban had given talks a chance to win the hearts and minds of people. However, many did fear that this talk thing will not bring good news for Taliban. That is why very senior people opposed the idea of talks. 

Now that the Pakistani Army has struck with the help of its friends, Allah will give the strength to Taliban to strike back hard”

As someone that had recently interviewed a member of Taliban, Political Commission there had been a sense of hope and a feeling they were prepared to engage on a path for dialogue. For those still serious about peace, there is a now an increasingly long and difficult road ahead!

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.

 

Conversation with Taliban on polio, education, non-harbis and a “dominant narrative”

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(First published on personal blog, Oct, 28th, 2013)

“When your house is raided, you fight. Vaccinations and green tea afterwards”

In my previous blog I looked at fears over a potential polio epidemic in Waziristan, the tribal areas of Pakistan. As previously mentioned the Islamic Emirate (Taliban in Afghanistan) are currently supporting the polio programme and issued a statement to that effect. However the situation has become more complicated in Pakistan since the extraordinarily unethical decision from the CIA to use a vaccination programme including the services of Dr Shakil Afridi as cover in their efforts to track down and later kill Osama bin Laden.

The blowback from this has been the killing of polio workers by Taliban and other unidentified persons who now view those administering vaccines as potential spies for foreign agents. This has led to a serious breakdown in the continuity of polio eradication in some regions and the killing of some health workers.

Yesterday DAWN published a story calling for the polio debate to be included in any dialogue between government and the Taliban. They also reported the following statistics, “the total number of cases (of polio) from the tribal areas has reached 36, which accounts to more than 70% cases in Pakistan. The cases from the tribal belt include 15 from Khyber Agency, 15 from North Waziristan, five from Frontier Region (FR) Bannu and one from FR DI Khan.”

Although there is a willingness from community agencies to tackle polio and increase immunisation, the security risk cannot be ignored I decided to take this issue back to TTP myself to elicit their response. This also led on to a sharing of views on other issues and questions raised by several interested members of the public. As several people were contributing to the conversation, I have covered by subject matter and subsequent answers from the Taliban.

Conversation with the Taliban

What are your thoughts on polio programme?

Sister, we are not opposed to healthcare per se but have to take certain measures to curtail spy operations carried out undercover. We simply cannot ignore spy operations under their cover. Our enemies want to vaccinate our children before droning them.

There have been cases similar to that of Dr Shakil Afridi.

For Allah and His Nabi (PBUH) sake we are willing to sacrifice our lives, vaccination is petty. Drones and Pakistan army killing our children. The ground intelligence is provided to the US by ISI, we have attacked Camp Chapman, others.

Why don’t you get military establishment to end their treachery for Allah & Nabi’s (PBUH) sake? Please visit our areas and check the stats. Our children are not dying of polio but other factors.

The present world order that kills 30,000 children every day wants to vaccinate children – children they will kill later on anyway.

There are many Shakil Afridis and collaborating NGOs on the ground.

Brothers, sisters, we appreciate your naseeha (meaning advice). Barak Allahu fiek (may Allah bless you… Arabic).  We understand the challenges on the ground better. Things will change. Over 30,000 children die everyday around the world owing to the policies of the secular world order.

When your house is raided, you fight. Vaccinations and green tea afterwards.

What about claiming responsibility regarding killing of polio workers?

Not in every case. In some cases we had no involvement. We understand our operational parameters.

For those seeking to go beyond silly conspiracy theories about mujahideen, here is a start: http://jin1.blog.com  (The link mentioned was produced by Taliban in response to commonly asked questions and provides answers and additional links)

What about using an Islamic Relief organization for vaccination programme? 

Enemy’s money? You mean (use) the Coalition Support Fund and IMF loans? Read http://jin1.blog.com 

But you are frontline allies of the “bad guys”. You get Coalition Support Fund from them. We are fighting them.

 Unfortunately most of our organisations operate within the framework defined by those fighting us. Someone with bleeding wounds does not worry about a pimple. Our organisations are unable to speak truth without worrying about dominant narrative.

What about 5 year child who needs vaccination for polio?

Yes, if he survives the ‘allied’ forces attack.

If the military raids your house, why do you retaliate against civilians? Have you forgotten rules of Islamic warfare?

Please go through this: http://jin1.blog.com  You  will find detailed rulings on “night raids” in classical works of fiqh. Please go through them

In Islam there is a concept of Ulema-e-Soo. Those who issue fatwas to protect the oppressors.

An understanding of theology & war strategy helps in understanding some issues.

It is haram to deliberately target the non-harbi. (A harbi is defined as someone at war with Islam)

This could take the form of someone knowingly fighting against Islam in a physical sense, supporting a war against Islam economically, through propaganda, through strategising and so on.

And we consider it HARAM to deliberately target ordinary people. Please go through and listen to the audio http://jin1.blog.com/

What about killing of climbers in Nanga Parbat?

Ordinary people are non-harbi. We will try to publish some details. In general, not a good idea to highlight some strategies

May we most politely request you to read the translation of Sura Anfaal and Tawbah (at least)

The Quran does not say to kill/hurt anybody in Shariah’s name/wiping the terrorists (like drones do)?

May we most politely request you to read the translation of Sura Anfaal and Tawbah (at least)

Taliban ruled Afghanistan for a number of years, no basic health care was provided. Why was that?

Sir, you are living in the past. New generation, ground realities different, evolved world view. Alhamdolillah we are not a people who would cling to their mistakes. Islam commands us to learn.

Some people propagate all sorts of lies. Our stance is clear. Healthcare is basic Islamic right. Islam defines clear policies. Islam does not allow privatisation of healthcare. By the help of Allah, we will implement a model healthcare system. Darkest hour before sunrise. You will find the Islamic system to be the most just. Healthcare would not be attached to economic status.

What are your thoughts on education?

Islam opposes privatisation of education. Khalifah’s son will be sitting with the children of “commoners”. We shall offer you a comprehensive package.

Islam makes education compulsory for men & women, rich & poor. Go beyond the boring old propaganda and myths.

This separation between Islamic and “secular” education has no basis. Islam emphasises on knowledge for men and women.

What are your thoughts on the media?

Ask journalists how their organisations have been manipulating facts and lying. Attempts to censor us

We appreciate fair reporting. We wish many of the journalists had moral courage of Carol Anne Grayson

The Afghan Taliban in the 90s opposed TVs and pictures. Do you share this view?

Yes, they did in the 90s. Not anymore.

Have you been approached by government regarding dialogue as indicated by Sharif on recent visit to US 

No official approach from the government yet,  rumour mongering in the media.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.