Reacting to US President Barack Obama’s admission of drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt, elders from North Waziristan have announced a long march from the tribal belt to the Parliament House in Islamabad on February 25.
Addressing a joint press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, elders from different tribes of North Waziristan condemned President Obama’s drone programme. They termed the strikes as a “massacre of the innocent,” and announced their plan to stage a sit in before the Parliament House.
Amongst the elders were Malik Jalal, Malik Ghulam Khan, Malik Gulshah Alam and Malik Fareed. They belonged to the Dawar, and Ahmedzai Wazir tribes of North Waziristan.
Malik Jalal Waziristani, claimed that the drones only targeted areas where there was no writ of the government. While Malik Ghulam Khan argued that innocent people were killed in drone strikes. “We have approached the government and political parties, but there seems to be no end to this,” he said.
They announced their intention to stage a long march from Miranshah in North Waziristan to the federal capital. “We will make important announcements there,” promised the elders.
They said members from political parties, the civil society and students are expected to join the long March which will march first from Miranshah to Bannu, Bannu to Peshawar and ultimately on to Islamabad.
The tribesman challenged the claim that there were ‘foreigners’ in the tribal areas. They said that the drone campaign has made their lives extremely difficult. “Innocent people have been massacred for the last ten years,” they said.