At least 19 people were killed in two rounds of drone attacks on Friday night in North Waziristan, reigniting the diatribe against drones on the eve of a planned ‘Long March to Islamabad’ by right-wing organisations opposed to the reopening of NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.
According to reports coming from Miramshah — the main town of the North Waziristan tribal agency that lies along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — the missiles fired by the unmanned drones operated by the CIA hit the fortress-like residence of a tribesman. As residents of the area were recovering bodies from this attack, the drones — which were hovering in the area — opened fire again, killing more people.
Though WikiLeaks has disclosed that the drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas have the tacit support of the civil and military leadership of the country, the government’s position is that drones are counter-productive as they tend to alienate the kin of those killed in what the U.S. claims are high-precision attacks based on ground intelligence.
Just this week, while deciding to open the NATO supply lines after seven months, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet had reiterated Pakistan’s stance on drones as per which such attacks are in violation of international law and sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council — a grouping of right wing organisations that has called for a Long March to Islamabad from Sunday — said their protest action would be a show of ‘Islamic force’. Addressing a press conference in Lahore with other DPC leaders, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed said: “My apprehension is that if the NATO supply route is reopened, suicide attacks will start again and the U.S. will use it as a pretext to prolong its stay in the region.”