Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf to launch NATO blockade on Saturday

Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that his government did not believe in double standards on drone strikes and he had raised the issue with US President Barack Obama and asked him to stop them.

Speaking at a National Consultation conference on Pakistan 2025, he said that drone attacks were totally unacceptable and counterproductive. Reiterating that he was determined to uproot terrorism, he also denied he had taken a casual approach in condemning drone strikes.

His statement comes after the latest drone strike in Hangu which killed six persons yesterday which received widespread condemnation from all quarters. Meanwhile Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan hit out against the U.S. once again and said that Pakistan could not rely on any assurances from the U.S. as the drone strikes had proved that it was against peace talks. He also referred to a reported statement in the media by the Prime Minister’s adviser on National security and Foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz that the U.S. had assured Pakistan that there would be no drone strikes during peace talks. Chaudhry Nisar was quoted as saying in a news report that he failed to understand why Mr. Aziz had confidence in the U.S. on its assurances on drone strikes.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) is going ahead on Saturday with its planned indefinite blockade of NATO supply lines. Chairperson PTI Imran Khan had given a call to all party workers to attend the rally tomorrow morning in Peshawar to block the supply trucks which pass through the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where his party is in power. PTI Central Information Secretary, Shireen Mazari, expressed disappointment over the PM's ‘muted’ response this morning to the U.S. drone attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She said this signaled the crossing of a red line whereby the U.S. is now using drone attacks beyond the Afghanistan- bordering Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan into the "settled" areas of Pakistan.

Dr Mazari criticized Mr. Sharif for continuing with the “hackneyed rhetoric” of his predecessor about raising the drone issue on all forums. She said the PM had so far merely mentioned drones in passing in his UN General Assembly speech. The government had failed to bring the issue before the UN Security Council. She pointed out that the Prime Minister on his visit to the U.S. had failed to put forward the All Parties Conference (APC) mandate on drones forcefully which is why there was no mention of drones having even been discussed between him and the U.S. President in the joint statement issued by the White House.

Meanwhile, Mr. Khan called on his workers and allied political parties and renowned religious scholars to address a “historic” protest against American drones strikes in Pakistan and to block supply routes for NATO and allied forces in Afghanistan through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tomorrow at Ring Road in Peshawar.