Tribesmen call for halt to U.S. drone strikes


Some 1,200 tribesmen Monday staged a demonstration in North Waziristan tribal region against the U.S. drone strikes and threatened to block the NATO supply line if the government failed to stop the attacks.
All markets in major cities in the tribal area, Miranshah, Mir Ali and Razmak, were closed due to the protest with the demonstrators chanting slogans “Death to America,” correspondents who covered the demonstration said on phone from Miranshah. They also shouted slogans against the government and announced end to cooperation with the government.
Tribal elders and religious leaders condemned a last week U.S. strike on a vehicle which they said killed four locals, who did not have any links with the militants.
Speakers alleged that the U.S. is firing missiles into North Waziristan with the help of the government. They said the Monday’s protest is just the beginning and a strategy is being adopted for future action.
A tribal elder Malik Shahjehan said that the tribesmen would march on to Islamabad if the government did not stop drone strikes in their region. He said if the government can not protect them from drone attacks, how can they cooperate with the government, he asked.
“We have been tired to bury victims of the U.S. drone strikes and we cannot tolerate more attacks,” a religious leader Maulana Ahmad Alam told the protesters.
He said the U.S. is killing innocent people in drone strikes and the government has failed to implement a parliamentary resolution which last month called for halt to drone strikes.
Tribal elders warned that they would stop supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan if the U.S. did not stop drone strikes.
Strikes in North Waziristan tribal region brought life in the area to a standstill and the busy markets were deserted as the people remained indoors.