Published On: Sun, Oct 7th, 2012

Imran Khan, cricket star turned activist, leads Pakistani protest of US drone strikes

Imran Khan, a Pakistani “cricketer” now turned politician, led activists and thousands of protesters on a march against the US drone strikes on Saturday.

Code Pink protested at the DNC (photo) but now have joined those in Pakistan to voice opposition to the drone strikes by the US military photo Debra Sweet

Crowds lined both sides of the road, greeting Khan, as they protested and called for the US to stop targeting Pakistan territories for drone attacks.

Khan’s plan was to travel to the Taliban controlled area, even broadcast at an al-Qaeda stronghold. AFP reported that it was not safe for Khan to go into these tribal belts.

“I condemn the hypocrisy of the government, who tried their best to make this march fail,” Khan told around 5,000 supporters at a brief halt on the outskirts of the Punjab town of Mianwali, his former parliamentary seat.

“They are saying that Taliban have sent nine suicide attackers. If [President Asif Ali] Zardari sends even a 100 suicide attackers this march will not stop,” added Khan, who leads the Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) or Movement for Justice party.

Critics say Khan is just playing politics, using the drone issue to garner political support.

“He’s doing it for politics. It’s a political statement,” Sohail Mahmoud, a political analyist said.

Mahmoud pointed out that the government and all political parties in Pakistan opposed the US drone attacks before Khan started his march.

“So he’s just just playing to the public’s sentiments.”

Khan is accompanied by around 30 US campaigners from anti-war group CODEPINK and the British head of legal lobby organisation Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder CODEPINK, told Al Jazeera that her group participated in the march to show that there are Americans who are opposed to the drone strikes.

“And we hope that we’ll be putting pressure on our own government to take a look at the policy and see how inhumane [drones] are,” she said.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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