Imran Khan ‘peace march’ turned away from tribal regions
A grand plan… Imran Khan’s two-day ‘Peace March’ to protest the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan was supposed to end with a large rally at a town deep in South Waziristan on Sunday, where the United States has conducted drone strikes and the Pakistani Army has launched offensives against militants (NYT, ET, BBC, Dawn, McClatchy, ...
A grand plan...
A grand plan…
Imran Khan’s two-day ‘Peace March’ to protest the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan was supposed to end with a large rally at a town deep in South Waziristan on Sunday, where the United States has conducted drone strikes and the Pakistani Army has launched offensives against militants (NYT, ET, BBC, Dawn, McClatchy, Post, AP, LAT, Reuters). But after a warning from the military that his demonstrators would face "imminent danger" from militants if he went ahead with the plan, Khan changed the route so that the march stopped at the edge of South Waziristan, and back-tracked 11 miles to the town of Tank, where his supporters held their rally.
A group of 35 American anti-war activists who had traveled to Islamabad to protest drone strikes, decided this weekend to join Khan’s march to the tribal regions, raising concern that their presence would encourage attacks by the Taliban (NYT, AP). Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan released a statement Friday calling Khan a "slave of the West," and reports of suicide bomb plots against the protesters swirled in the media.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik met with U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman on Friday in Washington, where he called for a "common counterterrorism strategy against the common enemy," and reiterated Pakistan’s concerns about U.S. drone strikes (Dawn). And on Sunday, after leaving the United States, Malik asked that Pakistan be given its own armed drones, saying, "if we are given drones, we will use them responsibly as we used the F-16s [that the U.S. government provided to Pakistan]" (Dawn).
A gunman killed at least six people and wounded 10 others when he opened fire on a rally for the Pakistan People’s Party in a village near Khairpur, Sindh Province on Sunday night (ET, Dawn). And a bomb strapped to a motorcycle killed one person and wounded 10 others near a police checkpoint in the southern provincial capital city of Quetta on Monday (AP, Dawn).
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Friday struck back at comments made by Afghan President Hamid Karzai the previous day criticizing the U.S. military’s focus on militants in Afghanistan instead of going after the "source" of militancy in Pakistan (AP). In an uncharacteristically harsh response, Panetta said Karzai should thank the American men and women in uniform for their sacrifice, rather than criticizing them.
Insurgents in Afghanistan killed two American service members on Saturday in the central province of Wardak, while two Afghan policemen died in separate incidents in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces (AP, Guardian, LAT). And a car bomb struck an Afghan intelligence office in Lashkar Gah on Monday, killing at least two intelligence officers and wounding three others (AP).
Under the sea
Pakistan’s first internationally certified diving center has opened in Karachi, where locals can take scuba diving lessons from professionals and explore the coral reefs along the country’s coastline (ET). Keeping the center’s safety measures up to international standards might be expensive, but it is also imperative, as the diving instructor says: "In Pakistan the risk of running a dive centre is higher, because if something happens to someone and they are influential, you might just get shot."
— Jennifer Rowland
More from Foreign Policy
At Long Last, the Foreign Service Gets the Netflix Treatment
Keri Russell gets Drexel furniture but no Senate confirmation hearing.
How Macron Is Blocking EU Strategy on Russia and China
As a strategic consensus emerges in Europe, France is in the way.
What the Bush-Obama China Memos Reveal
Newly declassified documents contain important lessons for U.S. China policy.
Russia’s Boom Business Goes Bust
Moscow’s arms exports have fallen to levels not seen since the Soviet Union’s collapse.