News / Asia

Pakistan's Imran Khan to Go Ahead With 'Peace March'

Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer turned politician, gestures during an interview with at his residence in Islamabad, November 16, 2011.
Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer turned politician, gestures during an interview with at his residence in Islamabad, November 16, 2011.
Sharon Behn
Pakistani cricketeer turned opposition politician Imran Khan is dismissing government warnings about marching into South Waziristan to protest U.S. drone strikes. Some analysts say Saturday's scheduled protest is the latest move by Khan to boost the prospects of his political party.  
 
Khan says his so-called peace march will leave for South Waziristan on Saturday. He says the convoy has been invited into the area and promised security by the three main tribes in the tribal agency -- a known militant stronghold.

Authorities have said they cannot guarantee the safety of the marchers. Khan says he is confident of security even though foreigners will be participating in the planned protest. 
 
“We will take it as it comes," he said. "We know exactly where we are going, we worked out with local people what is the most secure place because obviously our foreign guests are very important to us, and we care for their security.”

Among the protestors will be about 30 American peace activists who are also opposed to the U.S. policy of drone attacks in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas. The activists say the strikes kill many innocent Pakistani civilians and are counterproductive.  
 
The United States believes the drone strikes are an effective tool to kill militants taking refuge in Pakistan’s mountainous border area with Afghanistan.   
 
The drone strikes are highly unpopular with Pakistan's public.  Analyst Megha Kumar of Oxford Analytica in Britain says the planned protest appears to be a move by Imran Khan to win the support of the disaffected tribal population in that part of the country.
 
“And, he can do that partly also because of the strong anti-U.S. sentiment across Pakistan, this is the card that he can play very well,” said Kumar.

According to a survey released to political parties last week by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, Khan’s PTI party has plummeted in popularity, while that of one of his rivals, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has gone up.

Sharif, who heads the PML-N party, is seen as the main challenger to the ruling PPP party of President Asif Ali Zardari. But many analysts say neither of the two major political parties have enough support to win an outright majority in parliament in the 2013 elections.

Kumar says that could put Imran Khan in the position of political kingmaker in any future coalition government -- a government that will need the political strength to enact badly needed economic reforms.   
 
Kumar also says tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan are unlikely to ease and no politician in Pakistan wants to be seen as supporting U.S. policies in the region. 
 
“The anti-U.S. hostility in Pakistan is so extreme that neither political party, the two main parties, or even the smaller ones, can afford to appear at least rhetorically pro-U.S.,” she added.
 
According to Khan’s PTI party spokeswoman, his convoy plans to take its protest to the town of Kotkai in Waziristan. However some observers say authorities could intervene to block the convoy of marchers from crossing into areas where their safety could be at risk.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid