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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid