Seven Members of Veterans For Peace are part of a 40-member delegation organized by Code Pink now in Pakistan through October 10th. VFP members Leah Bolger, Dave Dittemore, Bill Kelly, Jody Mackey, Rob Mulford, and Ann Wright are meeting with drone victims’ families, elected officials, tribal elders, and residents of South Waziristan, where U.S. drone strikes have killed thousands, while injuring and making refugees of many more. Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin is an associate member of VFP.
The relentless drone war continued with a U.S. drone strike in the Mir Ali area on Monday, reportedly killing three unidentified people.
At the same time, the Pakistani media is full of accounts of the U.S. delegation and their planned participation in a march to the heaviest hit areas, a story also appearing in British and other world media. The English language Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports:
“ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said that a 30-member foreign delegation had reached Islamabad on Sunday which would participate in PTI’s ‘peace rally’ in South Waziristan, DawnNews reported.
“The PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that people who do not want peace are against PTI peace rally.
“Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Khan said Mehsud, Burki and Bhittani tribes of Waziristan have welcomed the peace rally. The tribal leaders had also assured the security of the participants of the rally, he added.
“He complained that the government was not issuing visas to the foreign journalists and human right’s activists who wanted to attend the rally.
“Speaking on the occasion, US citizen Ann Wright, who is a former diplomat and military woman, said most of the American people were against drone attacks.
‘Drone attacks are illegal and criminal. We request the people of Pakistan to raise their voice against them. We will go to Waziristan to apologise to the relatives of those killed by drones,’ said Ms Wright, who is also the spokesperson for the Anti-War Movement. She said the US had been violating the sovereignty of Pakistan. ‘There is travel warning for the US citizens but we have come here and will go to the places where our government does not want us to go,’ she said.”
[Read the rest of the article and related blog posts on the Veterans for Peace website.]
VFP is part of a coalition organizing an online petition in support of banning weaponized drones. VFP members are delivering over 16,000 signatures on the petition to those they meet with in Pakistan.