Imran raises drone issue with John Kerry

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday reiterated that drones were a violation of international law and counterproductive as they cause collateral damage in terms of increasing terrorism.

According to a press release issued by the PTI, Imran Khan held a one-on-one meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday afternoon in Islamabad.

“On drones, Imran Khan reiterated that drones were a violation of international law and counterproductive as they cause collateral damage in terms of increasing terrorism; and they link Pakistan to the US War on Terror. This in turn allows the terrorists to exploit the narrative of Jehad and creates the suicide bombers with their devastating suicide attacks,” said the press release.

Imran Khan told Kerry that to stop the suicide attacks you have to take away the motivation. This can only come, Imran informed the US Secretary of State, through a complete halt of US drone strikes.

The PTI chief also stressed that “Pakistan had to delink from the US war on terror to deprive the terrorists of their exploitation of the narrative of Jehad.”

On the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Imran Khan informed John Kerry that unless the withdrawal is orderly Pakistan will have to bear the brunt of the mess left behind, as happened with the chaotic Soviet withdrawal. That is why all stakeholders must be taken on board so that a peaceful withdrawal can be achieved.

Kerry asked about Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Imran Khan explained how the province has to bear the major backlash of what happens in FATA as it is surrounded on three sides by FATA.

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Imran also admitted the provincial police were ill equipped to fight the terrorists, especially without a holistic national counter terrorism policy. Khan said he had initiated a request for the government to immediately develop a national counter terror policy and organisational framework but so far nothing had come from the government side.

Finally, Imran Khan reiterated that once the terrorists are deprived of the jehad narrative, the people of FATA will themselves reclaim their land.

US Secretary of State listened to Imran Khan’s perspective and the meeting was held in a cordial manner.

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