Rights groups asked to help stop drone attacks

PESHAWAR: The sudden surge in drone attacks in North Waziristan Agency has created resentment among the tribal people, who have sought intervention of human rights groups to stop the US from what they describe as killing of innocent people.“We appeal to international human rights organisations to stop America from drone attacks in Waziristan and other parts of the tribal area,” said Maulana Saeed Ahmad, chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl in North Waziristan.He said that the entire world was celebrating New Year and displaying fireworks when America was raining missiles on the people of Waziristan. He added that drone attacks and presence of security forces had made life of the people of Waziristan hellish.Flanked by former parliamentarian Maulvi Nek Zaman and other party leaders, he told a press conference here on Sunday that America made false claims about killing of Al Qaeda fighters in drone attacks in North Waziristan. The JUI leaders, however, categorically denied presence of local and foreign militants in their area.

He termed killing of foreigners in drone attack baseless, saying that innocent people were being targeted. He said that over 800 civilians had been killed in missile attacks. He said that America had bent upon eliminating race of Ahmadzai Wazir tribe.Maulana Ahmad regretted human rights groups silence over frequent drone attacks. “Where are human rights groups and why they don`t protest over killing of innocent civilians in Waziristan?” he asked.He said that tribal elders had signed peace deals with the government, but America wanted to sabotage those agreements to derail peace process. He also said that parliament had passed unanimous resolution against drone attacks, but government had yet to take any concrete step.Maulana Ahmad also criticised security forces for their alleged rough attitude with the people of Waziristan at checkpoints. He said that security forces were humiliating passengers set up on main road from Mirali to Bannu adjacent to North Waziristan.

He said that security forces had established network of checkposts and checkpoints unnecessarily and soldiers misbehaved with passengers.He said that security forces had set up six major checkposts on main road between Mirali and Bannu and passengers were offloaded from vehicles at every checkpost.“There is a checkpoint, checkpost or base after every four kilometres in Waziristan,” he said. He demanded removal of `unnecessary` checkposts in the area.The JUI leader said that the US was pressurising Pakistan to launch military operation in North Waziristan. He urged government not to act on the US dictations and honour peace agreements. He said that the issue could be resolved through negotiations and urged government to hold talks with stakeholders.He also demanded compensation for people affected during the operation Mizan, conducted in 2007-08. He said that Fata Secretariat had released funds, but political administration had yet to pay the compensation money to the affected families – Dawn