Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Imran Khan, left, and Clive Stafford Smith hold up part of a missile fired by a U.S. drone during a press conference in Islamabad, Oct. 27, 2011.

Imran Khan, left, and Clive Stafford Smith hold up part of a missile fired by a U.S. drone during a press conference in Islamabad, Oct. 27, 2011. Photo: Getty

Pakistan's Imran Khan: If Elected, 'I Would Shoot Down US Drones'

Common Dreams staff

In an interview with BBC News this week, Pakistani politician Imran Khan stated that if he were elected as Prime Minister in elections next year, he would opt to shoot down US drones that invade Pakistan, should the US and the international community continue to ignore pleas to stop the fatal strikes in the region.

Khan told BBC that US drone strikes are counterproductive because they have resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, cause great hardship in the country and drive up anti-US sentiment and militant recruitment.

The "vast majority of people killed are civilians or very low level militants," Khan continued.

Khan went on to criticize the "duplicity" of the Pakistani government, who publicly condemns drone attacks, but covertly gives the US approval for the strikes.

Khan emphasized that military action would not be the first step. First, he said, his government would engage in dialogue with the US to attempt to convince them to end the attacks. Second he would protest the attacks at the UN. Should those actions fail, he would then strike down US drones that enter the country thereafter.

Imran Khan, the former Pakistani national cricket captain and now head of the political party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), known as a leading critic of US policies in the country, has organized a mass anti-drone march to take place this weekend. Khan has said he expects up to 100,000 to join the march, which will be led into South Waziristan, an area heavily bombarded with US drones.

Ignoring a travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department for Pakistan, a delegation of US activists and parents of U.S. Army soldiers traveled to Islamabad this week, where they plan to join the October 6 and 7th march and rally.

"People are taking great risks to come here," said Medea Benjamin, co-director of CODEPINK, the anti-war group that has lead the US delegation to the protests. Speaking to the importance of US citizens taking part in the march, Benjamin stated, "It shows the depth of conviction that we have to say that 'I don't want my government killing innocent people in my name and I'm going to put my body on the line to try to stop it.'"

"A lot of anti-Americanism is actually created due to the drone war," fellow activist Chelsea Faria told NBC News. "It's making us a lot less safe."

San Francisco-based Dianne Budd said, since talking to people on the ground in Pakistan, the group has learned that people were being forced to spend "24/7 under the threat at any moment of death by drones." She added: "It's almost trivial what we're doing, compared to how they're living."

On Wednesday and Thursday the delegation met with drone victims and have planned more meetings for Friday, ahead of the weekend's actions.

* * *

CODEPINK met with members of PTI at their headquarters for a press conference this week. Medea Benjamin and Fauzia Kasuri say, "We will not raise our children to kill other people's children!" in an act of peace and solidarity with women from Pakistan and the United States.

# # #


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·


NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo