Following their participation in a march led by former crickateer-turned-politician Imran Khan and joined by thousands of Pakistanis calling for an end to US drone strikes in Waziristan on Sunday, US peace advocates will continue their campaign against American military policy in the region by staging a public fast in Islamabad on Tuesday.
More than a dozen members from the activist group CODEPINK will perform their fast from sunrise to sunset in front of the Islamabad Press Club as a way to draw continued attention to the death and instability created by ongoing US drone attacks ordered by the Obama administration. The group is part of a larger western delegation that traveled to Pakistan in an attempt to bring international attention to the ongoing plight of the people most affected by the strikes.
“I have never fasted before, but I want to do this as a small, symbolic act to express my solidarity with the Pakistani people and my commitment to educate my fellow Americans upon my return home about the human impact of our foreign policy,” said Pam Bailey, a member of the group from Alexandria, VA. “We will do everything we can to lobby our government to stop violating Pakistani sovereignty and destroying the lives of innocents.”
“We are very aware that there is a deep and justified feeling among Muslims worldwide that the Western world does not understand or respect them,” said Jody Mackey from Olympia, WA. Before traveling to Pakistan, she was in Kabul with the Afghan Peace Volunteers. “It seems only appropriate that we express our sorrow for the horrific damage we have done to innocent Pakistani people, particularly those in Waziristan, by fasting according to the Islamic tradition followed during Ramadan.”
At the culminating rally of the march that took place on Sunday, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin represented the message of the US delegation by saying:
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"We are calling for US troops to leave Afghanistan. We are calling for an end to these inhumane drone strikes. And we want to live in peace and harmony with our brothers and sisters in this region."
In response, the Pakistani crowd began chanting: "We want peace! We want peace!"