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(WNN) Islamabad, PAKISTAN: More than a dozen American Code Pink peace delegates visiting Pakistan to witness the damage wrought by U.S. drone attacks will fast from sunrise to sunset Tuesday, Oct. 9, in front of the Islamabad Press Club, Sector F-6. They will sing songs of peace, display pictures of the more than 160 Pakistani children who have been killed by American drones, and extend a message of peace and solidarity to passersby.
“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, who is active with the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 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.”
The Americans are among a delegation of 31 who joined Pakistan progressive political chairman, Mr. Imran Khan, and other Pakistanis at a rally against U.S. drone strikes in Hatala, Pakistan, near the border between D.I. Khan and South Waziristan. This was the first time that the Pakistani government has admitted foreigners into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in nearly a decade.
The delegation was told by Pakistan Army security officials to turn back on Sunday, however, as they were only a few miles from the border of South Waziristan. This was due to assessments that the push may be met by a response that could be too unpredictable and dangerous. In spite of this, the Code Pink campaign to bring a message of peace to the region is continuing in the coming days in Islamabad and outlying areas.
On Saturday the delegation convoy, making up what has been reported by the BBC as 150 vehicles, were showered by rose petals from people along the road who support the message to stop the drone attacks.
“These drone attacks are a violation of international law,” said Khan at a rally in the city of Tank where the delegation went after being turned around by the Pakistan Army. “These drone attacks are a violation of the human rights of the Pakistani people,” he continued.
Back today in Islamabad the delegation will be fasting on Tuesday to show their intention and goal in working to stop U.S. drone violence in the tribal border region.
“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 freelance journalist from Alexandria, VA. “We will do everything we can to lobby our government to stop violating Pakistani sovereignty and destroying the lives of innocents.”
For more information on U.S. drones in the region and human rights coalition partners who are working to stop the violence link HERE
Since 2004, up to 884 innocent civilians, including at least 176 children, have died from U.S. drone strikes in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan. A new report from the Stanford University and New York University law schools find that drone use has caused “widespread post-tramatic stress disorder and an overall breakdown of functional society” in North Waziristan. In addition, the report finds the use of a “double tap” procedure, in which a drone strikes once and strikes again not long after, has led to deaths of rescuers and medical professionals. Many interviewees told the researchers they didn’t know what America was before drones. Now what they know of America is “drones, death and terror” say advocates who are working to stop the drone bombing. To join the conversation you can link to twitter via @WarCosts #UnderDrones