Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan vowed Saturday to block Nato supplies from crossing through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in response to the US drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud and ‘sabotaged’ peace talks.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is one of two key routes Nato supplies move in and out of Afghanistan and is seen as crucial as US-led allied forces prepare to drawdown from the war-torn country in 2014.
Opposition parties in Pakistan have accused the US of using the drone strike to stymie the peace process before talks proper had even started.
Khan, whose party leads the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said: “Even if we lose our provincial government, we will not let Nato supplies pass through as long as drone strikes do not stop.”
He was speaking at a news conference in the eastern city of Lahore after a meeting of the party’s central committee.
He said the all parties’ conference had decided to pursue the path of peace talks, and that the Taliban had only put forth the condition of halting drone attacks.
Commending the interior minister, he said Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had brought the government to a stage where the peace dialogue process could be taken forward.
“This drone strike has sabotaged the dialogue process. It has proved that they (the Americans) do not want peace in Pakistan,” said the cricketer-turned-politician.
Urging all political parties to unite “in this defining moment”, Khan said that their party would pass a ‘unanimous’ resolution in the KP assembly on Monday. He said the party would also raise the matter of stopping Nato supplies in Parliament on Monday.
Other political parties have also condemned Friday’s drone strike.
Jan Achakzai, spokesman for the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) religious party whose head Fazlur Rehman is helping government in contacts with Taliban, also condemned the drone strike.
“It is a setback for a peace camp in Pakistan. The drone attack has been carried out a time when there was an enabling environment for peace talks and despite the Americans saying they supported the internal reconciliations,” he said earlier.