LAHORE – The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has expressed concerns over the reports in the foreign media that the government has given a free hand to the US to carry out drone strikes.

In a press release on Monday, the party expressed concerns over increasing drone strikes on Pakistani soil. “These strikes are not reducing militancy; in fact are a major stimulant to terrorism” said PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

“This particular fact has even been pointed out in studies carried out at Stanford and New York University law schools. Most neutral observers have also come to a similar conclusion,” he said.

Imran Khan said that in the last eight years nearly 360 strikes have been carried out with a large proportion, over 300 during the tenure of the Obama Administration. A conservative estimate according to him is that nearly four thousand people have been killed including a large number of unarmed men, women and children. By one estimate over 200 of those killed are children. These bare statistics by themselves tell a story not only of tragedies for the people of FATA but why there has been a huge increase in militancy.

While commenting on continuing attacks on troops and horrendous terrorist attacks in different cities, Khan said that the perception that Pakistan is partner of the US in these tragic drone strikes has hugely contributed to it. He said that the US link has provided the militants with a Jihadi narrative where they have been able to paint this struggle as between Islam and infidels. “Unless we get out of this partnership with the US, hard core nucleus of militancy will continue to use it as a motivational tool for preparing suicide bombers. It is the suicide bombers that have resulted in the tragedy of nearly forty thousand people being martyred in Pakistan”. Drone strikes, he said, are the single most visible manifestation of US aggression on the people of FATA.