KARACHI - Opposing the American government’s war on terrorism, the former US attorney general Ramsey Clark has said that the drone attacks are a blatant violation of international law and spawned violence.

The US statesman, who is known for his opposition to wars since his younger days, called for efforts to resolve issues through dialogue “as violence begets violence, as witnessed in the present war on so-called terror in Afghanistan”.

He made these remarks at a function – arranged on Monday at the Karachi Press Club under the umbrella of Pakistan America Democratic Forum (PADF) – to confer ‘Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Journalist of the Year Award 2012’ on The Nation Editor Salim Bokhari. Clark presented the award to the veteran journalist.

In his brief speech, the American lawyer said Dr Aafia Siddiqui was a victim of injustice “because we don’t have the capacity to stand against it”.

Clark, who met the mother of Dr Aafia at her residence, said that Aafia was kidnapped from Pakistan and sentenced in the United State and she should be allowed to return to her home country immediately.

The former top law official of the US also urged the public to stand up against the injustices being done to the Aafia and press on the Pakistani government to act.

“We should speak clearly and honestly against her imprisonment. We are living in world of danger and we must have courage to fight and argue against the injustices being meted to Dr Aafia Siddiqui… If there would be no rule of law there would not be any peace,” he opined. Earlier, Salim Bokhari thanked the organisers for conferring him with the prestigious international award – that too by such a distinguished person as Mr Ramsey Clark.

“Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was an intrepid fighter for the freedom of India from the British, establishment of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India, and freedom of press,” Bokhari said. “Without him (Maulana), journalism would have been poorer,” he added.

He also praised Clark by describing him as a crusader for truth and an international activist against injustice. Clark’s role as an anti-Vietnam war activist still lives on both in the minds of those who suffered and those who mindlessly advocated it, he added.

Bokhari said the people of Pakistan and the region were conscious of Clark’s opposition to the war on terror and his efforts to have President Bush impeached.

He added that Clark courageously defended Saddam Hussain in his trial before Iraq’s special tribunal, maintaining that it failed to respect basic human rights and that it was illegal because it had been initiated as a consequence of the United States’ aggression against the Iraqis.

Clark also denounced the use of depleted uranium, a substance causing chemical pollution in the Iraq’s environment, which had left deep scars on the Iraqi population, The Nation editor concluded.

Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, the chief of Dr Aafia Freedom Movement, thanked the media for highlighting the issue of her sister. She said Dr Aafia Siddiqui Freedom Movement Award would soon be launched for journalists.

Earlier, the PADF also passed a resolution, which stated that the Pakistani Upper House of the Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on February 23, 2010, reflecting entire nation’s collective demand that the government should adopt all legal and diplomatic measures to seek Afia’s return to Pakistan.

The resolution further said Zardari government had not only been negligent in pursuing the moral and legal duties, but also its new ambassador had initially refused to issue a visa to Clark – a great friend of Pakistan and a known benefactor of the Bhutto family.

The resolution demanded that the Pakistani parliament must immediately convene a hearing on the basis of Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri’s recent confession and the government must launch a new multi-pronged diplomatic initiative to negotiate Dr Aafia’s release.