Administration Continues Apparent Policy of Harassing Pakistani Drone Critics

Yesterday, US officials detained and questioned former cricket star turned politician and drone critic Imran Khan in Canada before allowing him to travel on to New York.

Khan told his followers on Twitter on Friday that he was detained and interrogated about his views on drones.

A State Department official confirmed Khan had been briefly detained, but said the Pakistani politician was later released to travel the United States. “The issue was resolved and Mr. Khan is welcome in the United States,” said the official.

[snip]

Khan, who led a protest march to northern Pakistan earlier this month to protest U.S. drone strikes, sent a message about the incident on Twitter on Friday, vowing to continue opposing the deadly attacks. “Nothing will change my stance,” he said.

“I was taken off from plane and interrogated by U.S. Immigration in Canada on my views on drones. My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop,” Khan tweeted on Friday afternoon.

This is not an isolated example of harassment. This is at least the third time this year that the US has delayed or denied entry to the US for Pakistani drone critics.

In April, the government stalled on giving Shahzad Akbar, a lawyer suing the US for its drone strikes, a visa to speak at an anti-drone conference.

If you want to see how President Obama’s drone war efficiently turns America’s friends into adversaries, meet Pakistani attorney Shahzad Akbar. After getting his legal education in the United Kingdom, Akbar returned to his native Islamabad to practice the kind of corporate and public accountability law that the U.S. says its hopes to encourage in Pakistan. He worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development on trade issues. While prosecuting a Pakistan consular officer who was selling visas, he coordinated his case with the FBI.

Then came the Obama administration’s escalation of the drone war. Now Akbar is a full-time critic of the U.S. government who was repeatedly denied a visa to visit Washington. After a spate of news articles, Akbar was granted permission to travel to Washington this weekend, where he warned Americans about the consequences of a remote control war where no U.S. lives are lost and Pakistani civilian casualties are routinely downplayed.

And in May, the government refused a visa to Muhammad Danish Qasim, preventing him from traveling to Seattle to accept an award for a film he made

In particular, “the film identifies the problems faced by families who have become victims of drone missiles, and it unearths the line of action which terrorist groups adopt to use victimised families for their vested interests.” In other words, it depicts the tragedy of civilian deaths, and documents how those deaths are then successfully exploited by actual Terrorists for recruitment purposes.

We can’t have the U.S. public learning about any of that. In April, Qasim was selected as the winner of the Audience Award for Best International Film at the 2012 National Film Festival For Talented Youth, held annually in Seattle, Washington. Qasim, however, along with his co-producers, were prevented from traveling to the U.S. to accept their award and showcase their film because their request for a visa to travel to the U.S. was denied. The Tribune reported: “Despite being chosen for the award, the filmmakers were unable to attend the award ceremony as their visa applications were rejected twice.

This is becoming a pattern in which the US harasses any Pakistanis who might speak out against drones in this country.

Why is the government so afraid of Pakistanis explaining to Americans what the drone attacks look like from a Pakistani perspective?

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

12 Responses to Administration Continues Apparent Policy of Harassing Pakistani Drone Critics

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @goldengateblond: MSNBC: Harrison Ford Crashed His Plane FOX: Member of the Hollywood Elite Crashed His Plane CNN: We Found a Plane!
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Interesting move fr Chevron. @DavidColeGtown
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @fordm Jesus.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @DavidColeGtown Also dodging issues of WHY it appears (acc to CIA) there were no heroes. Which still exist under Obama @ColMorrisDavis
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @DavidColeGtown Yes. Unlike you I read things before I comment on them. You're doing CIA's work right now. Congrats! @ColMorrisDavis
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis At a time, of course, when they were trying to get Yoo to invent docs to approve stuff that wasn't approved @DavidColeGtown
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ColMorrisDavis Plus CIA got to make sure 2003 DOD OLC memo worked for them. @DavidColeGtown
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@sahilkapur @hillhulse And, yet, Loretta Lynch is an absolutely horrible nominee: https://t.co/K6jnEfMeVv
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @davidminpdx: Prison documentary I helped to produce, the Mind of Mark DeFriest, opens in NY and LA tomorrow. Schedule: http://t.co/KQbo
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz The secret nature of police culture encourages rampant abuse and brutality | Rare http://t.co/oUEbELi71k via @BlanksSlate
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @DavidColeGtown Are you, by your own logic, claiming that George Tenet is your hero? @ColMorrisDavis
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @DavidColeGtown Did I say that? Look, if you don't even acknowledge documented CIA tampering, reporting is not credible. @ColMorrisDavis
4hreplyretweetfavorite
October 2012
S M T W T F S
« Sep   Nov »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031