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article imageOp-Ed: U.S. officials remove Imran Khan from plane to quiz him on drones

By Ken Hanly     Oct 27, 2012 in Politics
Toronto - Imran Khan, prominent Pakistani politician was removed from his flight from Toronto to New York and questioned for an hour about his views on drone attacks.
Imran Khan is leader of the Pakistan Movement for Justice Party (PTI). He has campaigned constantly for an end to the U.S. drone strikes in the tribal areas. Khan maintains that the strikes often kill civilians and help generate support for militants. Khan tweeted:"I was taken off from plane and interrogated by US Immigration in Canada on my views on drones. My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop." As a result of being questioned for about an hour, he claimed that he missed his flight and a party fundraising event in New York.
While officials would not release any details of the specific case, supposedly because of privacy concerns, one official, Joanne Ferreira gave a general account of policy:
“Our dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people, and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband."
How this fits in with the Khan case is a bit hard to fathom. Perhaps the problem is that Khan is so opposed to drone attacks, that he has said that if he became head of government in Pakistan, he would order the drones shot down because the flights violate Pakistani sovereignty. The U.S has continued the attacks even in the face of several motions in the Pakistani parliament that they must stop. He has also come out in favor of negotiations with the Taliban. Earlier in October, he led thousands on a protest march to the border of the tribal areas.
Tarek Fatah said that Khan was likely questioned because some groups had been protesting his admission to the U.S. The American Islamic Leadership Coalition of Phoenix, Arizona, wrote to Hillary Clinton requesting her to revoke Khan's U.S. visa on the grounds he was sympathetic towards the Taliban. No doubt U.S. officials are concerned as well about his rousing feelings against the drone strikes while in the U.S.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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