Anti-drone peace march halted in Pakistan
October 8, 2012 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
- Authorities block road into South Waziristan, ending protest march
- Leader says the march still achieved its goal of drawing attention to drone strikes
- Officials say demonstrators were kept out of South Waziristan for security reasons
- March was led by former cricket star turned politician Imran Khan
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A protest march against U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, led by former cricket star turned politician Imran Khan, came to a halt on Sunday when authorities blocked access to the demonstration's final destination in the tribal region, officials told CNN.
Authorities used steel shipping containers and security forces to seal off the road entering South Waziristan, where protesters had planned to hold a rally on Sunday, local government official Shahid Ullah said.
When confronted with the roadblock, Khan directed protesters to turn back, saying the march had achieved its goal of drawing attention to the controversial U.S. drone strikes.
Khan has been a fierce critic of U.S. policy in Pakistan and the use of drone strikes, calling them a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and a strategy that fuels militant anger towards Washington.
Imran Khan: Protests achieved results
Bounty placed on anti-Islam filmmaker
Drones capture Pakistani mountain beauty
"We will not cause any trouble if the government doesn't want us to enter South Waziristan," Khan told reporters. "We just want to direct the attention of the entire world to these illegal and immoral drone attacks in Waziristan that have left many innocent people dead."
In recent years Washington has sharply stepped up the use of drone attacks in Pakistan's mostly ungoverned tribal region, widely believed to be a safe haven for militant groups fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan. U.S. officials say the drone strikes are an effective strategy against militant groups and insist civilian casualties are rare.
The anti-drone march set out in a convoy of more than 100 vehicles from the capital, Islamabad, on Saturday and reached the border of South Waziristan on Sunday afternoon, where it was turned back.
The U.S.-based anti-war group Code Pink was part of the procession. Throughout the journey the pink-clad peace activists regularly chanted anti-drone slogans in Pakistan's native language of Urdu.
"Stop them! Stop them! Stop the drone attacks," the protesters shouted in Urdu.
Pakistani authorities had earlier warned that the demonstration would not be allowed to enter South Waziristan for security reasons.
"The situation in the tribal areas is comparatively good but not suitable for any gathering there," Tashfeen Khan, a government official, said on Saturday.
Journalist Aamir Iqbal contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories