Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan announced this week that the anti-drone march into South Waziristan - expected to attract up to 100,000 participants - will take place on 6-7 October. Khan confirmed that foreign activists will accompany the marchers, including British film maker and activist Carol Grayson. Other people slated to attend include Cherie Blair's sister Lauren Booth, representatives of the London-based Reprieve organisation led by Clive Stafford Smith and members of the American human rights organisation Code Pink.
Khan said the march would leave from Islamabad and reach South Waziristan on 7 October after an overnight stay at Dera Ismail Khan. He said that more than three million people had been displaced because of military operations in the tribal areas and that a planned Pakistan Army operation into North Waziristan would bring more disasters. He claimed that 12 drone attacks had taken place within 24 hours last week, a figure that has not been confirmed by any other source.
How such a large march - much of it will be vehicle-borne - will be catered for in the remote tribal areas is unclear, but Khan remains optimistic and support for the initiative is growing. However, cynics in Pakistan are suggesting that Khan knows the march will never take place because of the impending action by the Pakistan military and that he is simply seeking to garner as much publicity as possible.