April 12, 2012
A Pakistani lawyer who represents victims of U.S. drone strikes has been forced to cancel a trip to the United States after the U.S. government failed to grant him a visa. Shahzad Akbar was scheduled to speak later this month at an International Drone Summit in Washington, D.C. Akbar is co-founder of the Pakistani human rights organization, Foundation for Fundamental Rights. He filed the first case in Pakistan on behalf of family members of civilian victims.
Shahzad Akbar: “I think people are scared. They’re definitely scared. I’ve seen some people, I’ve interviewed some neighbors whose next-door house was hit, and I could feel what they’re feeling, because they’re feeling this imminent threat. And they are actually feeling helpless at the same time, because they have no other place to relocate, because a lot of them have no skills, no education, so they cannot relocate in any other part of Pakistan.”
While Akbar has traveled to the United States in the past, he has not been granted permission to return since becoming an outspoken critic of drone attacks in Pakistan.