UN condemns US drone attacks in Pakistan
The United Nations condemned US drone attacks in Pakistan, saying the strikes are not authorized by Pakistan and therefore violate international law, a UN official said in a statement issued in Islamabad Friday, dpa reported.
Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, spent three days visiting Islamabad this week to assess the situation and meet members of the Pakistani government.
"The position of the government of Pakistan is quite clear," Emmerson said. "It does not consent to the use of drones by the United States on its territory and it considers this to be a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Members of the Pakistani government told Emmerson that drones are "counterproductive" because they radicalize people and violate international law, and their use should be stopped immediately.
"It is time for the international community to heed the concerns of Pakistan and give the next democratically elected government of Pakistan the space, support and assistance it needs to deliver a lasting peace on its own territory without forcible military interference by other states," Emmerson said.
Pakistani officials told Emmerson they want to handle the fight against terrorism that has already killed 40,000 civilians and cost the country more than 70 billion dollars in the past decade.
In February, Pakistan held talks with the United States to end drone attacks, which often kill civilians.
"Drone attacks are against the sovereignty of Pakistan, the international law and the UN charter," Jalil Abbas Jilani, the administrative head of the Foreign Ministry, told lawmakers in February. "Innocent people have been killed in these attacks."
Jilani estimated that US drone attacks, which are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have killed between 1,900 to 3,000 people in Pakistan's tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan. Some 80 per cent of the victims were al-Qaeda-linked militants.
However, estimates vary on the number of alleged militants and civilians killed in drone strikes, which have risen since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 2,634 to 3,468 people were killed in 363 drone strikes in Pakistan from 2004 to 2013, including 473 to 893 civilians.