Peshawar: Chairman Imran Khan today condemned the drone attack in Miranshah, North Waziristan Agency, killing 18 people. He called on the government to live up to its commitment to stop drone attacks, and expressed disappointment that so far there has been no progress in this regard despite electoral promises and commitments made by the Prime Minister in the National Assembly. Because drones were a foreign and defence policy issue, the onus for stopping drones rested entirely with the federal government, but Mr Khan pointed out that PTI would support the government in their efforts to end the murder of innocent Pakistanis by drones.
The Chairman stated it was simply not enough to keep issuing speeches and demarches as the time had come to move beyond to some practical steps – beginning with the diplomatic political level. He also demanded that all the innocent victims of drones be identified and their names made public just as is done in the case of victims of other terror attacks. He reminded the government that this was another commitment made by one of their ministers in response to a PTI demand in the National Assembly during the budget session.
Imran Khan pointed out that the drones targeting Pakistanis in FATA were against all international laws, from the UN Charter Article 2:4, to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR: Article 6 to Article 1clauses a-e of the Convention of 9th December 1948 with regard to punishment of the crime of Genocide, imposing prohibition against genocide.
Chairman Khan also drew the government’s attention to the recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson who came out strongly against the drone attacks and called on the international community “to heed the concerns of Pakistan” in this connection.
In conclusion, and most pertinent, Mr Khan reminded the Government of Pakistan of its obligations on the drones issue in view of the judgment of the Peshawar High Court of April 2013, on writ petition Writ Petition No. 1551P/2012 in which the Court decided, citing especially Article 199 of the Constitution, inter alia “ i. That the drone strikes, carried out in the tribal areas FATA particularly North & South Waziristan by the CIA & US Authorities, are blatant violation of Basic Human Rights and are against the UN Charter, the UN General Assembly Resolution, adopted unanimously, the provision of Geneva Conventions thus, it is held to be a War Crime, cognizable by the International Court of Justice or Special Tribunal for War Crimes, constituted or to be constituted by the UNO for this purpose.
“ii. That the drone strikes carried out against a handful of alleged militants, who are not engaged in combat with the US Authorities or Forces, amounts to breach of International Law and Conventions on the subject matter, therefore, it is held that these are absolutely illegal & blatant violation of the Sovereignty of the State of Pakistan because frequent intrusion is made on its territory / airspace without its consent rather against its wishes as despite of the protests lodged by the Government of Pakistan with USA on the subject matter, these are being carried out with impunity.
“ iii. That the civilians casualties, as discussed above, including considerable damage to properties, livestock, wildlife & killing of infants/ suckling babies, women and preteen children, is an un condonable crime on the part of US Authorities including CIA and it is held so.“ iv. That in view of the established facts & figures with regard to civilians’ casualties & damage caused to the properties, livestock of the citizens of Pakistan, the US Government is bound to compensate all the victims’ families at the assessed rate of compensation in kind of US dollars.” In view of all the above, Chairman PTI, Imran Khan demanded the government move immediately to stop the drones killing innocent citizens of Pakistan – over 3000 so far – and inform the people of what concrete steps have been and are being taken. “We will not accept anymore duplicity on this issue”, Khan concluded.