Govt to raise its case on drone attacks at the UN: FO

Predator Drone - File Photo

Predator Drone – File Photo

DAWN, ISLAMABAD, 12th SEPTEMBER 2013: The Foreign Office spokesman on Thursday said the government had prepared a case aimed at raising the issue of US drone strikes on Pakistani territory in the United Nations, DawnNews reported.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing, the spokesman said there was no secret agreement between Pakistan and the United States on drone strikes, adding that the government had no idea where the drones were flown in from.

Regarding the recent release of Afghan prisoners, he said the reason for releasing Afghan Taliban prisoners was to facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Speaking of the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, the spokesman said it has Pakistani prisoners, however, it wasn’t certain how many. He added that talks were in progress with the US government regarding the release of these prisoners.

The FO spokesman told reporters that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would go on an official visit to Turkey from September 16 to 18.

He also said that Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz would meet with his Indian counterpart in Turkmenistan’s capital Bishkek on Friday. The talks would centre on bilateral relations with the aim of improving ties with India.

Regarding the crisis in Syria, the spokesman stated that Pakistan hoped for a diplomatic solution to the issue, adding that none of the groups actively involved in the fighting should use chemical weapons. He further said that Pakistan was waiting for the UN report regarding the usage of chemical weapons in Syria.

Earlier, Ambassador Zamir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, had said that Pakistan, a primary target of drone attacks, had suffered a heavy loss of innocent lives apart from widespread social and economic costs.

While addressing the opening session of the 24th Human Rights Council, he said that in recent years, there had been severe human rights violations across the globe, as a result of indiscriminate use of force in the context of counter-terrorism efforts.

According to a press release, Akram said these included illegal detentions, renditions, and extrajudicial killings including through use of drone attacks.

He added that these attacks caused collateral damage and violated international laws, including humanitarian and human rights laws, apart from violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Akram also stated that drone attacks were counterproductive in the campaign against terrorism, referring to the United Nations Secretary General’s statement that the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing rules of international law, including international humanitarian law.

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