Press Trust of India
United Nations, 25 October
There is “strong evidence” that top members of
Pakistan’s military, government and intelligence
service gave their “active consent and approval” to
CIA drone strikes in the country’s lawless tribal areas between June 2004 and June 2008, according to a UN report.
The report by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the ‘Promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism’, Mr Ben Emmerson, will be submitted to the UN General Assembly today and is an interim report on the use of remotely piloted aircraft in counter-terrorism operations.
The report comes as Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met President Barack Obama in Washington this week and urged him to “end” such strikes on Pakistani soil.
In the 24-page UN report, Mr Emmerson said, “as regards Pakistan, there is strong evidence to suggest that between June 2004
and June 2008 remotely piloted aircraft strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were conducted with the active consent
and approval of senior
members of the Pakistani military and intelligence service, and with at
least the acquiescence
and, in some instances, the active approval of senior government figures.”
According to statistics given to Mr Emmerson by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March this year, there have been at least 330 drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal areas since 2004 which resulted in about 2,200 deaths and 600 injuries.
Of these, at least 400 civilians had been killed in the drone strikes and a further 200 individuals were regarded as “probable non-combatants,” figures that are “likely to be an underestimate.”
The report adds that continued use of drones amounts to a “violation” of Pakistani sovereignty, “unless justified under the international law principle of self-defence”.
The UN Special Rapporteur&’s report has identified 33 sample remotely piloted aircraft strikes in the FATA areas that appear to have resulted in civilian casualties.
“While the fact that civilians have been killed or injured does not necessarily point to a violation of international humanitarian law, it undoubtedly raises issues of accountability and transparency,” the report added.
The USA maintains that the drone strikes are targeted at specific terrorists. However, the Pakistan government claims that most of the victims of drone hits are civilians.