Pak remains opposed to `illegal` drones after Obama speech

Last Updated: Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 13:07

Islamabad: The Pakistan Government has repeated its view that drone strikes by America in its territory were illegal.

The rhetoric from Pakistan came after President Barack Obama laid out new guidelines for the use of the unmanned vehicles.

According to the Daily Times, Obama mounted a firm defence of the covert drone war as `legal` in a major speech on counterterrorism policy on Thursday.

He, however, warned that undisciplined use of the tactic would invite abuses of power.

Pakistan said it welcomed some aspects of Obama`s speech, particularly his acknowledgement that `force alone cannot make us safe`, but remained firm on its long-held public stance on unmanned missile attacks in its tribal northwest.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said Obama`s new guidelines stating that drone strikes can only be used to prevent imminent attacks and when the capture of a suspect is not feasible and if there is a "near certainty" that civilians will not be killed.

He said Pakistan has consistently maintained that the drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.

According to Britain`s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, CIA drone attacks targeting suspected al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004, up to 884 of them civilians.

Islamabad has repeatedly denounced drone strikes, criticising them as a violation of sovereignty that inflame anti-Americanism, the report added.


First Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 13:06

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