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Britain funding surveys in Pakistan on US drones

Last Updated: Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 15:03

London: Britain has been funding surveys in Pakistan`s Tribal Areas which reveal that US drone strikes in the region are causing deep resentment among the local population.

Foreign Minister, Alistair Burt, confirmed that the Foreign Office had "supported" surveys which showed the proportion of respondents in the tribal areas who believed drone strikes were "never justified" had risen from 59 percent in 2010 to 63 percent in 2011, reports the Guardian.

It is the first time that the government has revealed it has carried out opinion polls on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan. Previously British ministers have said that drone strikes are a matter for the United States and Pakistan.

However, there have been claims that the government has been complicit in the programme, sharing locational intelligence with US agencies to help them target the strikes.

Kat Craig, legal director for the charity Reprieve, which campaigns for human rights around the world said that the UK should not carry out polling to determine that a campaign of illegal killing is wrong. She said what this does show is that even British government surveys find that the drone campaign is increasingly unpopular.

Craig said ministers must come clean on the role that UK intelligence is playing in supporting drone strikes, put a stop to it, and put pressure on the US to end its campaign.


First Published: Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 12:05
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