UK questioned on links to US drone strikes in Pak

Last Updated: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 00:00

London: Lawyers for a Pakistani man who says
his father was killed in an American drone strike called on
Britain on Saturday to reveal whether it provided intelligence to
help the US launch the attacks.

British lawyers Leigh Day and Co have written a letter to
Foreign Secretary William Hague, demanding answers over
London`s alleged links to the CIA`s covert drone war.

In particular, they want to know whether British
intelligence was used in the March attack in northwest
Pakistan that they claim killed the father of their client,
Noor Khan.

The lawyers cite media reports which detail how British
intelligence agencies provided information on the location of
militants targeted by the drones.

"We ask the foreign secretary whether any information is
being passed by agents of the UK government to US government
forces to assist in these attacks," said Richard Stein, head
of Leigh Day and Co`s human rights team.

"Unless it is categorically denied that the UK continues
to pass such information to the US government forces, we
require a clear policy statement of the arrangements which are
in place and circumstances in which the UK considers it to be
lawful to do so," he added in a statement.

Clive Stafford Smith, head of British legal charity
Reprieve, added: "CIA drone strikes are killing huge numbers
of civilians and destabilising Pakistan.

"The British people have a right to know what their
country`s policy is regarding our involvement in this illegal
and disastrous campaign."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We will study this
letter closely and respond to the issues raised."
The raids by the CIA`s fleet of unmanned aircraft target
al Qaeda and Taliban extremists in northwest Pakistan.

Islamabad has tacitly consented to the drone campaign,
which many Pakistanis see as a violation of their country`s
sovereignty.

But the US was this month forced to start evacuating the
Shamsi air base in southwest Pakistan, understood to be a hub
for drone strikes, following an outcry over a NATO air raid on
Pakistan`s border that left 24 of its soldiers dead.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 00:00

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