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Pakistani tribesman Mohammad Nazir, the victim of a US drone attack, speaks to AFP in Islamabad on June 6, 2013. – AFP Photo
Pakistani tribesman Mohammad Nazir, the victim of a US drone attack, speaks to AFP in Islamabad on June 6, 2013. – AFP Photo

ISLAMABAD: The families of Pakistani victims of US drone strikes Thursday wrote to new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urging him to stop the campaign – by shooting the unmanned aircraft down if necessary.

The high court in the northwestern city of Peshawar on May 9 declared the CIA drone strikes targeting suspected Taliban and al Qaeda militants to be a “war crime” and ordered Islamabad to take steps to halt them.

Victims' families and their lawyer Mirza Shahzad Akbar have written to Sharif urging him to heed the court's ruling, which calls on the government to take the matter up at the UN Security Council.

Islamabad regularly issues statements condemning the missile strikes as a violation of sovereignty, but has yet to take any stronger action publicly to pressure Washington to end the campaign, which began in 2004.

“The court has ordered the government of Pakistan and its security forces to administer a proper warning to the United States that future drone strikes will not be tolerated,” Akbar wrote in the letter, seen by AFP.

Akbar said that if Pakistan failed to persuade the US to stop the strikes through the United Nations, “the court has very clearly ordered to shoot down the drones.”

At a news conference with two relatives of drone victims, Akbar warned that Sharif would face contempt of court proceedings if he did not implement the court order within 14 days.

Mohammad Nazir, whose son was killed in a US drone strike in June 2006 in North Waziristan tribal district, a haven for insurgents, endorsed the demand and said he wanted revenge for his son's death.

“My son was 25 years old, he was a labourer and was working in a house with other labourers in the night when the drone strike took place,” he told AFP.

“According to tribal law, you kill the son of that person who kills your son, so I will take revenge of my son's killing whenever I have the opportunity.”

According to the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism, since 2004 up to 3,587 people have been killed in Pakistan by drone attacks, which Washington says are an effective weapon in the fight against Islamist militancy.

On Wednesday Sharif used his first speech as prime minister to urge the US to end the strikes and said a comprehensive strategy for tackling extremism should be worked out.

Comments (4) Closed

Isadora Jun 06, 2013 11:59pm

How can we ever find the truth?

I have read that the people being brutalized by the militants are very glad the drones are around to take some of these militants out.

I've also read that drones have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

Mr. Sharif is Prime Minister now. Wouldn't he know the truth of this terrible situation? How can brutalized people speak out? They will be hurt or killed. But the Prime Minister must have his channels - secret ways to find a bit of truth?

Then, again, extremists are so very good at propaganda.

All anyone can ask of any politican, where human lives are at stake, is that his actions magnify the truth and not simply the politics of a situation.

The question remains the same in America, my country. Truth or politics?

Sadly, it's the way of the world.

Jan Jun 07, 2013 08:17am

Move all the Pakistani Politicians Families to FATA.

M Rafique Jun 07, 2013 11:06am

TTP may not like it, lay down the guns, drone attack will be stopped

g Jun 08, 2013 07:48pm

Explain to me why the Taliban and militants are allowed to operate freely in the tribal areas please.

Work out that comprehensive strategy to end extremism and we can talk. In the meantime, the tactical use of drones makes the most sense.