Drones counterproductive with Zarb-i-Azb underway: UN envoy

Published November 18, 2014
This picture shows an armed US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper during a combat mission. — AP/File
This picture shows an armed US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper during a combat mission. — AP/File

UNITED NATIONS: Reaffirming its stand that US drone strikes are counterproductive in combating terrorism, Pakistan on Monday called for an immediate end to such attacks on its soil to avert more civilian deaths and injuries.

“The use of armed drones against Pakistan's tribal territory violates international law by infringing our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN, told the General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.

“Moreover, there is no justification for these strikes because Pakistan is pursuing with full vigour the Zarb-i-Azb operation to take out terrorists and dismantle their networks,” he said while participating in a discussion on the annual report of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

The Pakistani envoy said civilian casualties resulting from drone-strikes incite public sentiment and radicalise more people and were, therefore, counterproductive.

“Armed drone strikes have a devastating impact on individuals, children, families and communities in regard to safety, education, religious and cultural practices,” he said while referring to the resolutions passed by the Security Council that raised concerns about of the use of armed drones leading to violation of international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law. “The fear of secondary or fresh strikes keeps them traumatised.”

Masood Khan urged the Human Rights Council to coordinate with other human rights bodies to protect civilians who were under attack from the Islamic State in Iraq. In this regard, he said the decision to dispatch a fact-finding Mission was an important step in the right direction.

The Pakistani envoy stressed that the Council ensure its decisions were implemented faithfully and non-selectively.

“In this context, it is important that the Human Rights Council follows through its decisions to protect the rights of Palestinian in the Gaza Strip and other Occupied Palestinian Territories; and the Commission of Enquiry established to investigate human rights violations during the invasion of Gaza is enabled to complete its work.”

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