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More petition high court against drone attacks

May 09, 2012


PESHAWAR, May 9: Two more petitions were filed in Peshawar High Court here on Wednesday against drone attacks in the Federally Administered  Tribal Areas.

The Federation of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence have been made respondents in the petitions, filed by Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR), a legal charity, for their failure to stop drone attacks in the country.

One of the petitions was filed on behalf of the heirs of people, who were killed in a drone strike on March 17, 2011 when they were attending a jirga. The second petition was filed by Noor Khan, son of Malik Daud Khan, the head of North Waziristan Jirga, who was killed along with 50 other tribal elders in the same drone attack.

Addressing a press conference after filing the petitions, Barrister Shahzad Akbar, the director of FFR, said that on March 17, 2011, Malik Daud Khan was chairing a meeting of the jirga to settle a local dispute when a US drone fired missiles on the gathering.

He said that 50 persons including Malik Daud Khan, five khasadars and a small child were killed in the attack.

He said that the court was petitioned to order the federal government to take up drone issue before United Nations Security Council, International Court of Justice and the UNHRC.

“The petitions also want that Pakistan Air Force should be instructed to shoot down drones, flying inside Pakistani territory,” he added.

British rights activist and lawyer Clive Stafford Smith was also present on the occasion. He said that it was responsibility of a government to protect its innocent citizens.

“Clive, the founder and director of the London-based charity Reprieve, has successfully secured the release of over 65 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. He came to Pakistan this week after visiting his remaining 15 clients there.

He is now actively working with drone victims in Pakistan to get them justice at international and domestic levels,” he added.

Reprieve has recently filed a petition in a London court seeking an end to involvement of British secret services in drone strikes in Pakistan.

Reprieve and FFR have also filed a complaint before the UN Human Rights Council on-behalf of scores of civilian drone victims from Waziristan.

It is pertinent to mention here that two separate petitions have already been filed against drone attacks in Peshawar High Court by Defence of Pakistan Council and a private lawyer respectively.