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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistani court seeks halt to controversial US drone strikes

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 1, IRNA -- A court in Pakistan Wednesday directed government to take measures to halt strikes by US drone aircraft in country’s tribal regions.

A citizen in his petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) had argued that US drone strikes cause deaths of civilians and that the strikes are violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The US regularly conducts drone strikes in Pakistan tribal regions to what American officials say eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, who are planning attacks on NATO forces across the border.

On Tuesday, a US unmanned aircraft fired two missiles on a hideout of suspected militants in South Waziristan tribal region and killed at least 10 militants.

Pakistan publicly opposes the drone strikes but opposition allege that the government has a secret agreement with the US about the strikes. Pakistan denies the allegation.

A Pakistani citizen, Sardar Aziz had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court to seek halt to the drone strikes. He was of the view that the US drone strikes in tribal regions are violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and that innocent people are also killed in the attacks.

Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif disposed off the case and ruled that the government should take effective measures to stop drone strikes if the attacks are carried out without the consent of Pakistan.

The petitioner had also asked the government to seek details of the drone strikes and civilian casualties as the result of the U.S attacks. He also requested the court to seek clarification from the government about any secret understanding between the US and Pakistan about the attacks.

Government lawyers had denied any agreement on drone strikes and said that the strikes are not carried out with the government consent.

The US has intensified drone strike in Waziristan region in recent months despite outcry against the attacks by international rights groups and Pakistan. At least four have been carried out this month in North and South Waziristan.

This month the Amnesty International said the U.S. use of drones to target insurgents in northwest Pakistan has generated considerable resentment inside Pakistan.

Amnesty International in a report called on the US to clarify its chain of command and rules of engagement for the use of drones and ensure proper accountability for civilian casualties.

Pakistani leaders insist that drone aircraft kill civilians and that it also badly affect ant-terror war.

Washington has refused to halt drone strike while considering the use of the technology as effective to eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

In August last year Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsood was killed along with his wife in South Waziristanj when U.S drone fired missiles at the house of his father in law where he was staying at the time of the strike.


End News / IRNA / News Code 1205717

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