Pakistani Defense Min issues conflicting statements on drone hits
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Oct 26, IRNA -- Defense Ministry issued 2 conflicting statements on drone attacks as Defense Secretary said US conducts strikes with approval of gov't, but ministry in reply to High Court in cases against attacks said there is no agreement with US to carry out strikes.
Pakistan's ‘The News’ daily reported that the Ministry of Defense through its Director of Legal Affairs, Muhammad Hussain Shahbaz, some three months ago had submitted reply in the PHC with affidavit in the cases against drone attacks stating that there was no agreement with the US/NATO forces to carry out the drones strikes.
The ministry had also stated in its written reply that there was no record with the Armed Forces of Pakistan regarding any agreement with the US on drone attacks. However, some two days ago, the Defense Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Asif Yasin Malik informed the Senate Standing Committee on Defence that the US military used Shamsi airbase in Balochistan for drone strikes with the government’s consent until December last year.
The base had been sub-leased to the US by a Persian Gulf country on October 20, 2011 with the approval of the then president Pervez Musharraf. It was vacated by the US on December 11, 2011 on the demand of Pakistan in the wake of the attack on the Salala checkpost in Mohmand Agency.
The secretary defense had also informed the committee that the US had not made any payment to Pakistan for using the Shamsi Airbase.
The ministry in its reply to the court had also partially admitted that most of the wanted terrorists were killed during the drone attacks. “The government of Pakistan has lodged protest at different international forums and consistently condemned the drone strikes on its soil and demanded the US/NATO forces to stop the attacks,” the ministry had stated in the written comments, adding that the government of Pakistan has raised the issue at different international forums in order to stop the drone attacks.
The ministry further stated that fundamental rights to the people of North and South Waziristan were not denied.
Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Iqbal Mohmand, who was representing the federal government and Defense Ministry in the cases has told the news daily that the Ministry of Defense had clearly stated in its reply on affidavit that there was no agreement with the US/NATO forces to carry out drone strikes inside Pakistani territory, including Fata.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80387925
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