PM Nawaz's stance on drone strikes too weak: PTI
25 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday expressed dismay over Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's stance on drone strikes, in his meeting with US President Barack Obama, by terming it too weak.
"It was unfortunate that PM Sharif failed to categorically tell President Obama that drone strikes must stop. Instead all that PM could muster before Obama was to 'urge' him to halt these illegal strikes, which were now being seen as possible war crimes," PTI Central Information Secretary Shireen Mazari opined.
She said the recent Amnesty International report had questioned the legality of drone strikes and stated that they could constitute as war crimes.
Mazari said Pakistan's political parties had given a consensual mandate to the federal government, just as they had done to the previous government, to stop drone strikes. She said neither the previous government nor the present one was prepared to act resolutely to stop these attacks, despite the accepted illegality of drone strikes under international law and their brazen violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.
Mazari also emphasised that the PTI stood against drone attacks from the start and managed to draw the international community's attention to the fact that they were a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. "They were illegal under international laws, including human rights law and the UN Charter, and they fuelled militancy and extremism," she added.
Mazari said that today the international human rights organisations and legal communities were taking the same position as the PTI. "The anti-drone voices within the country have also grown and now there is a political consensus against these attacks as reflected in successive parliamentary and APC resolutions. The Peshawar High Court gave a landmark ruling against drone attacks earlier this year. Yet PM Sharif buckled under pressure and could only urge the US to stop drone attacks which can be construed as an act of war against Pakistan under the international law and a war crime," she said.
On behalf of the PTI, Mazari asked the PM, "What now? Since Obama has refused to stop drone strike in FATA, and since the Sharif government has an APC mandate to stop drone strikes; and since PM Sharif in his election campaign also committed to stopping drone strikes; what is the next step the federal government will take to bring an end to this act of aggression against Pakistan by the US?"