Pakistan confirms UN investigation on drone strikes
26 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday confirmed that the United Nations Special Rapporteur is undertaking an inquiry into human rights violations in drone strikes.
Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan, in his weekly press briefing, while commenting on a report published in media, said the inquiry is part of a broader mandate given to UN Rapporteur Ben Emmerson by the UN Human Rights Council to examine abuse of human rights while countering terrorism. He said Pakistan, along with other like-minded countries, had called for examining the extra-judicial and targeted killing, including those through drone strikes resulting in death of civilians and non-combatants.
The spokesman said the UN investigation will cover the targeted killing of civilians in drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. He said Pakistan regards drone strikes as violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. These have no legality and are counter-productive, he added. He said this issue has been a constant source of concern for Pakistan. "We have been communicating this to the US administration at every level," said the spokesman.
He said President Asif Ali Zardari would visit the United Kingdom in the first week of next month to attend trilateral summit on Afghanistan along with British prime minister and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Answering a question, he said that Pakistan has initiated a process of release of all Afghan detainees to help facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He, however, said he would not give names or numbers.
Khan said Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and Russia can help promote peace in Afghanistan, as these are important players and could be helpful in improving the situation in the country. Regarding tension on the Line of Control, the spokesman said, "Pakistan wants to sort out all issues, particularly violation of the LoC, with India through dialogue process peacefully." He said there are concerns on both sides regarding the violation of Line of Control, but the best way is to sort them out through dialogue process.
Khan said there is an established mechanism, and Pakistan has been urging India to resolve the issue through that mechanism. He reiterated Pakistan's desire to resolve all issues with India through dialogue and in a constructive manner. Referring to the statements of Indian leaders confirming rise of terrorism and extremism in India, the spokesman said Pakistan has concerns and hoped Indian leaders would do what a responsible government should do in such a situation.
He reiterated Pakistan's demand for thorough investigation into Samjotha Express bombing and that the investigations should be shared with Pakistan and culprits would be punished in accordance with the law. Commenting on an advertisement that recently appeared in a newspaper of Indian-held Kashmir urging people to make safety precautions against nuclear attack, the spokesman said termed it ridiculous.
Replying to a question about the latest on grant of Most-Favoured Nation status to India, the spokesman said Pakistan is committed to normalisation of trade relations with India. He said the federal cabinet has already instructed the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to implement that commitment. Replying to a question about announcement of uranium test by North Korea, the spokesman said, "We are concerned about such statements". He, however, said North Korea should restrained itself from such tests and follow the UN resolutions in this regard.