Pakistan to raise US drone strikes issue at UN Human Rights Council

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Safar 23, 1435 2013-12-26

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The US continues to murder innocent people in Pakistan under what it describes as targeting “militants.” No proof is ever provided; what the US says, goes. Under mounting public pressure, Pakistan has said it will raise the issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Will the Washington warlords listen, or care?

Islamabad, Crescent-online
December 26, 2013, 14:27 EST

Amid rising public anger over continued US drone strikes, the government of Pakistan has said it will raise the issue at the Human Rights Council session in Geneva if the strikes continue.

“We will go to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva if the drone strikes continue” Tasneem Aslam, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told a weekly news conference today (Thursday, December 26).

Four more people were killed near the town of Miranshah in North Waziristan yesterday in what the US routinely describes as targeting suspected militants. No proof was provided; the US feels none is needed. When the drones kill innocent people, Washington simply dismisses these as “militants.”

Pakistan condemned the attack calling it a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Islamabad has also described these attacks as unhelpful by giving boost to militancy.

There is growing public anger in Pakistan over such strikes. Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has led protests in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KPP) since November demanding an end to the strikes. His party workers as well as other opponents of drone strikes have blocked Nato convoys from ferrying lethal goods in and out of Afghanistan via Pakistan’s Torkham border.

In a report released on October 22, 2013, Amnesty documented at least 376 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004 in which an estimated 3,600 people have been killed. Amnesty’s report, based on figures compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, said that at least 402 and possibly 926 civilians have been killed in drone strikes.

Scores of other innocent people have been murdered by the US since the report’s release two months ago.

There was a particularly moving story of the Rehman family documented by Amnesty. A 68-year-old grandmother, Maimana Bibi was blown to pieces by two Hellfire missiles fired from a CIA-operated drone on the eve of Eid al-Adha on October 24, 2012. The elderly woman’s three grandchildren were also badly injured while playing in a field near their house.

The US claimed it hit a Taliban convoy on a road nearby. The Rehman family house has no road near it. The children and the elderly grandmother were hit in an open field.

As the pressure in Pakistan against US drone strikes mounts, the government has been forced to make pronouncements to contain this rising tide of anger. Islamabad’s decision about raising the issue at the UNHRC comes after the UN passed a resolution on December 18 demanding that states using drone strikes should comply with their obligations under international law and the UN Charter.

Given the mindset of Washington warlords, nobody should be under any illusion that they would abide by any laws. The UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emerson, a highly regarded British barrister, has said some US officials are guilty of war crimes.

END

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