Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures show that Pakistani civilians are often the victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.The Pakistani government says it is seeking to put an end to US assassination drone strikes on Pakistan’s tribal areas. Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz told the country’s parliament on Tuesday that a new policy was being developed to stop the drone attacks in the tribal regions. A number of Pakistani lawmakers including Dr. Shireen Mazari raised questions regarding the new government’s policy against attacks by the US terror drones.
“US Secretary of State John Kerry is likely to visit Pakistan next month and the government will raise the issue with him and make him realize that drone strikes are counterproductive in war against terrorism,” Aziz said.He added that the government had already expressed concerns to Washington over the strikes and that Islamabad considers the attacks as violation of its sovereignty and integrity. The Pakistani advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also stated that the government would continue bringing up the issues in all forums. According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the United States’ drone strikes in Pakistan have killed up to 3,549 people since 2004. Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures show that Pakistani civilians are often the victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks. The slaughter of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, in US drone strikes has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, and Pakistani officials have complained to the US administration on numerous occasions. In September 2012, a report by the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law gave an alarming account of the effect that assassination drone strikes have on ordinary people in Pakistan’s tribal areas. “The number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low -- estimated at just 2%,” the report noted. NT/MHB