Pakistani authorities say CIA drone strikes have killed 896 civilians; high court accuses U.S. of war crimes

The Times of India reports: A Pakistani high court on Thursday declared the US drone strikes in the country’s tribal regions illegal and directed the government to use force to “protect the right to life” of its citizens. Stating that the United States strikes must be declared war crime as these kill innocent people, it also called the government to move a UN resolution against such attacks.

The high court in Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar announced the verdict against the CIA-driven drone strikes on four writ petitions, stating that these attacks kill innocent civilians and cause collateral damage. Time and again, Washington has said that drone attacks target al-Qaida and Taliban safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal areas, from where they carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

According to a report submitted by political authorities of North Waziristan Agency, 896 Pakistani civilians living there were killed in the last five years until December 2012 while 209 were seriously injured. “In these drone attacks only 47 foreigners were killed and six injured. Many houses and vehicles and cattle heads worth millions of dollars were destroyed in these attacks. Similarly, in South Waziristan Agency, 70 drone strikes were carried out in the last five years until June 2012 in which 553 people were killed and 126 injured,” the report said.

“In view of the established facts, undeniable in nature, under the UN Charter & Conventions, the people of Pakistan have every right to ask the security forces either to prevent such strikes by force or to shoot down intruding drones,” the court verdict said.

“The government of Pakistan must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future,” it added and also asked the ministry of foreign affairs to table a resolution in the UN against the US attacks.

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