WASHINGTON, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - United States drone attacks are “a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” and are being conducted without the consent of Islamabad, the head of the United Nations team investigating casualties from American drone strikes in Pakistan, said in a statement on Friday.
Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, spent three days in Islamabad this week meeting with government officials, victims of drone strikes and tribal leaders from the remote North Waziristan area.
Emmerson said that during his visit, the Pakistani government told him US drone strikes on its territory are “counter-productive, contrary to international law, a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that they should cease immediately.”
Since taking office in 2009, US President Barack Obama has increased the number of drone attacks against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban targets in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border.
Washington has said the drone strikes are necessary as part of its war on terrorism. And according to the Associated Press, US officials have said that key Pakistani military officers and civilian politicians continue to consent to the drone strikes.
Emmerson said statistics compiled by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs show at least 330 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, resulting in at least 2,200 deaths, including 400 civilian deaths.
The UN launched an investigation into civilian casualties from drone strikes and other targeted killings in Pakistan and other countries in January, and is expected to report its findings later this year.
“Pakistan has also been quite clear that it considers the drone campaign to be counter-productive and to be radicalising a whole new generation, and thereby perpetuating the problem of terrorism in the region,” Emmerson said.