While hearing a writ petition on drone strikes on Wednesday, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) questioned whether Pakistan has made an agreement with the United States allowing the attacks to continue.
The petitioner, FM Sabir, a lawyer by profession, filed a writ petition at the PHC challenging the drone strikes. Sabir claims the US air strikes are illegal and unjustified and were killing innocent people, including women and children, in North and South Waziristan.
“If the government has reached an agreement with the US over drone attacks, it should be brought to the notice of the people of Pakistan,” Sabir pleaded to the divisional bench headed by Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan.
“Has any agreement been signed? If yes, what is the expiry date for the agreement?” the chief justice questioned, adding that if the president, prime minister, head of armed forces and ministers are all opposed to drone attacks, what was the reason behind them not being suspended?
Deputy Attorney General Iqbal Mohmand also seemed supportive of the petition and was quoted as saying, “we are also against drone strikes as innocent people are being killed.”
He added that the Ministry of Defence has sought time to collect information by contacting the joint staff headquarters regarding any agreement that may have been signed with respect to drone attacks. The Ministry of Interior has also sought time from the court.
Moazzam Butt, counsel for one of the respondents former president Pervez Musharraf, informed the court if any agreement has been signed on the drone strikes, it should be made public. Butt added that according to article 19(A) of the Constitution, every citizen has the right to information in all matters of public importance.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.