Reacting strongly to Thursday’s predator attack in North Waziristan Agency, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani claimed that civilians were killed in the attack.
Without giving any number of casualties, the army chief said the attack was in violation of human rights and was “unjustified and intolerable under any circumstances.”
“Such acts of violence take us away from our objective of elimination of terrorism. It is imperative to understand that this critical objective can not be sacrificed for temporary tactical gains. Security of people of Pakistan, in any case, stands above all,” an ISPR statement quoted the army chief as saying. In his strongly-worded statement, the army chief said it is highly regrettable that a jirga of peaceful citizens including elders of the area was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard for human life.
He said that the Pakistan Army condoles with the families whose dear and near ones have been martyred in the attack. Troops on the ground have been ordered to render all possible assistance to the bereaved families, he added.
“The Pakistan Army has already launched a protest in the strongest possible terms.” he added.
Earlier this month, a senior military commander told journalists in Miramshah that the majority of those killed in the predator strikes were militants. The military said that at least 164 drone attacks have been carried out during the past four years, which have killed around 1,000 people of which 793 were locals and 171 foreigners.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani also strongly condemned the attack in Datta Khel, North Waziristan Agency and said it will only strengthen the hands of radical and extremist elements.
A statement issued late Thursday night said that, “He reiterated that such irrational behaviour negatively impact the efforts to separate the militants from the peaceful and patriotic tribesmen of the areas.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2011.