Drone attack orphaned whole village, says Waziristan resident

Published: December 22, 2011
Noor Khan, left, and his lawyer Shahzad Akbar address a press conference.  PHOTO: EXPRESS

Noor Khan, left, and his lawyer Shahzad Akbar address a press conference. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: Noor Khan, a resident of North Waziristan, is determined not to let the killing of his father in a US drone strike go unquestioned.

Lawyer Shahzad Akbar, acting on behalf of Noor Khan, has sent a legal notice to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, to question the role of Britain in providing intelligence to the CIA-backed drone campaign.

Khan’s father was killed in March this year in what was said to be the deadliest US drone strike since 2006.  The attack killed 50 people, including five members of the local police, and a child.

In the legal notice made public on Wednesday, Noor Khan questions the UK’s use of telephonic or other electronic interception to provide “information to the United States which may have been used in drone strikes in the Pakistani border region.”

Addressing his first press conference at the Peshawar Press Club alongside members of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, an NGO supporting drone attack victims and their families, Khan said a petition against US drone strikes had been filed at the Peshawar High Court.

Akbar said it was on record that the British government endorsed the CIA campaign in Pakistan. “If they gave intelligence about British nationals killed in a drone strike in Waziristan, it means information was exchanged,” he said.

The legal notice cites media reports that there have been around 309 drone strikes in Pakistan since June 2004, resulting in 2,337 – 2,997 reported deaths.

“My father was at a jirga to settle a dispute of a chromite mine. The problem was almost resolved, but during this time there was a drone attack and he was killed. Our whole village was orphaned because all the elders were killed,” Noor Khan told The Express Tribune.

The legal notice states that the practice by UK to share intelligence to the US has contributed to the death of Noor Khan’s father and several other members of his community.  The UK is contributing to the risk that our client continues to face from US drones in his area, it said.

British law firm Leigh Day & Co, in collaboration with British legal charity Reprieve, is handling the case in Britain.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has been asked to submit his reply by January 12.  “If the foreign office fails to reply then the case will be taken to court,” said Shahzad Akbar.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • muhammad sarfraz
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:18AM

    what about the thousands orphaned in suicide bomb attacks?


  • faraz
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:02AM

    That March drone strike over a Jirga was deliberate


  • Ghaznavi
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:44AM

    Drone attacks are illegal, unethical and immoral. And its is counter productive in controlling militancy and terrorism.


  • sam
    Dec 22, 2011 - 12:57PM

    Drones attacks are producing terrorists. They are carried out with the feelings of great hatred and revenge.Home,Schools,Jirgas have been targeted and hundreds of civilians has lost lives.


  • Muzammil Hussain
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:11PM

    @Muhammad Sarfraz: What about them?Recommend

  • AsliShasli
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:57PM

    The great injustice with the people of Pakistan by the nonchalant elite (Generals, Politicians and Feudal).


  • Furqan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:06PM

    @muhammad sarfraz:
    same question to u, wat about all the thousands orphaned by the strikes by US????


  • MarkH
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:31PM

    The very moment they turn over the exact location of militants they’re aware of I’ll start to care. A denial of having any crucial information being in that area would be a complete lie also.


  • Crazy
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:33PM

    @MarkH – Americans are experts of witch hunts!


  • Truth
    Dec 22, 2011 - 6:27PM

    @muhammad sarfraz, so you are giving permission that your house can be attacked by a drone if a suicide bomber lives near your house ?


  • Omair Shakil
    Dec 22, 2011 - 9:24PM

    All power to those who refuse to go down without a fight.


  • Ali S
    Dec 22, 2011 - 9:25PM

    @muhammad sarfraz:
    All the liberals who always respond to uproar over drone attacks with “What about the suicide bombers?” need to take a good look at themselves – is that really your way of being “moderate”, “humanist” and “rational”? We’re talking about people losing families here – does it matter if it’s because of a drone, a nutjob with a suicide vest or even an ordinary bandit?

    All you’re concerned with is pinning the blame on the ‘right person’, now just put yourself in the shoes of these people for a minute and have some decency. Don’t get me wrong I hate terrorists like any rational person, but please show some respect to the innocent who lose their loved ones in this mess. They’re actual people with families, not just a statistic.


  • Dec 22, 2011 - 9:29PM

    Attack, in any form or against anyone, does not bring any laurels. We badly need to cleanse our society and country of all the weapons, and the terrorists. We should not have any Lashkars and Sipahs amongst us. We must not provide an excuse for anyone to come and bomb us. Only then we can resolve all our issues. Peace would bring lots of good things with it. Tourism, business, cricket, better economy, more jobs, ….


  • Rational
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:40PM

    @muhammad Sarfaraz, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, never heard this one before? Hate will never reap the conclusion that we all need, intolerance like yours is what holds the world back. You have to realize at some point, its humans on both sides and most of the people paying with their lives are the innocent one’s. It’s easy to bring up this ‘what about’ statement, but it wouldn’t be so easy if the loss were more personal. When you kill in return to avenge the death of someone else, you give license to generations being lost in mindless battle.


  • MarkH
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:29AM

    No, they’re experts at not being an underestimated doormat.


  • Khan
    Dec 23, 2011 - 6:21AM

    @muhammad sarfraz: Typical straw man argument. Just because you proved suicide attacks are wrong does not legitimize drone attacks. Question is, what is your argument for drone attacks?


  • Dec 23, 2011 - 9:32AM

    Americans want to destroy the family system and structures in Pakistan. By claiming to go after Taliban and Al-Qaeda they also tend to kill children and elders. That has been the case with US army in Iraq and Vietnam and other places where US has fought wars. But, of course, they deny any wrong doing.


    Dec 23, 2011 - 3:59PM

    the truth is our army support drones and whoever dies in these are the bad guys supported by Raw ,Mos-sad and CIA and if any innocent dies is giving a sacrifice for Pakistan.This is the thinking of our forces i.e Army and ISI.and we civilians are nothing in Pakistan’s security paradigm.it is only armywalas who if die is bad and we protest seriously.this is our pakistan


  • antanu
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:27PM

    @muhammad sarfraz:
    One wrong can not be justified with another.


  • antanu
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:31PM

    Mark H…Please go and read US law…it clearly says…”THERE SHOULD NOT BE LOST OF AN INNOCENT LIFE EVEN IF THOUSANDS SINNERS ARE SPARED” ..does this point is only for law books are in practice also…think over it. To kill Saddam US killed a million people in Iraq….and still has the guts to call itself a keeper of human race.Its disgusting.


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