The Peshawar High Court (PHC) issued a final warning to the federal government and defence forces to clarify the status of drone attacks in the country.
On Wednesday, the court asked the federal government to submit the resolution of the parliament against drone strikes, minutes of the meeting held by defence committee members and the record of protests held at the US embassy in Islamabad condoning the use of drones.
A PHC division bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Syed Sajjad Hassan Shah said the government must show relevant documents and provide accurate information.
Furthermore, the court asked the government to conduct a survey to record the number of killings and collateral damage inflicted by the drone strikes.
The court was hearing a petition filed by FM Sabir Advocate and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR) against drone strikes.
Counsels were asked to study international laws and inform which states were signatories to them, particularly regarding the limitations on invading territories of another country without explicit permission. The bench also asked the counsels to assist the court to find out how much liability could be appropriated to those conducting the attacks.
CJ Khan expressed deep concern over the attitude of the federal government for not replying to court requests in previous hearings of the case. During the last hearing, the government had also been asked why it had not given practical shape to the resolution passed against the use of drones.
Deputy Attorney General Iqbal Mohmand was asked why the government had not been responding to the court’s requests. Mohmand replied that the he had spoken to government representatives and they will submit their replies soon.
The FFR’s counsel, Shahzad Akbar, also informed the bench that the information requested about the number of lives lost and damage incurred by drone strikes was available with the political administrations of North and South Waziristan. “The respondents have been given one final opportunity to conduct the survey,” CJ Khan said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2012.
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