A petition filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday sought the court’s direction to the federal government to stop drone attacks by the United States in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The petitioner, Mado Jan, filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the federation a respondent through the ministries of interior, foreign affairs, defence and information. The petitioner also made the United States Ambassador/Charge d’ affairs a respondent in the case.
The petitioner stated that according to a report by political authorities of the North Waziristan Agency, 896 Pakistani civilians in the region had been killed during the last five years up till December 2012, and 209 had been seriously injured, while 47 foreigners were killed and six injured in the strikes.
The petition further stated that according to the report, 70 drone strikes had been carried out in South Waziristan during the last five years till June 2012, in which 553 local civilians had been killed and 126 injured.
The petitioner mentioned that the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had passed resolutions against drone strikes, but the respondents had not taken any steps to curb the attacks.
He also complained that no TV channel or known journalist had shown interest in visiting the attacked sites in order to cover the devastation caused by drone attacks.
The petitioner claimed that drone attacks – with or without the consent of the respondents – were a violation of Article 245 of the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the armed forces can be called either to defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war or to act in aid of civil power.
Jan said that Pakistan’s armed forces are fully prepared for national defence and supported his stance by quoting Brig (retd) Masood’s statement that Pakistan had the capability of striking down drones, but that the government did not want to jeopardise its relations with the USA.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2013.