High cost of technology: Pakistan condemns North Waziristan drone strike

Published: December 26, 2013
File photo of a drone. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

File photo of a drone. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Condemning Wednesday’s drone strike in North Waziristan, the foreign office on Thursday said that the cost of using drone technology and the fundamentally flawed method under which it operated was not justified, and that Pakistan will now table a resolution in the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a formal statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the subsequent weekly briefing, the Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said that there was an across the board consensus within Pakistan, there was a fast building international consensus  against drone strikes, even in the case when the strike is on a high value target.

“Generally the concept is that any technology is not worthy of use if in the process of killing five militants kills one innocent human being. That is the cost of the technology,” Aslam said in the briefing.

The statement, repeated during the briefing, read that “drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications. Such strikes also set dangerous precedents in the inter-state relations.”

Asked if a high value target was killed in the attack, as others have this year including the assassination of TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud and a senior Haqqani Network leader, Aslam said that importance of the target does not justify using a flawed method. “Using a method which is fundamentally flawed and illegal even for a positive purpose cannot be justified. Therefore, this is not our policy that if some high value target is killed, we would show leniency against such attacks.”

Having secured international support against drone strikes in a resolution approved in the United Nations General Assembly just days before Wedensday’s strike, Aslam was asked what next could Pakistan do?

“Well , we have repeatedly said that our next step will be tabling a resolution at the Human Rights Council forum in Geneva.”

Ties with US after Afghan exit

Asked about the prospective relationship with the US once interests in Afghanistan end after the 2014 exit, Alsam said that the two War on Terror allies have built up a relationship more than just Afghanistan, which will continue beyond 2014.

“We have bilateral collaboration in economic, energy and other sectors. As discussed last week, there are big energy projects which are on the table for discussion. We have defense collaboration, training programs and exchange of students with the US,” she explained.

“In Afghanistan, we don’t know as yet what would be the shape of US presence and what kind of collaboration Pakistan –US would have. It depends upon the events in Afghanistan and what kind of presence US would have after 2014.”

Positive signs with India

With the Director Generals of Military Operations from Pakistan and India having a face to face meeting earlier this week, Aslam noted that this was a positive step forward.

“They [DGMOs] agreed on the need to maintain peace and tranquility on the Line of Control (LoC) and to stay in touch with each other so that incidents and situations are not allowed to blow up and they are controlled at the local level.”

Asked whether there had been an agreement for joint patrols along the LoC, Aslam neither denied nor confirmed this. “Pakistan and India agreed on a mechanism for travel between the two parts of Kashmir. There are crossing points and the bus service .We do not consider movement of Kashmiris as illegal. But there are smugglers and drug traffickers.”

“Trans-national crimes is an issue and states have to work together to stop that.”

She also welcomed the statement by Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid which pointed to dialogue as the only way forward.

“It has been our policy all along and this policy has been backed by practical steps by the successive governments in Pakistan that dialogue is the only way forward to resolve the outstanding issues between our two countries. We believe that dialogue and resolution of issues is the only way to create durable peace in this region.”

Kishenganga arbitration

On the Permanent Court of Arbitration award on the Kishenganga hydro electric project, the FO spokesperson distanced herself from the statement of the Minister of Water and Power to claim victory.

“I think it is not the question of claiming victory. I would not say that it was victory for Pakistan or India.”

The spokesperson said that a verdict has been given and that now efforts were needed for its effective implementation.

“We have to now implement it in letter and spirit. In seven years we will see how things work out. I won’t subscribe to this attitude of claiming victory or loss on every issue.”

Prisoners in Indian jails

Asked about Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, Aslam explained that some prisoners were sentenced on one charge and made to serve the sentence and when that sentence was near completion, the sentence of a different charge starts.

“I know that many Pakistani prisoners are in India who after the completion of sentence in their primary cases are again put in jail and served separate sentences on other grounds.”

She explained that normally sentences are served simultaneously, but in the case of Pakistani prisoners, “after completion of one term, they are again sentenced.”

“That’s why people are languishing in Indian jails for long times. This is a humanitarian issue on both sides because nobody should be punished for a crime longer than what he deserves.”

Aslam explained that the bilateral commission regularly discusses this issue. “We are trying to resolve it.”

New power plant

The spokesperson defended the joint Pakistan-China nuclear power plant in Karachi, explaining that cooperation is exclusively for peaceful purposes and is fully covered under IAEA safeguards.

“The cooperation between Pakistan and China in civilian nuclear programs helps Pakistan in overcoming shortages of electricity and it serves the interest of the Pakistan as you are aware that nuclear energy is a part of our energy mix.”

Aslam further explained that Pakistan has 40 years of experience in maintaining and safeguarding civilian nuclear power plants. “They have been operated with safety and security. Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), an autonomous regulatory body regulates the safety and security of civilian nuclear materials and facilities. It works closely with IAEA and benefits from the recommendations and guidance it receives from the agency.”

The spokesperson pointed out that Pakistan was party to the convention on nuclear safety as well as the two international conventions of early notification and assistance. “We realise that the expansion of nuclear power calls for a higher level of responsibility. We are cognisant of our responsibilities and are fully committed to ensuring safety and security of these power plants that we acquire for nuclear energy. We fully abide by the safeguards of IAEA.”

She alleged that the media campaign against the nuclear plant was being “spearheaded by those who are themselves responsible for spreading nuclear technology outside the NPT and IAEA mandates.”

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Logic Denied
    Dec 26, 2013 - 4:45PM

    If the victims were not locals and were infact militants, why in the whole world would you condemn the attack? They are doing YOUR job for you! They are cleaning the mess up. You should be thankful rather than complain about it.


  • Asif
    Dec 26, 2013 - 4:55PM

    hahaha what happened to the UN resolution making these drone strikes illegal? Tell you, US doesn’t care what the UN does, they are in their pocket!!

    Now someone should tell that to Pakistan government.


  • Dec 26, 2013 - 4:57PM

    I wonder whether they have a mail merge setup for these condemnations? You only need to manually change a few things like the location of the strike and then click a button to have the computer do the rest. They could even hire a human drone to do this grunt work.


  • Hyder Ali
    Dec 26, 2013 - 5:02PM

    Is our army complicit in these killings? Nations wants an answer from them.


  • Crazy Canuck
    Dec 26, 2013 - 5:05PM

    Thank you America. We would’ve settled for a lump of coal instead. Merry Christmas American style!


  • farooq
    Dec 26, 2013 - 5:17PM

    Hahahaha. What is condem I think its mean go ahead.Recommend

  • Salman Hussain
    Dec 26, 2013 - 5:28PM

    and what about PTI sit-in ??? US won’t be pressurized they should try another thing to stopping drone instead of sit-in.


  • Zif
    Dec 26, 2013 - 6:30PM

    These strikes will continue unless we do something ourselves about these terrorists. Simple and clear but not to some people who are their “hamdard”.


  • Raju
    Dec 26, 2013 - 6:40PM

    I think this is the 1000th condemnation statement from pakistan


  • Aftab
    Dec 26, 2013 - 6:42PM

    Well done, US. You are doing the job of Pakistan Government / Army by killing the terrorists on our land. Please keep pouring this rain.


  • Meheryar Khan
    Dec 26, 2013 - 6:48PM


    Perhaps you should acquaint yourself a little better with the functions of the United Nations General Assembly.

    The UNGA Resolution condemned drone strikes and was voted upon by the comity of world nations. It’s essentially a statement of the various countries of the world and has no legal binding.

    So it didn’t ‘make’ anything ‘illegal’.


  • objective observer
    Dec 26, 2013 - 6:52PM

    These brutes tried to attack the American Embassy in Kabul. The U.S. doesn’t play with its embassies. They consider it an act of war that requires immediate response.. You’re lucky they didn’t send fighter jets.


  • Dhaka
    Dec 26, 2013 - 6:58PM

    Pakistan nuclear power is actually a bogus.Neither there military not powerful as it claims, capable to shoot drones.We are catching up very fast against pakistan in all fronts including military.By 2020, we are much more powerful than pakistan.


  • Mirza
    Dec 26, 2013 - 7:09PM

    The intensity of our reactioin is a direct indication that an imp asset has been killed. Any time an imp ally is killed we protest strongly based upon the importance of our dead ally.


  • Dr.A.K.Tewaric
    Dec 26, 2013 - 7:20PM

    UN security council has never condemned the drone strike against the international terrorism . And hence it will continue unabated . It is being used in Sudan, Afghanistan , Pakistan .
    India should also allow its strike against terrorism in Kashmir .


  • Dec 26, 2013 - 7:31PM

    Well done USA – The majority Pakistanis want you to continue drone strikes. Our government is impotent to control the terrorist activities. Please go ahead. May God bless you.


  • Super Star
    Dec 26, 2013 - 7:33PM

    He he ! It seems Pak Govt has an auto-condemn button ready! everytime this happens , press button and secretly laugh it off with ATTABOY uncle sam!


  • Mirza
    Dec 26, 2013 - 8:10PM

    We can continue talking about the UN General Assembly but how many army divisions are under the UN Gen Assembly to enforce any of its decisions?


  • Last Word
    Dec 26, 2013 - 8:18PM

    This drone strike is for Imran with love and more such showers of love are in the offing during coming months as Imran is the blue eyed boy of US.


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Dec 26, 2013 - 8:25PM

    It is just the height of hypocrisy, first it was prime minister Gilani and now Nawaz Sharif, they promise one thing to the Americans and tell lies to the citizens of Pakistan. I say people deserve what they send in to their Capitals, Pakistanis knew fully well the past history of both PPP and PM-N and yet they put them in Islamabad, they are corrupt to the core and amassed wealth abroad and don’t want to cross swords with the countries which could hurt their investments there and on top of it they lie to the nation that they don’t own any thing in London,Paris or New York, did NS declare his property in London and Saudi Arabia, his brother declared it way under current value of that property in London. You elected these crooks to represent you, so don’t complain if they sell out the country in the process. Americas are chuckling when Pakistanis declare this nonsense of statements in regard to drone attacks. The simple remedy is to blockade all the supply routes and you will see how the drone attacks will go away or even better yet , shoot them down and it will convey the message to Obama and at the same time tighten your belts and live with in your means. I wonder if ET will publish this comment because it is the truth.


  • Stranger
    Dec 26, 2013 - 8:34PM

    The DRONE – The new national bird of Pak.


  • Guru
    Dec 26, 2013 - 9:06PM

    Typical copy-paste condemnation !


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Dec 26, 2013 - 9:19PM

    Drone has be treated as migratory with due respect . Most of the Pakistani are habitual to kill the migratory birds as these birds are comming from habitat at Siberia where they don’t have any predater and do not have fear from approaching hunter and get cought easily ,in contrast to it the bird Drone knows the principle of tit for tat very well . BEAR THEM …..


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Dec 26, 2013 - 9:20PM

    Drone has be treated as migratory with due respect . Most of the Pakistani are habitual to kill the migratory birds as these birds are comming from habitat at Siberia where they don’t have any predater and do not have fear from approaching hunter and get cought easily ,in contrast to it the bird Drone knows the principle of tit for tat very well . BEAR THEM …..Recommend

  • Sandip
    Dec 26, 2013 - 9:28PM

    Where is the PTI and King Khan? Surprisingly quiet on this attack? Guess the realities of running an administration with its numerous challenges have finally sunk in. Good for the Party, the man and the country.Recommend

  • Bharat R
    Dec 26, 2013 - 9:30PM

    @ Stranger “The DRONE – The new national bird of Pak.”


    Good one. The Drone certainly enjoys National Bird like immunity from hunting with no attempt by anyone in Pakistan to molest it unlike the Houbara Bustard which various Arab Sheikhs have the right to hunt.Recommend

  • Sri Varahadev
    Dec 26, 2013 - 9:50PM

    The “Big Question” with regard to US drone strikes is why Pakistan’s civilians and in particular the media, are not demanding an explanation from Pakistan’s Military as to why they have exercised no physical military means to secure Pakistan’s borders from intruding US drones.

    Going to the UNHRC, serving diplomatic demarches, passing assembly resolutions, blockading US convoys, delivering rabble rousing speeches and whining to US officials is at best meaningless wasted effort until and unless physical means to prevent US drone attacks are carried out by Pakistan’s military.

    Surely this civilian silence is not born out of mortal fear of the Military despite the fact that Pakistan is not currently a Military Dictatorship?Recommend

  • Shakil Khan
    Dec 27, 2013 - 1:18AM

    Dur lanant at such condemnations thats not even worth the paper its written on. Pakistan Government whole hearted allow these drones, not a single flying metal object can enter Pakistan airspace without its own will!

    Who are you fooling? Pakistan government allow these drone and all required foot spies on the ground to mark GPS trackers for targets. Pakistan should come clean, all the Sharifs and Zardaris along with mighty Pakistan Military state the truth and stop insulting intelligence of people!


  • Dec 27, 2013 - 9:33AM

    @naeem khan Manhattan,Ks:
    Preach others is always easier task.
    For a change why dont you give a try.


  • polpot
    Dec 27, 2013 - 12:26PM

    Drones represnt a Big Victory for Pakistan
    Ask the Water & Power Minister he can transform any defeat into victory.


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