UNITED NATIONS: Voicing concern over the deteriorating state of global security, Pakistan called for evolving international norms to govern the use of armed drones and other new weapon systems strictly according to the UN Charter, international human rights and humanitarian law.
“Technology must follow the law and not the other way around,” said Ambassador Zamir Akram – Pakistani delegate to General Assembly’s First Committee — one of six main committees at the General Assembly of the United Nations which deals with matters concerning world peace. The First Committee specifically deals with disarmament and other matters of international security.
“Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) that can choose and fire on pre-programmed targets on their own without any human intervention pose a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and the notion of affixation of responsibility and transparency,” he stressed.
Akram, who is Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN’s European offices in Geneva, said the use of this weapon in the territory of another state outside the zone of conflict was contrary to international law. “It challenges the security and sovereignty of a state, as it involves indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians including women and children,” he said.
The ambassador further said that global security environment increasingly deteriorated since the end of the cold war as a just and secure world order continued to elude us. “Part of a zero-sum game, security for all states was being trumped by narrow selfish interests,” he argued.
“The ambition for world domination and hegemony has undermined accommodation and engagement as the basis of a rules-based cooperative multi-polar world; absolute security for one state or a group of states cannot come at the cost of diminished security for others.,” he said, adding that the trend had ‘severely damaged’ the international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
The Pakistani delegate said the aspirations for a world free of nuclear weapons do not match practical action on the ground. “We continue to observe the application of double standards, exceptionalism and revisionism based on narrow security, political and commercial considerations,” he said.
At the same time, he said, new weapons systems were being developed, including anti-ballistic missiles, non-nuclear strategic weapon systems, armed drones and LAWS.
Akram said nuclear-weapon states must demonstrate renewed commitment in achieving nuclear disarmament within a reasonable timeframe. “Without that commitment, the bargain of the non-proliferation regime would continue to erode,” he added.