Over 400 civilians have died in US drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan in last nine years.
Islamabad, Aug 27/Nationalturk – Pakistan government has revealed that over 400 civilians have died in US drone strikes in the tribal areas of country since 2004.
“339 US drone attacks in country’s tribal areas have been recorded since 2004,” Pakistan’s Minister of State for Privatization Khurram Dastagir Khan informed Pakistan parliament (National Assembly).
Quoting findings of a number of unofficial organizations, which followed America’s policy to use drones worldwide, he said over 400 civilians had died in the tribal region of the country as a result of the US drone attacks.
He, however, did not mention about number of militants killed during these drone strikes.
No written agreement between US and Pakistan on drone strikes
Khan said there was no written agreement between Pakistan and United States over drone strikes in tribal areas of the country.
“The government hadn’t found any written agreement between Pakistan and US on the use of drones,” he said.
He, however, said it could be assumed that the previous two governments led by PML-Q and PPP had silently agreed to US drone strikes. “As such they never forcefully raised the issue”.
When asked by a lawmaker that if there was no such agreement, then why government was not taking adequate measures to stop US drone strikes, Khan said, “Pakistan and the US have a broad-based relationship and considering its importance, the Nawaz Sharif government is trying to resolve the issue of drone attacks amicably”.
In his June 5 speech to National Assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said that drone attacks must end.
‘Considerable reduction in drone strikes’
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had raised the issue (drone strikes) with US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Pakistan. As a result there is a considerable reduction in drone strikes. The government is also making efforts to immediately stop these attacks,” Khan said.
He said Pakistan regards the use of drone strikes as counter-productive in achieving the shared goal of counterterrorism. “These strikes also create anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The Pakistan government is making all efforts to immediately stop these attacks,” added the minister.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has lodged strong protests with US government over the recent drone strikes.
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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk Pakistan News