ISLAMABAD - The federal government directed the Foreign Office Tuesday to identify the most appropriate forum for taking the issue of US drone strikes in Pakistan to the United Nations and to also suggest a course of action ahead of the UN General Assembly session later this month.
The federal government’s direction is intended to meet the call made at the All Parties Conference (APC) convened here on Monday to address the grave internal security challenges.
Noting: “We are unanimous that the use of drones is not only a continued violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve and efforts of eliminating extremism and terrorism from our country,” the APC in its resolution declared: “The federal government should consider the possibility of taking the issue to the United Nations as drone attacks are a violation of international law.”
The Foreign Office is actively considering various options in this regard and weighing out the pros and cons. “The effort is to opt for a UN forum where this issue would be most effectively raised and without undermining Pakistan’s position in any way,” a diplomatic source said.
At the world body there are three forums where this matter can be raised: the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council in New York and the Human Rights Council at the UN mission in Geneva.
“We have noted the guidance from our political leadership and Pakistan will raise the matter at the most appropriate forum of the United Nations,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed told The Nation on Tuesday.
Ahmed, who also heads the UN Division at the Foreign Office, said in response to a question about the Foreign Office view on the most suitable forum: “Currently the Foreign Office is studying this matter very carefully and in close consultation with its UN missions in New York and Geneva.”
Notably on August 30, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz told the National Assembly in a policy statement that “there will be more headway in the coming days in getting these (drone) attacks stopped immediately.”
His optimism was based on the fact that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a number of UN member states endorsed Pakistan’s view that drone strikes were counter-productive and a violation of its sovereignty and international laws. He stated Pakistan would formally lodge its protest on the drones at the UN General Assembly.
Earlier, Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs, also said in an interview to this newspaper that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would raise this matter in his expected meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UNGA session in New York this month.
PM’s clear message to US secretary of State John Kerry during his visit here was also that drone strikes were unacceptable and have got to stop.