ISLAMABAD - Strongly rejecting that Islamabad and Washington had a tacit understating on drone attacks in Pakistan, Foreign Office spokesperson Thursday said preparations are underway to take up the issue in the UN General Assembly session beginning later this month.
“We are doing our homework to raise the US drone strikes issue at the United Nations as per the recommendations of the All Parties Conference (APC) hosted by the government,” Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told the weekly press briefing.
The spokesperson said that necessary directives have been issued to our missions in New York and Geneva, as he categorically rejected notions that Pakistan and the US had any agreement about it. He said Pakistan has a clear policy on drone attacks that these are counterproductive and violation of its territorial sovereignty.
The spokesman said the drone attacks are violation of international laws and Pakistan has been raising its concerns with the United States at all levels in this regard. He said the international community has also supported Pakistan’s stance on drone attacks.
On Islamabad’s decision to release Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, he said government has taken the decision in principle to release him at an appropriate time to help facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He said main purpose to release Taliban detainees is to join the mainstream reconciliation process, adding, “Pakistan believes that the Afghan reconciliation process will succeed only if all stakeholders are able to participate in it”.
He said Pakistan, Afghanistan and US authorities were in touch on the release of Taliban detainees, adding that so far 33 Taliban detainees have been released to help Afghan reconciliation process. To a question, the spokesman said Pakistan would not interfere in internal affairs of Afghanistan and extend all out support and assistance for the success of reconciliation process. He said, “We support a political solution that is Afghan owned and Afghan led and ready to extend full support for it”.
On Pakistan-India relations, he said Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz would discuss bilateral relations with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Kyrgyzstan beginning on Friday.
About the proposed meeting between PM Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New York later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, the spokesperson said both the governments were working out the dates. He was of the view that the meeting would provide an excellent opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interests.
About Nawaz Sharif’s three-day visit to Turkey, the spokesperson said during his stay, the prime minister would hold talks with the Turkish president and prime minister on promoting relations in various fields. On situation in Syria, he said Pakistan calls for political process in finding solution to the problem, adding that any action against Syria should be in accordance with the UN charter and principles.
He said Pakistan is also distressed over the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and maintained that any party under any circumstances should not use these weapons. “Our embassy in Syria is fully functional and has prepared a contingency plan to evacuate Pakistanis in case of any attack or deterioration of situation”, he added.
APP adds: On Wednesday, Ambassador Zamir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, said Pakistan had suffered heavy loss of lives of innocent civilians apart from widespread social and economic costs due to the drone strikes.
While addressing the opening session of the 24th Human Rights Council, he said that in recent years, there had been severe human rights violations across the globe, as a result of indiscriminate use of force in the context of counter-terrorism efforts such as illegal detentions, renditions, and extrajudicial killings including through use of drone attacks, said a press release.
He added that these attacks cause collateral damage and violate international laws including humanitarian and human rights laws apart from violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He also said that drone attacks were counterproductive in the campaign against terrorism. He also referred to the United Nations Secretary General’s statement that the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing rules of international law, including international humanitarian law.