Senate extends work ambit of committee probing Mansour’s death in US strike
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Thursday extended the work ambit of the joint committee constituted last week to probe the US drone strike inside Pakistani territory — which had targeted Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, as PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan will raise the matter at the International Human Rights Council and other forums.
The joint committee, which comprises members of Senate’s standing committees on defence and foreign affairs, will now also look into the situation arising after the drone strike in Balochistan and submit its finding as and when required in the Senate session.
This amendment was made by Senate chairman following the motion submitted by Senators Farhatullah Babar, Sheher Bano, Sherry Rehman, Gianchand, Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Nehal Hashmi, Sirajul Haq, Mohammad Azam Khan Swati and Muhammad Javed Abbasi.
The legislators initiated discussion on the situation arising out of the drone strike on May 22, in Balochistan, which resulted in the killing of Mullah Mansour.
The committee, jointly chaired by the heads of both the Senate committees, was constituted after Senate discussed a motion regarding US Senate’s decision on blocking the F-16 deal with Pakistan.
Senators while discussing the killing of Mullah Mansour argued that there is disconnect between Pakistan’s narrative before the drone strike and after the drone strike.
They asked the foreign affairs adviser about the policy of Foreign Office to work on Pakistan’s increasing isolation in the world.
The adviser was also asked to brief the house about the impact of this strike on the Afghan Taliban peace process and about Pakistan’s policy on drone strikes.
The premier’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz gave a policy statement in the Senate at the end of the debate.
He said the government did not receive any information about the drone strike before the incident.
“A detailed inquiry has been initiated by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar about how Mullah Mansour managed to get a National Identity Card,” Aziz added.
He told the Senate that Foreign Office had summoned the US ambassador and lodged protest on the matter. “Pakistan is in constant contact with the Afghan government and will continue its efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.
Aziz also said that Pakistan will strongly raise the issue of US drone strike at the international human rights council later this month.
“We have prepared a detailed briefing and documents to present before the council on the issue which has caused immense collateral damage and loss of innocent lives,” he said, adding that Pakistan hoped this will have some positive outcomes.
He said the drone attacks are a serious violation of our sovereignty and are against the international, political and humanitarian laws. He said the present government has seriously taken up this issue with the United States. This is the reason that these attacks decreased to 11 last year and three so far this year. He pointed out that the US carried out around 400 drone strikes on Pakistani territory in the last ten years.
Aziz said the recent drone strike in Balochistan has added to the complexity and has undermined the Afghan peace process. He said this is the second time that the talks have been sabotaged.