Petition asking for halt on US drone strikes in Pakistan dismissed by SC


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday upheld an earlier verdict of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) and dismissed a petition filed to halt US drone strikes in Pakistani territory.

The petition was dismissed by a three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, which stated that such issues are overseen by the government.

“Innocent people are killed in the drone strikes,” said the petitioner’s lawyer to which the chief justice said that the drone strikes have now stopped.

The last suspected US drone strike in Pakistan occurred in December 2017 along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The apex court further added that the Ministry of Defence and the government can approach the US on the issue as the court can not ask the US to halt such attacks.

The PHC had earlier forwarded the issue to the Defence Ministry.

A petition had been filed in the SC by Raja Saad Sultan challenging the decision of the PHC for stopping of US-led drone strikes.

A diplomatic row broke out between Islamabad and Washington last year in January, over the a US drone strike in Kurram Agency with both sides publicly rejecting each other’s claims on the actual target.

Reports claimed that the drone targeted a commander from the Haqqani network and his two accomplices in the Kurram Agency. But Pakistan was quick to challenge the reports, insisting that the predator strike actually hit the Afghan refugee camp.

In an unusual move, the US embassy issued a statement, calling Pakistan’s assertion as ‘false’.

That prompted Pakistan to issue a second rebuttal in as many days but this time it came from the army, that gave more insight into the drone strike.