Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 28 told
the Lahore High Court (LHC) that the main focus
of United States (US) drone attacks was on targeting
terrorists in Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA), however, these strikes were in violation
of country’s sovereignty, reports Dawn. In
a written reply submitted in connection with a petition
filed by Jama’at-ud-Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Muhammad
Saeed against US drones attacks on Pakistani soil
to Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the Ministry
said the Pakistan Government had been consistent
in registering its strong protest with the US on
collateral damage and violation of sovereignty.
It said the quarters concerned and the Parliament
had also been denouncing these attacks which were
also conveyed to the US Government. In his petition
the JuD chief had submitted that the Federal Government
be directed to make public information about all
matters of public importance, especially the secret
‘deals’ with US in implementation of article 19-A
of the Constitution which entitles every citizen
of Pakistan to have access to all information.
Ministry further stated that the US started to opt
for drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan essentially
from 2008 onwards. However, the frequency of the
attacks increased in 2009 as 37 strikes were made
in that year and 115 in 2010 when the US administration
decided to dismantle safe havens of terrorists on
the border areas, it said and added that so far
more than 200 drone strikes had taken place.
Ministry also clarified that it had neither any
record nor was privy to any agreement with the US
Government for carrying out drone attacks. It said
the Pakistan Government would continue to underscore
with the US side about the futility of these attacks
that were enhancing anti-Americanism and affecting
the bilateral relations.
the end of the reply, the Ministry requested the
court to dismiss the petition filed by JuD being
not maintainable. It said the petitioner approached
the LHC under article 199 of the Constitution which
allowed only an aggrieved person to file a petition.
The Public Interest Litigation fell within the purview
of article 184(3) of the Constitution which was
the jurisdiction of Supreme Court.