FO claims vindication after UN resolution on drones

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday claimed moral victory in the adoption of the UN resolution that calls for making drone operations compliant with the international law. “UN General Assembly resolutions do not have enforcement mechanism. The only body which can enforce its decisions is the UN Security Council and that also only for decisions adopted under Chapter VII,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said at the weekly media briefing. She was speaking about the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that urged the member states to ensure that counter-terrorism measures, including the use of drones, complied with their obligations under the international law.

The adoption of the resolution was hailed by the government as a major success since it carried for the first time a reference to the controversial US drone war.

“This resolution is a big step forward because it reflects the international public opinion and their views on the legitimacy and use of drone strikes,” Ms Aslam said.

Pakistan has consistently opposed the use of drones by US for attacking militant targets in tribal areas on the pretext that they violated the country’s sovereignty and the international and humanitarian law.

Lately, international human rights organisations have also condemned the use of drones for allegedly causing collateral damage.

“Our message is now becoming louder and clearer,” the spokesperson said.

Emboldened by the moral victory at the UNGA, the Pakistan government intends to table a similar resolution in the UN Human Rights Council.

DGMOs MEETING: Ms Aslam said Pakistan had desired inclusion of diplomats at the meeting of directors general of military operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan to make the forum more broad-based. The proposal could not materialise due to Indian opposition, but the spokesperson says it remains on the table and has not been withdrawn.

The DGMOs are meeting on Tuesday (Dec 24) for discussions on the situation on the Line of Control, which she said was currently “under control”.

The DGMOs have been conversing over telephone and their interaction helped lower tensions on the LoC that witnessed intense skirmishes this year.

“There was agreement between the two countries that we need to meet at this level to sort out the issues taking place on the LoC,” she said referring to the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA where the two prime ministers had agreed to a meeting of the DGMOs.

US CONGRESS: Speaking about the bill in the US Congress on ‘defence authorisation for 2014’ that could affect payments to Pakistan, Ms Aslam said Pakistan was opposed to “extraneous conditions”.

She recalled Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and said that “we do not expect to be judged by any one”.

BANGLADESH: Defending National Assembly’s resolution on Bangladesh, the spokesperson said it did not intend to interfere in internal affairs of that country, rather it reflected the sentiments of the people.

“What is happening in Bangladesh is essentially its internal matter. By passing a resolution, our Parliament did not mean to interfere in the internal affairs of another country,” she said.

However, she added, the Pakistan government expected of Bangladesh to respect the 1974 Tripartite Agreement between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh “where it was agreed that we would let bygones be bygones and focus on a better future for peace and stability of the region”.

“We call upon the brotherly and friendly country of Bangladesh to adopt the spirit of reconciliation and cordiality in keeping with the tripartite agreement of 1974. We wish the people of Bangladesh peace, stability and progress.”

IRAQ: The spokesperson, while clarifying the reported deaths of Pakistani pilgrims in Iraq in terrorist attacks, said that no Pakistan national was killed in Iraq.

“The Iraqi authorities and our people from the Embassy who went to Samarra have also confirmed that no Pakistani has been killed or injured,” she said.