Pakistan urges UN experts to make stronger recommendations aimed at ending drone hits

UNITED NATIONS: Welcoming last week’s reports by two UN Special Rapporteurs on the use of armed drones in various parts of the world, Pakistan Wednesday urged the two experts to make “stronger and clearer” recommendation in their final report that would help enforce a more stringent, prohibitive regime against strikes from unmanned aircraft.

“It is quite clear that, like Pakistan, most member states view the use of armed drones a clear violation of sovereignty and a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law,” Ambassador Masood Khan told the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.

Speaking in a debate on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, he recalled that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his speech to the General Assembly last month, had called for the immediate cessation of the use of armed drones in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Masood Khan also said Pakistan was a State party to seven core international human rights instruments and had withdrawn a number of reservations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Convention against Torture.

Pakistan, he said, had a “deep and abiding” commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international levels.

“Our constitution devotes a full chapter to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of all civilians without discrimination,” he told delegates from around the world. “Our executive, Parliament, judiciary, civil society and the media stand guard over protection of these constitutional rights.”

The Pakistani ambassador called for creating and strengthening the necessary safeguards against new and contemporary manifestations of discrimination and xenophobia. Promotion of a culture of peace, as well as dialogue and cooperation between religions and civilizations, would help us achieve this objective, he said.

The ambassador also said, “Pakistan leads this Committee’s effort on the universal realization of peoples’ right to self-determination. We are grateful to member states for adopting this resolution by consensus year after year.”

He thanked the UN for providing technical assistance in holding the recent national elections in Pakistan.The newly elected government, he said, was committed to the consolidation of democratic institutions, protection of human rights, rule of law and good governance. It has launched a new framework for social change that focuses on education, health, women, youth, and minorities.

Pakistan, he said, had taken a number of legal, institutional and administrative initiatives for the advancement of women in the country. New legislation focuses on prevention of anti-women practices, acid crimes, domestic violence and sexual harassment.