Pakistan alleged to have endorsed US drone strikes

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Pakistan alleged to have endorsed US drone strikes

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In the same week UN experts called for greater transparency on US drone strikes, it has been revealed that top Pakistani officials have been secretly endorsing the programme for a number of years.

The news broke in US newspaper The Washington Post. It has allegedly been leaked confidential Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents confirming that Pakistan has received regular, classified information from the US regarding drone strikes and casualty counts.

Pakistan has previously expressed concern over civilian casualties of the attacks [LINK to]. The Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, even raised the issue again [LINK to] recently during a White House meeting with President Obama.

The UN has asked other countries to speak up about drone strikes, in a bid to determine when they are deemed acceptable.

The Pakistani government claims 400 civilians have been killed by drone strikes. However, the UN says this is hard to verify as the involvement of the CIA in counter-terrorism operations in the country has “created an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency.”

Ben Emmerson, a UN Human Rights and Counterterrorism expert, expressed the need for greater transparency:

“In the EU, which obviously represents a large number of states, the one particular recommendation in Christof’s (Heyns) report that they expressly endorsed is the transparency recommendation,” he said. “And there really is no good legal argument against it.”

The drone strikes have caused outrage in Pakistan, where many argue they cause indiscriminate deaths and injuries.

Pakistani officials have yet to comment on the new allegations. A CIA spokesperson would not comment on the leaked documents, but did not dispute their credibility.