Friday, May 10, 2013

US drone strikes a war crime: PHC

Declaring the US drone strikes in the tribal areas as a blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, unlawful and a war crime, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday ruled that the government and security forces, under constitutionaland legal obligations, shall have the right to shoot down the unmanned aircraft entering Pakistan’s airspace or attacking its territory.

A two-member bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali announced a 22-page judgment in four identical writ petitions filed against the US drone strikes in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. The petitioners had requested the court to direct the government to stop the drone strikes and order security forces to shoot down the drones entering the Pakistani territory.

Announcing the verdict, the chief justice ruled that under the 1973 Constitution, particularly its Article 199, the court was under obligation to safeguard and protect the life and property of Pakistanis and also any person living for the time being in Pakistan.