ISLAMABAD    -   The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a petition filed to halt US drone attacks in tribal areas of the country after the federal government informed the top court that the Pakistan’s policy on drone strikes is clear, consistent and unequivocal.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa took up the contempt of court petition challenging the PHC verdict, wherein it dismissed an application filed against non-implementation of high court’s May 9 of 2013 orders regarding Drone attacks.

During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mehmood, regarding the Pakistan’s policy on the US drone strikes, informed the bench that Pakistan maintains that unilateral use of drone strikes by US on our territory is a blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, besides being illegal and counter-productive.

“They are also against the international law and violation of basic human rights. We have consistently raised this issue, bilaterally as well as at the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council,” stated Deputy Attorney General Mehmood.

“As a result of our efforts, both at the bilateral and multilateral levels, Pakistan’s concerns on the issue were noted by the international community,” he added.

He further informed the bench that UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism visited Pakistan from 11-13 March 2013 and noted in his report to the UN General Assembly that the continued use of remotely piloted aircraft amounted to the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

He further apprised the bench that the US side has been conveyed in clear terms that the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is unacceptable.

“We have also impressed upon the US that drone strikes also give rise to anti-US sentiments in the region and help provide recruits to the terrorists,” he maintained.

The bench observed that such issues are overseen by the government. The petition was moved by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights through its trustee Raja Saad Sultan. 

During the hearing, the bench was informed that innocent people are killed in the drone strikes. 

The chief justice remarked that the drone strikes have now stopped adding that government is to look policy matters.

The bench further observed that that the PHC had referred the matter to federal government and Ministry of Defense and the Government.

On May 9 of 2013, the PHC had declared the US Drone Strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as violation of national and international law.

The federal government was also directed to issue warning to the US and CIA regarding the drone strikes further clarifying that Pakistan has the right to strike back if the attacks continue.

The UN assembly should be asked to inquire the issue and to declare the strikes a crime, especially since the drone attacks were conducted without consent from the Pakistani government, the court further ordered.

Furthermore, Pakistan should stop all ties with the US government if the US vetoed the resolution terming drone strikes, violation of Pakistan’s integrity.

The division bench also ordered that since there was loss of life and property of tribal residents, the US was bound to compensate via dollars.

“The Government of Pakistan and its security forces shall ensure that in future … drone strikes are not conducted and carried out within the sovereign territory of Pakistan. Proper warning be administered in this regard and if that does not work, the government of Paksitan and state institutions particularly the security forces shall have the right being under constitutional and legal obligations to shut (shoot) down the drones attacking Pakistani territories or when these enter the air-space of Pakistan sovereign territory,” the order by PHC’s then Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan stated.

On December 3 of 2014, the PHC’ successor Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel had dismissed the contempt of court petition holding that the response of the respondent parties is satisfactory and declared that no contempt was committed.