US Drones Disrupt Normal Life of Pakistani Civilians: Liaghat Ali Khan

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Press TV
March 16, 2013

A political analyst tells Press TV that the drone policy violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan and it is disrupting the normal life of ordinary people living in the tribal areas.

The comments came after a UN team investigating civilian casualties from US assassination drone attacks in Pakistan stated that the terror airstrikes violate sovereignty of Pakistan. Ben Emmerson, head of the UN team, said in a statement on Friday that Pakistani government told him at least 400 civilians have been killed in US drone strikes.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Liaghat Ali Khan, professor at Washburn University, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Liaghat Ali Khan, we are looking at this report, at the same time we are looking at the new CIA director John Brennan who at one point even denied the existence of this drone program let alone the civilian casualties. What do you think Pakistan is going to do about this?

Khan: I am not sure what Pakistan is going to do about this but I think the United Nations reporter has made a very clear treating which Pakistan should consider.

First is that the drone policy violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan.

Number two that lots of civilians have been killed which totally belies the US stand that only militants have been killed.

And very important, I think the most important finding of the reporter is that the drone attacks traumatize a way of living that the Pashtun people living in the tribal areas, they are under this trauma that anytime drones can kill them and therefore it is completely disrupting their normal way of life.

And I think Pakistan is under an obligation to restore the normal life in the tribal areas, negotiate with the United States so that these drone attacks are stopped right away because they are illegal, they are immoral and they have no excuse in a civilized world.

Press TV: And quickly if you can, we are looking at a death toll of four hundred, some estimates putting that over a thousand.

And more alarmingly, we are looking at how these drones which are classified also under signature attacks, pretty much put civilians who are even in the area at risk, such as reports of the strikes targeting people who go to rescue the civilians who were caught up in this.

Shouldn’t there be a more pro-active stance by the UN on this?

Khan: Yes I think that is the crux of the problem that maybe you can kill the killer. I think they are some justifications that you can kill the killer but that doesn’t justify that you disrupt the normal way of life of millions of people.

And I think what has happened is that the drone attacks have disrupted the normal life of many villages in the tribal areas and ordinary people you know going shopping, going to their work, they are under this constant fear that they will be killed.

And I think this is unacceptable and this is what the United Nations has pointed out and this is the crux of the problem. It is not killing the killer. It is disrupting the normal life of ordinary people living in the tribal areas.

AHK/JR