Don’t link peace talks to drone strikes: MQM

By Meena Menon for The Hindu.

While the Pakistan government feels the peace talks were torpedoed by last week’s drone strike killing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud, Farooq Sattar of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) struck a different note. He told the National Assembly on Tuesday that talks should not be linked to drone strikes and Mehsud should not be made a martyr. 

With Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan venting his anger against the U.S. and calling for a review of all ties, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan vowing to block NATO supplies to Afghanistan from November 20, the debate has become skewed. Nearly 1,450 civilians were killed in drone strikes, according to figures presented in the Peshawar High Court, but Mehsud has been declared a martyr by the right wing groups and the government seems to have forgotten the huge casualties inflicted by the TTP in Pakistan.

A week before Mehsud was targeted, Brave New Foundation premiered in the capital Robert Greenwald’s documentary Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars , which was co-produced by Jemima Khan. For the first time the devastation came to light on screen just as the Pakistan government was mobilising world opinion.

Landmark order


In a landmark order, the Peshawar High Court had ruled in May 2013 that drone strikes were a blatant violation of basic human rights and against the U.N. Charter and thus, it was held to be a war crime, cognisable by the International Court of Justice or Special Tribunal for War Crimes.

It said the U.S. government was bound to compensate all the victims’ families at the assessed rate of compensation in kind or U.S. dollars and directed the government to take up the matter before the UNSC. If U.S. does not comply with the U.N. Resolution, , Pakistan shall sever all ties with the U.S. and as a mark of protest shall deny all logistic and other facilities to the U.S. within Pakistan, the court had added.

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