America’s drones strikes are a violation of human rights because innocent men, women, and children are being killed, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday.
Gilani made the comment to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanthem Pillay and it was followed up by a vow from U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that the drone strikes would continue, despite pleas from Islamabad.
Pakistan has repeatedly called for “an immediate cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan,” among other breaches of sovereignty by the U.S., but the Obama administration has continued these practices unabated.
“This is about our sovereignty as well,” Panetta vaguely said when asked about violating Pakistan’s sovereignty. Panetta made his comments after a speech at an Indian think tank, which is very provocative to Islamabad given their long conflict with India, widely considered their greatest security threat.
The drone war is under heightened scrutiny after reports that the Obama administration is using an overly broad method for choosing targets and counting corpses which basically presupposes that all military-age males killed by U.S. drones are combatants, whether they are known to be militants or not.
Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA’s counter-terrorism unit, said this week that the expansive drone war in Pakistan in Yemen has killed too many civilians, is provoking anti-American hatreds, and creating terrorist safe havens. “We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield,” he said.
Grenier added: “If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger. They have tribes and clans and large families. Now all of a sudden you have a big problem … I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen.”