People living in Pakistan’s tribal belt have no access to police stations, courts, or any other form of legal help to report being wrongly targeted by drones , a Pakistani lawyer has said.
“Tribal areas are officially a part of Pakistan, and their residents are formally citizens of this country. But they have no access to Pakistani or international courts, and therefore no legal redress for losses incurred because of US-led drone strikes,” said lawyer Shehzad Akbar.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Akbar holds up the 82 families hailing from North Waziristan as examples of the numerous non-militants who have lost their lives in drone operations.
Akbar pointed out that civilians who claim to be victims of drone attacks have two options, either to file charges against the CIA and the US government, or to bring the case to the Pakistani authorities.
He, however, added that if it becomes provable that the US and Pakistan are not collaborating on the strikes, the general consensus in international law would be that US drone strikes are illegal, since there are ‘no UN resolutions, and the Americans have not declared war.’
According to the paper, allegations of large numbers of civilian deaths have haunted the drone effort in Pakistan since its inception under President George W. Bush.
Under the Obama administration, drone strikes have been at the core of the US strategy aimed at rooting out the Taliban and Al Qaeda from Pakistan’s tribal areas, where militants have taken refuge to launch attacks in Afghanistan, the report said.