UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Thursday raised the issue of American drone strikes in its tribal regions at the United Nations Security Council, calling for their cessation and seeking “urgent” talks to resolve the problem.

“Drone strikes infringe our sovereignty, violate international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law, cause civilian casualties and are detrimental to the combined efforts to fight terrorism,” Ambassador Masood Khan told the 15-nation council during a discussion on the situation in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan is facilitating the Afghan reconciliation process, but progress is attainable only if all stakeholders share the goals of the peace process," Ambassador Masood Khan said.

“We need to pursue this goal together, with unity of purpose,” the Pakistani envoy said.

Noting that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had called attention to the adverse consequences of the use of armed drones, the Pakistani ambassador said: “We call for cessation of drone strikes. Urgent and intense dialogue can help resolve this issue.”

In relation to the issue of drone strikes, Ambassador Zamir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, had stated that Pakistan, a primary target of drone attacks, had suffered a heavy loss of innocent lives apart from widespread social and economic costs.

While addressing the opening session of the 24th Human Rights Council, he had said that in recent years, there had been severe human rights violations across the globe, as a result of indiscriminate use of force in the context of counter-terrorism efforts.

Akram had said these included illegal detentions, renditions, and extrajudicial killings including through use of drone attacks.

The All Parties Conference (APC) had recommended raising of the drone issue at the United Nations.

US drone attacks are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, but Washington views them as a vital tool in their fight against Taliban and al Qaeda militants in Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

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