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June 7, 2013

Nawaz urged to act against drones, put words into action


June 7, 2013

LONDON: A human rights charity working against the American drone campaign inside Pakistan urged Nawaz Sharif to put his words into action and prevent Pakistani citizens from being murdered by the US drone attacks in tribal areas.
Reprieve, a London-based legal action charity, has been campaigning against drone strikes for a long time on behalf of the civilian victims of the attacks and has brought the case of Pakistani civilians even before a London court.
Jennifer Gibson, who handles Reprieve’s Pakistan drones work in London, told ‘The News’ that Nawaz Sharif is saying all of the right things but the communities in Fata need more than words. “For years now, Pakistan and the world have sat back while the US drones have illegally killed and terrorised the men, women and children living in Waziristan. The Peshawar High Court (PHC) recognised this for what it is – war crimes. The communities in Fata don’t need more words from Mr Sharif. They need action. They need their government to stop the US from terrorising and killing more innocent Pakistanis.” Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith said on Thursday that Nawaz Sharif must implement the PHC’s decision and put an end to illegal US drone strikes in Pakistan. “It is the only way to end the daily terror circling over thousands of Pakistanis who are demonstrably not guilty of any offence,” he said.
Separately, The Independent editorial said that barely a decade ago, it seemed unimaginable that one democratically elected regime would succeed another in Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif’s future looked far-fetched.
“And yet in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Parliament approved Mr Sharif as Prime Minister before hearing him articulate his priorities for the coming term. They were familiar: from reviving a stuttering economy to resisting US drones and defeating the jihadism which the country has incubated for years.”
The paper said, “Democracy in Pakistan is too fragile to allow great

expectations and Mr Sharif will probably disappoint those who elected him by a handsome majority.” But for fans of democracy and the rule of law everywhere, the very fact of that election is a cause for cheer.
Daily Mail said that although Nawaz Sharif is against the drone strikes but Washington regards the drone attacks as a vital weapon against militants fighting US-led forces in Afghanistan.
Sky News said that Nawaz Sharif is under pressure to address the lengthy power cuts which plagued the country under the previous administration, leaving people to suffer through sweltering summers and businesses struggling to run.
The New York Times said the rate of drone strikes is already declining sharply, amid tough scrutiny of the programme in the United States and new restrictions from President Obama.
The NYT said that Mr Sharif’s approach “may have been driven by political considerations, and some suggest that he may be more pragmatic towards the United States now that he is back in office”.
The Financial Times said that Nawaz Sharif has vowed to tackle the “jungle of problems” facing Pakistan and has spoken against the US drone strikes but “Mr Sharif’s immediate challenges, however, will be to tackle the power cuts that anger Pakistanis in the heat of summer and cripple the country’s industry, and to avert a balance of payments crisis”.

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