Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Targeted killings in Pakistan and elsewhere : official U.S. policy now ?


One of the things U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran into last week during her trip to Pakistan was anger over attacks by unmanned “drone” aircraft inside Pakistan and along the border with Afghanistan.

 One questioner during an interaction with members of the public said the missile strikes by Predator aircraft amounted to “executions without trial” for those killed.  Another asked Clinton to define terrorism and whether she considered the drone attacks to be an act of terrorim like the car bomb that ripped through Peshawar that same week killing more than 100 people.

The people of Pakistan aren’t the only ones asking that question.  A top UN rights expert has swung the attention back on the drone programme, saying that the United States may be violating international law with the missile strikes.

Philip Aston, the Special Rapporteur on extradjudicial, summary or arbitary executions, said there could be circumstances under which the use of such techniques could be justified in international law, but Washington would have to show it followed appropriate precautions and accountability mechanisms.