Pakistan has rejected a US media report that it has struck a deal with the CIA over a secret drone campaign in the country’s tribal regions.
The New York Times (NYT) has reported that Pakistan and the US had signed the deal in 2004 and a US spy aircraft in its first strike had killed senior Pakistani Taliban commander Nek Muhammad in South Waziristan.
The CIA has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike, the paper said.
The Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that the story is baseless and a part of the propaganda to create confusion about Pakistan’s clear position on this matter, reported Xinhua.
“We have repeatedly affirmed that Pakistan regards the use of drone strikes as counterproductive,” the spokesman said while responding to a query on the NYT report.
“It (drone strikes) violates Pakistan’s sovereignty and it violates international law,” the spokesman said in a statement.
He said there is now a growing debate in the international community to consider the legality and legitimacy of drone strikes.
The NYT report claimed that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and the CIA agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the CIA’s covert action authority - meaning that the US would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.