2100 militants, 67 civilians killed in US drone attacks, says Pak Minister

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A US Predator Drone (Reuters image) A US Predator Drone (Reuters image)
SummaryThe minister said govt agencies are trying hard to curb terrorism in the country.

Amid debates over legality of the controversial US drone strikes, Pakistan on Wednesday said over 2100 militants and 67 civilians have been killed in the attacks by unmanned CIA spy planes in the country's restive tribal areas.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the Senate that 12,404 people have been killed in incidents of terrorism.

"2160 militants and 67 civilians have so far been killed in drone attacks," state-run Radio Pakistan quoted the Interior Minister as saying.

His remarks came at a time when international rights groups have claimed that there have been high civilian casualties in American drone strikes.

Amnesty International had recently said some of these attacks equals war crimes. The drones are an emotional issue in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had raised the issue of drone strikes with American President Barack Obama in their meeting at the White House on October 23.

However, the US claims that drone strikes are precision attacks and have killed many top militants and terrorists.

Meanwhile, talking about the terror scenario in the country, Nisar said 6149 terrorists have been arrested by law enforcement agencies since 2002. "The federal government is providing all possible assistance to the provincial governments to curb terrorism," he said.

He also reported 13,223 people were awarded capital punishment since 2002 but only 501 of them were hanged.

The Interior Minister said

Nisar said necessary amendments have been made in the anti-terrorisms laws and investigation for Fair Trial Act, 2013 has been promulgated to bring the terrorists to justice.

On the issue of missing persons, Nisar said a Task Force on missing persons has been constituted with the task to monitor the progress in the cases of missing persons and coordinate efforts of all stakeholders working on the issue.

To a supplementary question, the Interior Minister said there is no proposal under consideration of the government to convert the death sentences into life imprisonment.

Earlier, the Senate resumed its session Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari in the chair.

Meanwhile, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee member Congressman Alan Grayson fuelled controversial reports of Pakistani accord to drone strikes, saying aerial attacks had taken place with the consent of the host nation and they would stop if the Pakistanis wanted them to. He was of the view that innocent victims of drone attacks should receive compensation from the United States.

(With PTI, Reuters and Associated Press inputs)

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