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Pakistan's top court dismisses petition against US drone strikes

IANS  |  Islamabad 

Pakistan's top court Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking action against US drone attacks in the country's tribal regions.

The supreme court of Pakistan ruled the matter relates to defence and foreign affairs and does not come under the domain of judicial proceedings, Xinhua reported.

"Intervention in the matter will be a violation of constitution and law," the short order by the apex court said.

The petitioner had prayed to the court to direct the federal government to command the armed forces to defend Pakistan against external aggression, in a reference to the attacks by US spy aircraft.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Justice Ameer Hani Muslim ruled that the issues raised in the constitution petition and the prayer made are relatable to matters of foreign policy, defence and security of the country.

US drones routinely fire missiles into Pakistan's Waziristan tribal region despite strong opposition by the government.

The US says the CIA-controlled covert campaign is aimed at targeting suspected militants in Waziristan who are blamed for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistani tribesmen insist the drones also kill civilians. Residents say drones have spread psychological stress among the children as spy aircraft fly over the area before the strikes and create panic.

A group of lawyers had filed the petition in the supreme court. It said US drones are violating the sovereignty of Pakistan and their attacks must be stopped.

The counsel for the petitioners told the court that US drone attacks are also a violation of international laws.

Justice Jillani maintained that interference by the courts in this matter would be a violation of one of the foundational principles of the constitution, which envisages a trichotomy of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary.

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First Published: Wed, September 04 2013. 20:08 IST