News / Asia

    UN Chief Condemns Drone Attacks During Pakistan Visit

    Pakistan's National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, right, meets U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for talks at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 13, 2013.
    Pakistan's National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, right, meets U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for talks at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 13, 2013.
    The United Nations secretary-general is speaking out about the use of armed drones during his visit to Pakistan. Ban Ki-moon also says that economic development is crucial to any country’s long-term security.
     
    In Islamabad Tuesday, Ban was critical of the use of armed drones - a key but controversial component of the U.S. war against terrorism, including against targets in northwestern Pakistan.
     
    Speaking to an audience of mainly Pakistani military and political leaders, Ban Ki-moon said the use of unmanned aerial vehicles must be controlled by international law.
     
    “As I have often said, the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing rules of international law, including international humanitarian law," he said. "This is the very clear position of the United Nations. Every effort should be made to avoid mistakes and civilian casualties.”
     
    The CIA drone program targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas has long been accused of causing civilian casualties, stoking opposition in Pakistan and humanitarian concern abroad.
     
    While the U.N. leader criticized the drone program, he also reminded the audience that the solution for lasting stability in any region involves both security and development.
     
    Critics say Pakistan has spent too much of its budget on defense, and not enough on its health and education sectors.
     
    "Budget priorities should reflect people’s priorities: education and energy, empowerment and good jobs.  Human rights and human dignity," said Ban.  "Reaching out and building bridges with one’s neighbors.  We must strive to overcome short-term crises of security by putting in place the long-term foundations of peace through sustainable development.”
     
    Ban Ki-moon's speech marked the inauguration of the Center for International Peace and Stability of the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad.
     
    Flanked by Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani and the advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Ban Ki-moon thanked Pakistan for its efforts in international peace and security.
     
    Pakistan is one of the top contributors of peacekeeping troops and police to the United Nations. Some 8,000 Pakistanis serve under the UN flag around the world, and 136 have died doing so.
     
    The U.N. leader is scheduled to meet both outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari and the country’s newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Brian Penny from: Arizona
    August 14, 2013 1:31 AM
    This is the problem with PRISM and monitoring…I saw a drone over my own head on US soil

    by: transparent thinker from: India
    August 13, 2013 11:28 AM
    History of Pakistan is enough to teach any country not to trust it. Since its inception, the agenda of the government and military has been nothing but the destruction of its neighbour, India. Its policies are not oriented towards the betterment of people and economy but continued indoctrination of its people to hate India and now Bangladesh. This country spends more on military rather than on its people, healthcare and education - a reason why educated Pakistani immigrate to other developed countries.

    It's a den of terror, harbours international terrorists like Osama Bin Laden and Dawood Ibrahim. USA was well within its rights to kill Osama within Pakistan by a covert operation. Its disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan gave nuclear weapons technology to countries like Libya and North Korea, now a headache for Asia and USA. Pakistani state actors were involved in Mumbai Taj terror attacks. Almost all terrorist receive training in advanced weapons in with the help of Pakistani Military and ISI. If there weren't any drone strikes, then I am sure that USA and its allies would have suffered many terrorists attacks

    Mr. Ban Ki Moon, do you have the guts to question these things within Pakistan
    In Response

    by: waheed ghilzai from: Los Angeles
    August 13, 2013 3:16 PM
    Mr Ban Ki Moon you are lucky that one of your Pakistani hosts didnt accidentally blow you up with a tricked cigar! Have you seen pictures of dead children in Jilal Abad torn to pieces by Pakistani terror squad!? Di you forget what the ISI agents did in Mombai India a few years ago!? As the head of UN, You should be ashamed sir for even going to terror state as Pakistan!

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