ISLAMABAD — Although Pakistan’s leaders have complained bitterly about CIA drones targeting militants on their country’s soil, they seem powerless to stop them. Now attorneys for drone strike victims want to know why the government has failed to act.
Two cases filed last week raise an uncomfortable point for the Pakistani government: Despite three resolutions by Parliament calling for a halt to the drone attacks, they have not only continued but escalated.
“This is the first time that victims are suing their own government for failing to protect their lives against drone strikes,” said Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights.
Akbar filed the lawsuits in the Peshawar High Court on behalf of relatives and victims of a March 17, 2011, drone strike in North Waziristan, in the tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. Fifty people were killed, including members of a traditional tribal jirga. The gathering of tribal elders had convened to resolve a mining dispute, according to the court papers.