Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf has admitted giving permission for the CIA to launch drone attacks inside his country, directly contradicting repeated claims by the Pakistani government that it has never authorised drone strikes.
His comments in a CNN interview screened on Thursday night follow US media claims this week that Pakistani officials were for years intimately involved in the US drone campaign in the country. The unexpected admission breaks Pakistan’s policy of blanket denial of involvement. Last month following a visit to Islamabad Ben Emmerson QC, the UN’s special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, said he had been given assurances that there was no “tacit consent by Pakistan to the use of drones on its territory”.
For its part the Obama administration has defended the legality of its drone activities and said strikes are conducted only with consent from the states involved.
Musharraf said Pakistan gave permission “only on a few occasions, when a target was absolutely isolated and [there was] no chance of collateral damage”.
He said the strikes were discussed “at the military [and] intelligence level” and cleared only if “there was no time for our own [special operations task force] and military to act. That was … maybe two or three times only”. Read More