by Staff Writers
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) Dec 21, 2012
A Pakistani reconnaissance drone has crashed in a restive northwestern tribal region after developing a technical fault, security officials said on Friday.
The unmanned military aircraft was on a surveillance mission when it came down on Thursday night in Azam Warsak area, west of Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan tribal region, a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Another official confirmed the crash and said that Taliban militants surrounded the site and later took possession of the wreckage.
Pakistan manufactures its own small drones which the army, navy and air force use for reconnaissance and do not have the lethal capability of US drones which target militant hideouts in the country's tribal regions.
The US strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but American officials are said to believe they are too important to give up.
In July last year a Pakistan navy drone crashed near an oil refinery in the suburbs of Karachi after hitting a bird while on a routine flight.
UK judges block action over US drone attacks in Pakistan
Lawyers for Noor Khan, 27, who lives in Pakistan, launched the action at the High Court in London in March after the death of his father Malik Daud Khan last year in a drone strike in North Waziristan.
They sought to challenge the lawfulness of the help Britain's intelligence gathering agency GCHQ reportedly provides to the CIA, such as information targeting militants, which is then used in deadly drone strikes.
However, lawyers for British Foreign Secretary William Hague had urged the court to block the legal proceedings, saying the case was unarguable.
They said it raised issues relating to sovereign foreign states that cannot be determined by English courts, adding that any ruling would have a "significant" impact on British relations with the United States and Pakistan.
Lord Justice Alan Moses refused Khan premission to bring the legal challenge at the High Court on Friday.
"The real aim is to persuade this court to make a public pronouncement designed to condemn the activities of the United States in North Waziristan, as a step in persuading them to halt such activity," he said.
The judge said lawyer Martin Chamberlain, who represented Khan in court, "knows he could not obtain permission overtly for such a purpose".
He added: "His stimulating arguments have been an attempt to shroud that purpose in a more acceptable veil."
The covert US attacks are unpopular in Pakistan, where the government criticises them as a violation of sovereignty, but US officials believe they are a vital weapon against Islamist militants.
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