ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A top U.N. investigator has criticized Washington's drone missile campaign against Islamic militants in Pakistan as a violation of the nation's sovereignty, a stance that echoes Islamabad's public condemnation but not one that is expected to end the airstrikes.
Ben Emmerson, U.N. special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, issued a statement Friday saying the U.S. drone campaign "involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent, and is therefore a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty."
"Pakistan has also been quite clear that it considers the drone campaign to be counterproductive and to be radicalizing a whole new generation, thereby perpetuating the problem of terrorism in the region," Emmerson said.
Emmerson's remarks came after he made a three-day visit to Pakistan last week.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday saying the government had clearly conveyed to Emmerson "that drone strikes are counterproductive, against international law and a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity."
The Obama administration has defended the tactic as a vital tool against al-Qaida and Taliban militant leaders along the Afghan border. Though Pakistan has always publicly opposed drone strikes, many analysts believe the country's civilian and military leaders see value in the tactic and tacitly allow the strikes to occur.