Pakistan protests over drones

2013-06-08 16:31
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (File, AFP)

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (File, AFP)

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Islamabad - Islamabad summoned an American diplomat on Saturday to protest over the latest US drone strike which killed seven people in northwest Pakistan, the foreign ministry said.

The missile attack in the restive North Waziristan tribal district on Friday was the first since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister this week calling for an end to such strikes.

"It was conveyed to the US CdA (Charge d'Affaires) that the government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes which are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the foreign ministry statement said, calling for an immediate end to the attacks.

Richard Hoagland, the US charge d'affaires - a senior American diplomat stationed in Pakistan - was summoned to the foreign office on the instructions of Sharif, it said.

"It was also pointed out that the government of Pakistan has consistently maintained that drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications," the statement said.

Drone guidelines

Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, but Washington views them as a vital tool in the fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Sharif's government had also publicly criticised the drone strike that killed Taliban deputy Waliur Rehman last week.

Rehman, the number two in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction, died along with at least five others when a drone fired two missiles on a house in North Waziristan on 29 May.

The senior leader, who had a $5m US government bounty on his head, was killed after US President Barack Obama outlined new and more restrictive guidelines on drone use.

Washington had accused Rehman of organising attacks against US and Nato forces in Afghanistan including a suicide attack in 2009 that killed seven CIA agents.

Ties with Washington will be a key part of Sharif's tenure, particularly as Nato withdraws the bulk of its forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year after more than 12 years of war.

"It was also stressed that these drone strikes have a negative impact on the mutual desire of both countries to forge a cordial and co-operative relationship and to ensure peace and stability in the region," the foreign ministry said.
Read more on:    nato  |  pakistan  |  security

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