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23 Jan, 2013

U.S. Drone Strikes “Counterproductive,” Pakistani FM Warns


ISLAMABAD, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) — Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Tuesday told the parliament that the world is raising concerns on the civilian casualties in U.S. drone strikes, local media reported.

The United States has ruled out any change in the CIA- controlled drone mission in Pakistan, claiming that it is a key to eliminate the militants operating from Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal region. However, Pakistan insists that the drone campaign has complicated the anti-terror drive and that the attacks also kill civilians.

“We repeatedly have raised our concerns on the U.S. drone strikes which are proving counterproductive in the war against terrorism,” Foreign Minister Khar told the Senate or Upper House of the parliament in a policy statement on foreign policy issues.

She said an opinion is emerging in the entire world including in the U.S. which goes against the drone attacks and considers them counterproductive. She went on to say that Pakistan considers drone strikes on the Tribal Areas as violation of its sovereignty.

“We will take up drone attacks issue with Washington and its ambassador to Pakistan,” she said.

As for reports that Washington has prepared a new drone policy, the foreign minister said, “We have no clarification from the U.S. in this regard. These are just media reports but we take up this issue with Washington and its ambassador to Pakistan.”

The U.S. has also not yet entertained Pakistan’s repeated calls for drone technology to use it against the militants.

Majority in Pakistan strongly oppose the U.S. drones policy and view it as violation of the country’s sovereignty.

Khar said that the government was not oblivious to the challenges confronting the country. She said Pakistan wanted cordial ties with all neighboring states, including India, adding that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and army chief would not be issuing irresponsible statements as had been made by their Indian counterparts during the recent escalations along the Line of Control, which divides the two countries in the disputed Kashmir region.

The minister said the government did not believe in issuing irresponsible or provocative statements for the purpose of posturing.