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Pakistan warns US against drone strikes

Minister says attacks could lead to a stand-off between countries

Gulf News

Islamabad: Pakistan has conveyed a clear message to the US that continued drone attacks on its territory could lead to a stand-off between the two countries, a federal minister said on Thursday.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, talking to media in Islamabad, said drone attacks are not only violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty but are resulting in collateral damage and are therefore not acceptable at any cost.

He said the US has also been told that this stand-off could have serious implication on Nato forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the post withdrawal situation.

Since the new government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took power on June 5, the US has carried out two drone strikes, the latest on Tuesday in North Waziristan tribal area killing 17 people including suspected militants.

Chaudhry Nisar said the government has decided to convene a meeting of leaders of major political parties, possibly on July 12, to formulate a comprehensive National Security Policy to bring peace and overcome menace of terrorism.

He said the issue of possible dialogue with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan would also be discussed in the meeting‚ which will also be attended by the heads of civil and military security agencies.

The government is determined to bring peace at all cost with the support of all stakeholders, he said.

He said issue of detention camps and missing persons will also be addressed in the National Security Policy.

He said three task forces have been formed to look into the issues of national security‚ missing persons and return of Dr Afia Siddiqi jailed in the US. These panels will submit their reports within two weeks.

The interior minister said a wide range revamping will done in all allied departments of his ministry and allied offices and officers of good repute will be posted in field to improve the situation.

He expressed his concerns over the coup in Egypt and said democracy should be fostered at all costs.

There must be rule of law, he said, ruling out any possibility of Egypt-like situation in Pakistan.

As there is no conflict between political government and armed forces in Pakistan, so there is no room for military-political imbalance, the minister said.

Armed forced should be appreciated for their commendable job in fighting terrorism and sacrificing thousands of its soldiers and officers, Nisar said.

He said Army is the only institution where lives are on the line and “we must respect their sacrifices”.