Islamabad: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Thursday called for an end to the “counterproductive” drone campaign during a meeting with the US ambassador to Pakistan.
Ashraf’s call came a few hours after a drone strike that killed three people in the tribal area of North Waziristan on Thursday.
According to officials, Ashraf told Ambassador Richard Olson that drone strikes were counterproductive, adding that there was a pressing need to find alternative means to eliminate terrorism.
Olson promised to convey Ashraf’s concerns to authorities in Washington.
During the meeting, the prime minister said that the situation had improved considerably since 2008 when the media was rife with reports that terrorists were near Islamabad.
Ashraf noted that the present government — with the support of the people‚ the international community and law enforcement agencies — has registered success in its war on terrorists and is confident of prevailing over the insurgents.
The prime minister said that recent interaction between two countries at different levels has been very encouraging.
Olson said that the US acknowledged the sacrifices and contribution of the people of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
He added that Washington was interested in nurturing a long-term relationship based on “mutual respect and common interest” with Islamabad.
Earlier, a US drone fired a pair of missiles at a house near the Pakistan-Afghan border on Thursday, killing three suspected militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
The strike hit Mubarak Shahi village in the North Waziristan tribal area, the main sanctuary for Al Qaida and Taliban militants in Pakistan, the intelligence officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to talk to the media.
The exact identities of the suspected militants remains unclear.
The area is under the control of prominent militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who has focused his fight against Afghan and foreign troops across the border in Afghanistan.
The US rarely discusses the covert CIA drone programme in Pakistan in public. But American officials have said privately that the strikes have killed many senior Al Qaida and Taliban commanders.
On Wednesday, a pair of suicide bombers rammed an explosives-laden truck into the gate of an army camp in another part of Pakistan’s tribal region, killing three soldiers and wounding more than 20, .
Many were wounded when the blast caused the roof of a military hospital at the camp to collapse, intelligence officials said.
Some of the soldiers were critically wounded, and officials warned the death toll could rise.
The attack occurred in Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal area, which was the most important sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban until the army launched a major ground offensive in 2009.
The army says it has made great progress in flushing the militants out of the area, but attacks still occur periodically.
– With inputs from AP