American drone strikes should end: Pak lawmakers

Last Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012 - 23:35

Islamabad: Pakistani lawmakers on Friday asked
the government not to allow its territory for transportation
of arms and ammunition to NATO forces in Afghanistan and
demanded that the US should stop drone attacks and respect the
country`s sovereignty.

The lawmakers who were debating the Parliamentary
Committee on National Security`s recommendations for resetting
ties with the US during a joint session of parliament called
on the government to keep national interests supreme while
framing an independent foreign policy.

Senior PML-Q leader Mushahid Hussain Sayed said all
decisions regarding national security should be made by
parliament.

In the past too, all important decisions on national
security and the nuclear and missile programmes were taken by
civilians, he said.

"Now we have the opportunity and the time has come to take
all decisions regarding our foreign policy, national security
and NATO supply routes," he said.

US drone attacks should not be allowed at any cost and the
supply of arms and ammunitions to NATO forces in Afghanistan
through Pakistani territory should be strictly banned, he
added.

PPP Senator Sehar Kamran said all decisions on foreign
policy and future engagements with the US and NATO should
reflect the will of the people and must be made with
consensus.

She too said US drone attacks would not be allowed at any
cost.

The lawmakers spoke hours after a CIA-operated spy plane
targeted a compound in the North Waziristan tribal region and
killed four suspected militants.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has made
40 recommendations for revamping ties with the US, including
an end to drone strikes and the imposition of a tax before
reopening NATO supply routes.

The government closed the supply routes after a
cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in
November.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered a parliamentary
review of Pakistan-US relations, which were rocked by a series
of crises last year, including the killing of Osama bin Laden
by American special forces in Abbottabad.

The lawmakers highlighted the need for Pakistan to
maintain good relations with its neighbours, especially
Afghanistan and Iran.

PML-Q leader Sayed criticized "US double standards",
saying it was trying to establish peace in Afghanistan while
"bombing Pakistan`s territory and preparing to fight with
Iran".

Pakistan would oppose any use of force by the US against
Iran, he said.

Akhunzada Chattan, a parliamentarian from the tribal belt,
said the success of the parliamentary panel`s recommendations
would depend on stopping US drone attacks.

"All our steps would be considered a failure if drone
attacks continue," he remarked.

During an interaction with reporters outside parliament,
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said she hoped that all
political parties would evolve consensus on new terms of
engagements with NATO, the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the US.

A new independent foreign policy would have to be framed
with utmost care, he said.

Prime Minister Gilani yesterday chaired a meeting of
leaders of major political parties to discuss the
parliamentary review.

The meeting was attended by Leader of Opposition Chaudhry
Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N, key federal ministers, army chief
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ISI chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam and
Pakistan`s envoy to the US Sherry Rehman.

Gilani said the world is awaiting the outcome of the
parliamentary review.

The new terms of engagement with the US and NATO pertained
to national security and should be finalised with consensus,
he said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 30, 2012 - 23:35

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