Islamabad: Differences among top leaders of the Pakistan government over US drone attacks emerged on Friday, with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan questioning how the premier`s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz had believed American assurances that there would be no strikes during talks with militants.
Khan said he was "dumbfounded" at how Aziz had believed the US assurance on drone strikes.?Questioning how any one could call the US a friend of Pakistan after the recent drone strikes, he said the US cannot be trusted.
"Actions have made it clear that the US neither wants peace in Pakistan nor talks with the Taliban," he told reporters outside parliament.
US involvement in Pakistan was behind all the chaos in the country, he claimed. The time has come for Pakistan to choose between "honour and US dollars" as American financial aid has not brought any positive change to the country, he added.
Khan claimed the US wanted to come to him with "Alif Laila stories" but he had said no. "Alif Laila" is an Indian TV series based on stories from The Arabian Nights that was popular in Pakistan.
Briefing the Senate`s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, Aziz had said that the US had assured Pakistan that no drone strikes would be conducted during peace talks with militants.
Yesterday, a CIA-operated spy plane conducted a rare missile strike outside Pakistan`s tribal belt and killed six persons, including three commanders of the Haqqani network. The drone targeted a seminary at Hangu in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The drone strike was also the first one since an attack that killed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud on November 1. Mehsud was killed shortly before a government team was to meet the Taliban regarding proposed peace talks.
At the time, the Interior Minister had accused the US of trying to "sabotage" talks with the Taliban by targeting Mehsud. He also announced that the government would review ties with the US.
However, the government has not undertaken any such review so far.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, an opposition party led by former cricketer Imran Khan, described yesterday`s drone strike as a "declaration of war" by the US.
The party, set to hold a sit-in tomorrow to block NATO supply trucks going to Afghanistan, said the time had come for Pakistan to take tough action on the issue of drones.