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Drone attacks problem in US-Pakistan ties: Pakistan president

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 18:09

Islamabad: Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain Sunday termed attacks by American pilotless aircraft in the country`s restive tribal regions as a problem in bilateral relationship.

Talking to reporters in Karachi, the president said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would raise the issue of drone strikes in his meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House October 23, Xinhua reported.

"Drone strikes have proven to be a problem, not a solution, time and again," Hussain said after visiting the mausoleum of the country`s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He said Pakistan discussed the issue with American officials and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would once again address this issue during his visit.

Sharif is scheduled to arrive in Washington later Sunday on a three-day official visit, the first by a Pakistani prime minister in five years.

President Hussain said that improving trade between the US and Pakistan is also on Sharif`s agenda.

Sharif has also said he would take up the drone attacks with President Obama as these strikes violate the sovereignty of the country.

The US has rejected Pakistan`s demand for an end to the CIA-controlled covert drone operations considering it as an effective tool to target al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, has called on the US to declassify information about operations coordinated by the CIA and clarify its position on the legality of unmanned aerial attacks.

Emmerson, who travelled to Islamabad for his investigation, said in a report that the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs has records of 330 drone strikes in the country`s northwestern tribal areas since 2004.

Up to 2,200 people have been killed, of whom at least 400 were civilians, according to the Pakistani government.

First Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 18:09

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