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Ex-PM Gilani denies his government approved US drone strikes

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 22:49

Lahore: Former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday denied a report that his government had approved US drone strikes in Pakistan`s tribal areas. "In fact, I had registered the government`s protest with President Barack Obama over the drone attacks. I told him that the strikes had proved to be counter-productive and were promoting militancy in the country," Gilani said.

The Washington Post had quoted leaked American and Pakistani secret documents as saying that Pakistan had been regularly briefed on the strikes and in some cases helped choose targets.

It documents covered drone attacks over a four-year period from 2007, when military ruler Pervez Musharraf was in power, to late 2011, when a civilian government led by Gilani had taken over.

But Gilani said he had "made it clear to President Obama that drone strikes were against the sovereignty of Pakistan and should be stopped forthwith".

There was no agreement between the US and Pakistan over the drone campaign during his time as premier, he said.

The daily reported on the extensive cooperation between Pakistan and the US on drone strikes during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington, where he underlined the need to end the attacks with his meeting with Obama.
In April, Musharraf told CNN that he had authorised some drone attacks when he was in power. The secret drone campaign is run by the CIA.
The CIA has carried out almost 400 drone strikes in the lawless tribal areas since 2004, killing over 3,500 people, including top Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives. At one time, the US reportedly used a Pakistani airbase to launch the drones.

First Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 22:49

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