Pak Air Force at higher alert after US drone attacks: Report

Last Updated: Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 13:58

Islamabad: Pakistan has intensified air patrols and surveillance over its restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, especially North Waziristan, and put its Air Force at a higher alert level in the wake of US drone attacks that killed over 40 people, a media report said on Saturday.

Orders were issued on Thursday at the "highest level" on an "emergency basis", including cancellation of leave of all personnel involved in air reconnaissance, BBC Urdu quoted its sources in the Pakistan Air Force as saying.

The leave of all personnel stationed at airbases and the PAF headquarters in Islamabad too had been cancelled and officials at sensitive installations had been asked to ensure the presence of all personnel on Saturday and Sunday, the sources were quoted as saying.

Some "operational changes" had been made but they are being kept secret though these are apparently related to round-the-clock active reconnaissance in the tribal belt, the sources said.

The administrative and operational changes are part of Pakistan`s efforts to quickly respond to threats from the CIA-operated drones, the sources said.

A spokesman for the PAF declined to confirm or deny the reports.

He said that the PAF chief had given his views on drone strikes some time ago and this was still valid in view of current developments.

Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman had said some time ago that his force is capable of shooting down the drones.

Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the US after drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency on Thursday killed 44 people, a majority of them members of a tribal jirga and a government militia force.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 13:58

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