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Pak does not want confrontation with US, Taliban: Sharif aide

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 19:28

Lahore: Pakistan does not want a confrontation with the US or the Taliban and wants to resolve all issues with them through dialogue, a close aide of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said.
"In fact Pakistan wants no fight with the US on drone strikes and the Taliban. Pakistan cannot afford war. We want to resolve all issues with them (the US and Taliban) through dialogue," Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told reporters here.

He was responding to a query yesterday on whether the government would take strict stance like shooting down drones if the US did not end the strikes.

"Drone attacks are not acceptable to us in any circumstances and they must be stopped. These are against our sovereignty," he said, but immediately added, "We don`t want war with the US (over the issue)."

The ruling PML-N government had registered strong protest with the Obama administration following the killing of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike earlier this month.

Pakistan said it was going to hold `peace` talks with the TTP leadership when the drone killed Mehsud and sabotaged the whole process.

The right-wing parties, including cricketer-turned- politician Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, have demanded the PML-N government to order the Pakistan Air Force to shoot down the drones.

The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami yesterday blocked the NATO supply routes in Khyber Pakhtaunkhawa province. They have said the blockade of the supply routes will continue till the strikes end.

The Minister said Pakistan could not annoy European countries including Turkey to cut the supply routes and asked Khan to refrain from blocking the routes.

In an apparent warning to the Taliban and other extremists, Rashid said, "The people who use the Pakistani soil to achieve their political or religious agenda are also not acceptable as they challenge our sovereignty."

First Published: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 19:28

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