Islamabad: Pakistan’s National Assembly members have demanded an all-parties conference (APC) to discuss the increasing number of drone attacks in the Tribal Areas by US forces, terming them an assault on the country’s sovereignty.
Speaking on a point of order, Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) chief Aftab Ahmed Sherpao said that a record number of drone attacks were carried out in the current year, and that they were “fuelling militancy and terrorism in the country.”
“The government should clear its position on the drone attacks,” the Daily Times quoted Sherpao, as saying.
Asking parliament to take notice of the attacks, he said: “Earlier, US drones used to hit South and North Waziristan but now they are advancing towards settled areas, striking in the Khyber Agency.”
The PPP-S chief said that the government had not only failed to implement a unanimous resolution of the joint sitting of the parliament on the war on terror, but had also trashed the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
Sherpao asked the government to convene an APC to review its policy on the war on terror, and suggested that the “top brass of security institutions should also take part in the proposed all-parties conference, and it should assess damage done by drone attacks.”
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Waseem Akhtar supported calling an APC on drone attacks in Pakistan territory, and said that the conference should discuss “all the issues confronting the nation”.
Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) member Sheikh Aftab and PML-N MNA Haneef Abbasi termed the drone attacks a strike on the country’s integrity.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that the attacks could not be stopped until a complete ban was placed on the activities of US secret agencies in Pakistan.
“The interior minister should apprise the House about the 394 houses in the capital in which suspected foreigners are residing,” Pirzada added.
Pakistan People’s Party’s Fauzia Wahab also supported the idea of holding a debate on drone attacks in parliament, but opposed the idea of convening an APC on the issue.
“Drone attacks and suicide attacks are correlated. Parliament is the supreme forum to debate the issue of drone attacks and growing militancy in the country,” she said.