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Pakistan offers US alternative to drone strikes

Last Updated: Monday, July 16, 2012 - 21:24

Islamabad: Pakistan has offered the US a new mechanism encompassing surveillance of targeted operations against wanted militants as an alternative to drone strikes in the country`s tribal regions.

The plan, as crafted by Islamabad, involves both the identification of targets by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the tribal areas and swapping of information with the Pakistani security agencies, reports The Express Tribune.

The Pakistani security agencies will then deal with the situation accordingly, officials said.

"To ensure that Pakistan acts on the information provided by the CIA, the US can use any mechanism to monitor our operation on the ground," revealed a senior figure of the country`s security establishment.

"They (US) can even use drones for this purpose," the official added. However, he clarified that no foreign forces would be allowed for surveillance.

The idea also seeks to dispel the growing perception in Washington that Islamabad is playing a ``double game`` in the ``war on terror``, he added.

The official said Pakistan expects a breakthrough in its ongoing negotiations with the US on finding a ``mutually acceptable`` alternative to the CIA-piloted drone campaign.

The reason, the official cited, was a tacit understanding between Pakistan and the US to use pilotless drones in the rugged terrain along the Pak-Afghan border where key al Qaeda figures are believed to have found refuge.

However, the official said the government ``had`` to oppose the drones campaign due to the widely-held public opinion that drones violate Pakistan``s territorial sovereignty and integrity.

Given that it is election year in the US, many experts are skeptical that the Obama administration would agree on any drastic changes in their drones`` campaign.


First Published: Monday, July 16, 2012 - 21:24

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