Islamabad: Pakistanis have every right to express their rage over the NATO airstrike that killed 24 soldiers, an incident that has plunged the frosty Pakistan-US ties into deeper crisis, a Pakistani daily said on Monday.
As many as 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 15 injured after NATO helicopters from Afghanistan attacked a border check post in Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border early Saturday, leading to Islamabad lodging a strong protest with Washington.
The News International said in an editorial that Pakistan, its government and its people have every right to express their sense of rage.
"Which country would not if the armed forces of another state had crossed its borders in the dead of night and fired on sleeping soldiers in a border-control post...," it asked.
It said that "diplomatic storm gathered weight and power" as the bodies of the dead soldiers were lowered into the ground.
"The incident has plunged the frosty Pak-US ties into deeper crisis," the editorial said, adding: "...Pakistan has sealed its border with Afghanistan, shutting down the supply lines for some 130,000 US-led foreign troops in that country, and called on the United States to leave within 15 days the Shamsi Airbase reportedly used by CIA drones."
It went on to say that so far, there is no apology from NATO, though it expressed regret over the "tragic, unintended" deaths of Pakistani soldiers.
"A formal apology is the least that is expected and deserved by the Pakistani side," the editorial said.