Pakistan working on new policy to stop US drone strikes: Aziz

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 13:50

Islamabad: Pakistan is working on a new policy to stop US drone strikes, which are a contravention of the country`s sovereignty and counter-productive for the campaign against terrorism, a top aide to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday.

A new policy is being evolved to stop drone attacks and Pakistan is hopeful that it will succeed in ending the campaign by the spy planes, said Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security.

Responding to a call attention notice on drone strikes in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament, Aziz said the government is working seriously to end drone attacks.

Pakistan has already conveyed its "serious concerns" over drone strikes to the US and it will continue to raise the issue at all forums, he said.

Aziz, who has the status of a federal minister, said the issue will also be raised with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is likely to visit Pakistan next month.

Pakistan has adopted a clear policy on drone strikes which are "counter-productive" in countering terrorism and a contravention of the country`s sovereignty and integrity, he said.

Prime Minister Sharif, in his first speech to the National Assembly, had categorically demanded an end to drone strikes, Aziz pointed out.

Pakistan also lodged a strong protest over the drone attacks with the US on June 7.

Giving details of drone strikes within Pakistani territory, Aziz said 115 attacks were carried out in 2010, 62 in 2011 and 45 in 2012. Thirteen attacks have been carried out so far this year, he said. One drone attack was carried out after the current government assumed office.

"Instead of pursuing a policy of threat, we need to resolve this issue through talks," said Aziz, who served as Foreign Minister during Sharif`s last stint as premier.

Aziz said the drone strikes are creating hindrances in forging better relations with the US. Pakistan will raise this issue at the highest levels with the US, he added.

Reports have for long said the Pakistani military and the previous Pakistan People`s Party-led government had tacitly backed the CIA`s drone campaign while criticising it in public.

Waliur Rehman, the deputy chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, was among those killed in the latest drone strike.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 13:49

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