Pervez Musharraf admits secret deal with US on drones
Islamabad: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has admitted that his government had secretly signed off on US drone strikes.
This is the first time a top past or present Pakistani official has admitted publicly to such a deal.
Pakistani leaders long have openly challenged the drone program and insisted they had no part in it. However, Musharraf, during an interview in Islamabad, insisted Pakistan`s government signed off on strikes "only on a few occasions, when a target was absolutely isolated and no chance of collateral damage", reports the CNN.
Musharraf`s admission that Pakistani leaders agreed to even a limited number of strikes counters their repeated criticism of a program they long claimed the US was operating without their approval, the report said.
The drone strikes, which have killed at least 1,990 people in Pakistan, including hundreds of civilians, are unpopular in Pakistan.
Former interior minister Rehman Malik had said last month that the world superpower is having its own way, without any consent from Pakistan.
Despite such pronouncements, there`s been speculation that the story might have been different behind the scenes.
In a cable sent in August 2008 and later posted online by WikiLeaks, then-US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson mentioned a discussion about drones during a meeting that also involved Malik and then-Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
US drones began launching attacks in Pakistan in 2004, by which time Musharraf had been president for five years after taking power in a bloodless coup.
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