Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said US drone
attacks in its tribal belt had become a "core irritant" in
bilateral relations and top Pakistani leaders have clearly
conveyed this position to their American counterparts.
"Drone attacks have become a core irritant in the
counter-terrorism campaign," Foreign Office spokesperson
Tehmina Janjua told a weekly news briefing.
She was responding to a flurry of questions about a
missile strike carried out in the restive Waziristan tribal
region yesterday, less than two days after a key meeting
between the heads of the US spy agency CIA and Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence during which Islamabad reportedly
asked for the halting or limiting of attacks by the CIA-
operated unmanned planes.
Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir lodged a "strong
protest" about yesterday`s attack, which killed six suspected
militants, during a meeting with US envoy Cameron Munter.
Janjua made it clear that Munter was not summoned to
the Foreign Office. The protest was conveyed to him during a
meeting that was scheduled earlier, she said.
Pakistan attaches "immense importance" to its
relations with the US and discussions were being held on the
US drone attacks as part of talks on counter-terrorism
measures under a multi-track engagement between the two
countries, she said.
"Discussions go on between the two governments on
counter-terrorism and we have made our position very clear on
the issue of drones...Our position on the drone attacks has
been repeatedly and clearly stated by the leadership,
including the President and Prime Minister, to each and every
US dignitary or US administration representative who has
visited Pakistan," Janjua said.
The drone attacks emerged as a fresh irritant after
the CIA-operated spy planes targeted what Pakistani officials
said was a tribal jirga last month. The attack killed over 40