Pakistani minister slams US drone strikes
Paris: Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday attacked the United States' ongoing bombing campaign against suspected militant leaders in his country.
US military and intelligence agencies fly pilotless
aircraft over areas along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan,
firing missiles at targets suspected of links to the Taliban
or to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan, which is fighting its own campaign against the
militants, has long criticised the strikes, which have been
stepped up since President Barack Obama was elected and which
have reportedly killed around 700 civilians.
But many observers say that Islamabad, while publicly
condemning the drone attacks, is secretly cooperating with the
US campaign and has provided a base from which some of the
raids are operated.
"Well, if you talk of drones, our whole nation has
condemned them. Our four regional assemblies, our national
assembly, our senate all passed unanimous resolutions saying
no to drones," Malik told France 24 television.
"We said to the United States: 'You are a great champion
of democracy, and here is a small democratic country with all
voices saying stop the drones. I think the US must listen and
must stop the drones," he said.
"If they give us real time information we're quite
capable of handling Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. If we are
given the information I assure you that we have the capability
to take the necessary action against him."