‘US drone attacks in Pakistan counter-productive'
Lahore: US drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal
areas are counter-productive as they violate the country's
sovereignty and result in civilian casualties which cause deep
resentment and fuel militancy, President Asif Ali Zardari said
Zardari made the remarks during a meeting with visiting
US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who arrived in
Pakistan this morning for talks aimed at resetting the
relationship between the two countries.
Earlier in the day, Nides met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani, who insisted that new rules of engagement with the US
must respect Pakistan's sovereignty.
The Pakistan-US relationship should be based on
transparency, mutual respect and mutual interest in order for
it to be "long term and sustained", Zardari said during his
meeting with Nides at the Governor House in Lahore.
The President is currently on an official visit to
Pakistan attaches great importance to its relationship
with the US and the two countries "have mutuality of interests
to pursue", Zardari said.
The government is now awaiting the completion of a
parliamentary review to reset the ties with the US, he added.
The government ordered the review after a cross-border
NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last
Nides said the US recognizes Pakistan's role in the fight
against militants and wants to restore multifaceted
cooperation and relations.
Rebuilding trust and confidence between the two countries
is essential for pursuing common objectives, Nides said.
The US respects the parliamentary review process in
Pakistan and looks forward to its early completion, he said.
Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, Zardari said
narco-trafficking and narco-financing were among the major
challenges that need to be tackled urgently.