Pak to raise issue of drone strikes during Kerry's visit



Islamabad: Pakistan will raise the issue of US drone attacks in its tribal belt during US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the country later this month, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary said at his weekly briefing that exact dates and agenda of the visit are being finalised by the two countries.

To a question, he said the US drone strikes constitute breach of Pakistan's sovereignty, violation of international law and human rights besides being counter-productive to the fight against terror.

"The issue has been taken up with the United States and it would also be taken up again in forthcoming contacts with the United States."

Shortly after being elected Prime Minister, Sharif had said the attacks by US drones in Pakistan's tribal belt should stop.

He described the attacks as a violation of the country's sovereignty.

The strikes by the CIA-operated spy planes are criticised by the Pakistan government as counter-productive for the war on terror.

US officials say the drones are a vital weapon in the campaign against militants.

PTI