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Pakistan forcefully takes up drone attacks with US: spokesman

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 26, IRNA - Pakistan has taken up the issue of American drone attacks inside the tribal regions very forcefully with the United States, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Thursday.

“Pakistan has reiterated that the drone attacks were counter productive and not helpful in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” the spokesman told the weekly news briefing in Islamabad.

The spokesman’s remarks came just few hours after a US drone fired missiles in South Wazirisan which killed at least seven people.

Officials say that US has carried out over 30 drone attacks on the tribal regions since August last year to target the hideouts of the suspected militants. But the government and tribesmen say that civilians are killed in most of such strikes.

Pakistan was expected the Obama administration will change the drone attacks policy but the new CIA chief said last month that the attacks would continue.

Analysts say that the new US administration will step up drone attacks in coming days as the US plans to send around 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan this year.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman dismissed reports that drone attacks were being carried out with tacit permission of Pakistan and said how a country can allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be breached.

“Pakistan has been cooperating sincerely as an ally, and the United States will understand its concerns and review its policy accordingly,” Abdul Basit said.

The spokesman said the whole issue of campaign against terror needs to be reviewed and there is need for a comprehensive regional approach in order to resolve the issues involved. “Instead of use of force there is a need to win hearts and minds of people”.

He said Pakistan believes that force has not worked in the past and will not work in future and therefore it is absolutely important that all stakeholders work towards promoting development and national reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He expressed the hope that there would be some positive outcome of the issues involved including drone attacks in the US policy review on terrorism being announced tomorrow.

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