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Pakistan protests against NATO aerial engagements

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad,Sept 27 ,IRNA -- Pakistan has strongly protested to ISAF/NATO on the two incidents of aerial engagements from the Afghanistan side into Pakistani territory by ISAF/NATO helicopters, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan says that the airstrikes into Pakistan were carried out after the militants attacked a small Afghan security outpost near the border.

The spokesman justified the rare NATO strikes based on 'the right of self-defense'.

“These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said.

“The said mandate “terminates/finishes” at the Afghanistan border. There are no agreed “hot pursuit” rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable,” he said in a statement.

He said ISAF/NATO has been asked not to participate in any military action that violates the UN mandate and infringes upon Pakistan’s sovereignty. “In the absence of immediate corrective measures, Pakistan will be constrained to consider response options”.

The spokesman said Pakistan has always emphasized the need for coordinated and joint action against forces inimical to regional and global peace.

“Pakistan has boldly and at a great cost countered terrorists. Element of trust followed by capacity enhancement of Pakistan’s armed forces was stressed. The demarche has been relayed to NATO Headquarters in Brussels,” he said.

Meanwhile Interior Minister Rehman Malik Monday described as violation of the country’s sovereignty the NATO helicopters airstrikes into Pakistan, which reportedly killing more than 50 militants.

A senator from the main opposition Muslim League (N) party led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, agitated the issue in the Senate, upper house of the parliament, and termed the strikes as a serious issue.

Senator Zafar Ali Shah asked the government to inform the House as to what action has been taken to protest against the violation.

The Interior Minister while responding to the opposition lawmaker’s remarks said the Foreign Ministry has been asked to formally lodge a protest with the NATO forces.

“It is an attack on our sovereignty,” Malik told the Senate. He said the Foreign Office is investigating the incident and will lodge a formal protest.

The Interior Minister assured the House that the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad is likely to be summoned to lodge a protest at the NATO launched strikes from the Afghan side.

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