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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan wants complete halt to US drone attacks: spokesperson

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Feb 6, IRNA -- Pakistan said Thursday it wants complete halt to the American drone attacks instead of decreasing the frequency.

Comments from the Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam came after US media reported that the Obama administration has sharply curtailed drone strikes in Pakistan after a request from the government there for restraint as it pursues peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

Talks between the negotiators from the Taliban and Pakistan government started in Islamabad on Thursday to explore ways to end bloodshed in the country.

Pakistan has earlier accused the US of sabotaging its peace talks with the Taliban after an American spy aircraft killed the Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in November.

While commenting on a report by the Washington Post that the US has decreased drone attacks in Pakistan, the Pakistani foreign Ministry spokesperson said that her country wants a complete halt to these attacks.

Pakistans stance over drone strikes is lucid that they are unacceptable as they kill innocent people and are in violation of Pakistans sovereignty," she told weekly press briefing.

Ms Aslam said Pakistan has consistently discussed this issue with the United States and demanded that these violations of territory should stop. She said our voice on drones has also been endorsed by the international community.

Tasnim Aslam said commenting on negotiating with the Taliban, she said it is internal issue of Pakistan.

Responding to a question of death of Indian fisherman in a Pakistani prison this week, she said he was ailing for quite sometime.

On Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, she said the project still exists, however, there were some technicalities regarding its timeframe and financing which needed to be discussed with Iran. She said realistically Pakistan is seeking new timeframe.

In March, former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and then Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had performed groundbreaking of the long-awaited $7.5 billion gas pipeline project.

The project will deliver 750 million cubic feet of gas per day to Pakistan by Jan 2015. Pakistan will have to pay a penalty if it failed to implement the project. However, Islamabad now seeks extension in the deadline to avoid penalty.

To a question, the spokesperson said bus service on Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir has been restored while it is expected that truck service will be restored soon.

The services were suspended last month after driver of a Pakistani truck was arrested in the Indian-controlled Kashmir over accusations of smuggling. Pakistan later stopped Indian trucks on its part of Kashmir.

The Pakistani spokesperson said her country has accepted Indian proposal of early convening of working group to discuss LoC trade in order to revisit the modalities in this regard.

Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan wants to resolve all disputes with Indian through dialogue for sustainable peace in the region.

On visits of Saudi high officials, she informed that Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman arrived on a two-day visit to Pakistan on Thursday. During his stay, he will meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other officials.

**2050



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