Pakistan said that the US is not heeding its call to stop drone strikes, even after repeated calls.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister said that the Unites States is still using drones to attack militants inside the country, although the repeated attacks are feeding anti-American sentiments. Furthermore, the country feels that the drone attacks are also violating the country’s sovereignty and also injure civilians.
The comments on the drone attacks were made by Pakistan’s foreign minister as a two day visit by the US’s special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan was being scheduled. The envoy, Marc Grossman is supposed to hold bilateral talks with officials from the Pakistan government, and also meet with officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The meetings are meant to revive talks with the Taliban which had stalled.
The talks are also meant to improve relations between the US and Pakistan after it reached an all time low when the United States Special Forces hunted and killed Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s leader. A NATO attack in Afghan that killed 24 soldiers from Pakistan did not also help improve the worsening relations.
The Pakistan parliamentary committee, after reviewing its ties with the United States, came up with a number of demands, of which a cessation of drone strikes by the US was one. Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s foreign minister said that the US should adopt other methods to get rid of militants- mostly found in the border region of Pakistan, and Afghan- other than use drones. A commander in Pakistan’s northwest said that a viable alternative would be for the US to share intelligence so that Pakistan’s F-16 jets could target the militants.
Nonetheless, the relations between the United States and Pakistan have not been so rosy. This is since the two nations seem to move from one crisis to the next, because they continually disagree on aid, security, and even the future of the country.
The United States concern over the future of the country has not been unfounded since from time to time attacks on government installations and civilians are carried out, and government officials continually flout the law. A case in point is the recent conviction of the country’s PM over contempt of court orders. Interestingly, the PM did not serve a second in jail for willfully disregarding the Supreme Court’s orders.
The court case in which the PM, Yousaf Raza Gilani got convicted, stemmed from his refusal to write a letter to Swiss prosecutors to open a money laundering case against the president, Asif Ali Zardari. This has led to the argument from the opposition in Pakistan that the PM should step down since any person convicted in a court of law is barred from holding public office.
Furthermore, the current Pakistani government is hugely unpopular, and the recent conviction of Gilani has led to increase tensions and political instability. Therefore, the current argument in the country is whether elections should be held to replace the PM, or a replacement should simply be sought in order to ensure that there is continued stability in the country.
Video by PressTV: