Islamabad, Nov 3: Pakistan Saturday summoned US ambassador to the foreign ministry and lodged a formal protest over the drone strike which killed Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, the foreign ministry said.
“In order to register our concerns, the US ambassador was called to the foreign office by the foreign secretary to register our protest over the recent drone attacks,” Xinhua quoted a foreign ministry statement as saying.
The latest drone strike will have a negative impact on the government’s initiative to undertake a dialogue with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), it said.
The government, however, is determined to continue with these efforts to engage with the TTP to bring an end to the ongoing violence and make them a part of mainstream politics within the parameters of the constitution, it said.
The statement said Pakistan has made its position clear to the US ambassador that drone strikes constituted a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, violative of international humanitarian laws, besides being counter-productive to Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.”
The government of Pakistan has been raising its concern over the drone strikes with the US administration and at the UN. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to the US had raised the issue with US President Barak Obama and other senior US leaders.
“In accordance with our publicly stated, consistent policy, Pakistan has condemned drone strikes whenever they have taken place, including the two recent drone attacks that took place Thursday and Friday,” the statement said.
Pakistan has also decided to instruct the country’s ambassadors in the capitals of the P-5 member states to call at an appropriate level to brief the host governments on its concerns, with specific reference to the setback caused to the government’s peace process initiative by the latest drone attack.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan earlier said meetings of the federal cabinet and Cabinet Committee on National Security would be convened during the next few days to review the entire perspective of Pakistan-US relations and cooperation.
Giving background of the peace moves, the interior minister said contacts were established with Taliban and ground rules set and as a first step a formal invitation was to be given to the other side for talks.
Nisar said killing of Hakimullah Mehsud is not killing of an individual but murder of the peace in the region. He said peace moves were supported by all political parties’ religious leaders and the armed forces.
The interior minister said 9/11 was a great tragedy but questioned as to why thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in the war against terror when attackers of New York did not belong to Pakistan. He asked why Pakistan has to pay the price for the New York tragedy?
He said the US agreed not to carry out drone attacks during dialogue process but attached three conditions — Pakistan should make a formal demand for the purpose; drone attacks would not target TTP but continue against others and Hamimullah Mehsud would be targeted if spotted. “All the three demands were firmly rejected,” he said.