End drone strikes, or govt bound to ‘review’ relations, Clinton told

Published: May 28, 2011

President Asif Ali Zardari speaks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a meeting in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

The government has said that it has once again taken up the issue of US drone strikes on Pakistani territory with the visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – effectively warning her that Islamabad would be bound by a parliamentary resolution to review its relationship with Washington if the strikes continued.

However, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, at a press conference following a cabinet meeting on Friday, said that Clinton stopped short of making any commitments to stop the attacks – saying instead that she will consult with her leadership.

“The people of Pakistan, the government and parliament have made it clear that drone stikes are unacceptable. And if they continue, our bilateral relations with the US could be affected,” said Awan.

“Pakistan’s message was conveyed to the US Secretary of State and she will consult with her country’s leadership. We presented our point of view. Let’s give them some time to react to that,” said Awan.

During a special closed-door joint session of Parliament on May 13, the legislature unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon the government to review security cooperation with the United States in the event that drone strikes continue.

The resolution did not, however, specify a time period after which drone strikes are expected to stop. Most analysts believe that any Pakistani response would likely consist of halting Nato supply trucks from passing through Pakistani territory, a move that Pakistan has temporarily undertaken in the past.

Awan did not specify what would happen if the United States did not accede to Pakistan’s demand, saying only that Parliament would then meet to decide the country’s course of action.

Both the current and previous administrations have been denying the existence of any understanding between Islamabad and Washington over the drone strikes, which the US considers a key component of its strategy against terrorism. Most observers believe those denials are only to placate public opinion in Pakistan.

Pakistan has, however, requested the transfer of operational control of the drone strike programme from the United States, as a possible compromise between the US national security establishment’s goals and Pakistani public opinion, which seems more outraged at the apparent loss of sovereignty as a result of the attacks.

Govt admits security lapses

After initially denying any problems, the government admitted that security lapses were partially to blame for the attack on the naval air base in Karachi.

Awan said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik will present the preliminary report on the PNS Mehran incident to the prime minister in a few days, adding that an internal inquiry into the incident has been launched by the Navy while a separate inquiry involving intelligence officials and other stakeholders will also be conducted.

When asked about the formation of the independent commission on Abbottabad incursion, Awan said the government was committed to implementing the parliament decision.

She said: “The head of the commission is going to an independent non-controversial figure and will be decided with the consensus of all stakeholders,” said Awan.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • May 28, 2011 - 7:54AM

    Pakistan has, however, requested the transfer of operational control of the drone strike programme from the United States

    So killing innocent civilians if the trigger has Pakistani input is acceptable? Is this an admission that the drone strikes are effective, but need to be covered under a Pakistani flag? What happened to all the talk about how the drones were causing so much collateral damage?Recommend

  • Sense
    May 28, 2011 - 8:45AM

    where was Awan when they were recruiting for season of the witch?Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 28, 2011 - 9:06AM

    Can you please get her out of my face!!!!! Useless, absolutely useless. Zardari appointed her to make sure no one tuned into the news. He was right. Recommend

  • Zakaria Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 9:31AM

    Better Rehman Malik concentrates on his duty and saves country of more destructive intelligence failures.We do not need his one sided reports.Nation is sick of your government.Please leave us.Recommend

  • faisal saad
    May 28, 2011 - 9:58AM

    The drones are a real gift from Allah as they are taking out the islamic terrorists our government is too scared to eliminate.Our army can’t go into those areas where the terrorists are as it is already overstretched so these drones are the only way to kill the islamic fundamentalists who want to impose their barbaric values & beliefs on us.

    our media instead of crying all the time about the violation of soverignty should also cry about the violation of our salmiat by the thousands of arab,chechens,uzbek terrorists who’ve invaded our country & brought with them thier sick,medieval mentality.

    it’s time our army launced offensives to kill all these religious fanatics & if it can’t do it then it should let others clean up our religious filth.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    May 28, 2011 - 10:10AM

    The Pak govt has admitted lapses in security in Karachi and Abbotabad but when are they going to admit that links with militant organisations has resulted in worsening of situation in Pakistan? I sincerely hope not so belatedly, when everything has been lost. Recommend

  • faraz
    May 28, 2011 - 10:12AM

    End drone strikes or we will stop taking aid?Recommend

  • ashok sai
    May 28, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Remember Gawadar Port issue denied by China, never ever believe these ministers, they are simply powerless.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    May 28, 2011 - 10:30AM

    @faraz:
    This is a real good one, enjoyed it.Recommend

  • Anserali Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Seriously the entire nation should resolve to get rid of terrorism. The country has suffered a lot already and we will sink further if terrorism is not eliminated completely.

    Yes Pakistan needs help and technological assistance in achieving the above and it should request the world.

    also the backward areas of the country need massive development and the nation should seek help and ensure that funds are used in a transparent manner.

    There is urgency in addressing the issues.Unless this is done, the country will slide into a big chaos and may be anarchy.Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    May 28, 2011 - 11:05AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Excellent Mr.Zordari.What a beautiful begging style of saying “end drone attacks” to your worldly mater USA.In case of blockade of US aid because US has threatened you to stop aid if you resisted against drone attacks how long can you sustain and how can you control corruption from the governmental key departments to boost up Pakistan’s economy?Recommend

  • Asad Naeem
    May 28, 2011 - 11:15AM

    Well the issue regarding to drone attacks, the goverment should specify the policy to US officials and should implement that policy as well, otherwise by making the statements is just like of making the castle on the sand.
    The second point, yes there was a big security Lapse which helps the terriorist to implement their plans and attacks more efficiently. Recommend

  • Chilli
    May 28, 2011 - 11:18AM

    Anybody noticed any change in Picture?? Benazir’s photograph is replaced by Quaid-e-Azam. I think there is a change in policy??? Who knows what….Recommend

  • Bangash
    May 28, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Useless comments by govt spokesperson.Recommend

  • amarjamali
    May 28, 2011 - 11:40AM

    the american and pak govt should initiate peace dailogue with taliban and then establish better educational institutions in that area so that new generation can be saved from extreme religous thoughts.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 28, 2011 - 12:21PM

    End drone strikes, or govt bound to ‘review’ relations, Clinton told HAHAHAHAHA!!! They really developed the courage to tell Clinton this??? DOUBTS ! SERIOUS DOUBTS!!!!Recommend

  • adl
    May 28, 2011 - 12:35PM

    @faisal saad:

    AOA bro, drones are blessings ? and you taking name of Allah. I am shocked. you can only understand god forbid your family suffers the same drone strike followed by strike on janaza. please do tauba. Recommend

  • Siraj Ahsan
    May 28, 2011 - 12:37PM

    I view this with skepticism… reason being that Pakistan is fully aware that China will not be providing Pakistan with financial assistance and they need it to bridge the budget deficit. The assistance will come in form of material and with the assurance that they have the right to dump their products. We have a major trade deficit in whatever we do and it will only increase. While we maybe muscle flexing I dont think Pakistan can afford severing ties with west.Recommend

  • sk
    May 28, 2011 - 1:24PM

    yarrite!!!Recommend

  • parvez
    May 28, 2011 - 1:38PM

    Drone strikes is a non issue. Three years have passed with Act 1: Deny, Act 2: Bluster and Defy, Act 3: Cry and Submit. Curtain closes end 2012 and actors leave stage for Dubai to prepare for another comedy of errors to be inflicted on this hapless nation.Recommend

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