The sovereignty mantra: Pakistan says no accord with US on drone strikes

Published: March 17, 2012

FO spokesperson reiterates demand to end drone strikes inside Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan on Friday denied reports that it was willing to agree on a joint mechanism with the United States to carry out drone strikes in tribal regions to take out ‘high value’ targets associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.

Drone strikes inside Pakistan are illegal and these should be stopped, he demanded.

“Moreover, we firmly believe that these strikes are damaging our efforts against militancy and terrorism,” Basit said.

The US policy of using unmanned aerial vehicles in the tribal regions has stoked widespread anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. And even though Islamabad has publically condemned drone attacks repeatedly, it is believed to have an understating on the issue with Washington. The spokesman, however, denied the existence of such an understanding, insisting that the government had been pushing the US to revisit its policy of using drones in the tribal areas.

“We have been taking this issue forcefully with the US and with other Western countries. But, unfortunately, that has not happened,” Basit said, adding that Pakistan would take up the matter with the US once Parliament completes its review to rewrite terms of engagements with the US.

US-Taliban talks

The spokesperson was not taken aback by the Afghan Taliban’s decision to pull out of talks with the US. “Reconciliation in Afghanistan is not a linear process. Since it is intricate and complex, ups and downs will be inevitable,” he said.

He went on to add that it was important for all stakeholders to be patient, perseverant and sincere to the purpose of reconciliation, adding that everyone’s eyes should be on the objective which is to achieve a sovereign, independent, peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

In this spirit, he said, Pakistan would continue encouraging all parties towards an intra-Afghan consensus to achieve a durable political settlement that accords with the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012. 

Reader Comments (14)

  • MarkH
    Mar 17, 2012 - 10:18AM

    There are so many things wrong with what he said my head is going to explode if I try to decide where to begin.

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  • Chill
    Mar 17, 2012 - 10:23AM

    Wake up PAF… there is no agreement on drones..
    These high ups holding key positions in Pakistan think that all Pakistanis are fool.

    If PAF cannot even down an unmanned air craft, can you expect them to down enemy combat air craft??? Our taxes were snatched for nothing..

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  • Tariq
    Mar 17, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Why are they not shot down? Drones are unmanned. Given the value placed on a single American life by US as a society, shooting down an F16 that was doing this is disastrous. But an unmanned drone is just money. If Pakistan really wants this, why dont they shoot these pieces of equipment down?Recommend

  • Waziristani
    Mar 17, 2012 - 10:32AM

    Dear Basit. You are right that drones is violating Pakistani sovereignty but there is presence of foreign militants in Waziristan. Is not it violate your sovereignty? To me, it is not a matter of sovereignty but drones is purging your strategic assets i.e. al Qaeda and Taliban. You cannot make fool the world forever.

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  • Mahmood
    Mar 17, 2012 - 11:06AM

    Mr. Basit – So given the fact that the drone strikes continue without the knowledge of the government (as you say), are you implying that those protecting our borders are simply incompetent ?

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  • Sukhjinder
    Mar 17, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Pakistani military just got a fresh batch of upgraded F16′s from the US. I think that took care of the drone problem.

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  • usman
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @waziristani This is logical fallacy. If the foreign militants are violating our sovereignty, our army is fighting them, so if drones are violating it, why are we silent.

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  • Waziristani
    Mar 17, 2012 - 2:05PM

    @usman:
    With due respect I know Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy.They have selected approach i.e. Good Taliban and Bad Taliban. You need primary data on FATA.

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  • Mar 17, 2012 - 3:30PM

    Its too late Pakistan, NATO attack killing 23 troops was a message “we are not ur friends anymore we are coming for you in near future”

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  • well-wisher
    Mar 17, 2012 - 7:43PM

    Since no drone has been shot down so far tells the whole story about the claim made by the FO.

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  • Singh
    Mar 18, 2012 - 2:54AM

    1971
    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.
    Bangladesh born
    2013
    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.

    Baluchistan in pain

    2015
    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.
    Mohazirstan in Pain

    2017
    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.
    Fata in Pain

    2019

    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.

    Sindhudesh in pain

    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.

    2021

    “We have been saying all along that Pakistan’s sovereignty is non-negotiable. Therefore, we cannot think of, let alone accept any arrangement whereby our sovereignty is compromised,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing.

    Bahawalpur Riast

    & story goes on.
    Good luck with every adventure.
    Singh

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  • Tony C.
    Mar 18, 2012 - 5:54AM

    I can only reiterate what most of the other comments are making very plain. It is abundantly clear that Abdul Basit is either telling lies, is misinformed or is a fool. Pakistan has a top quality, very well trained and efficient air force with top of the range fighters, and an equally good electronic surveillance system. Perhaps the odd drone could get through, but they have been killing and maiming Pakistani citizens for so long now that even the slackest air force in the world would have bagged a drone by now. The bottom line is that the U.S. is violating Pakistan sovereign territory, and if America can do it with impunity it really means the Pakistan Government has handed their authority over to them.

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  • Babbarsher Khan
    Mar 18, 2012 - 7:30AM

    @usman:
    PAF and the Army lack courage! The defense establishment in Pakistan can make money through businesses, topple elected governments and do everything under the sun except doing what it is supposed to do, defending its borders, maintaining sovereignty (under attack from foreign militants and foreign incursions). It can also makes unsubstantiated claims about Israeli and Indian intelligence agencies being responsible for all the internal troubles. When it comes to its core responsibility it simply does not know what is that!

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  • Harry Stone
    Mar 30, 2012 - 8:21AM

    @Tariq:

    It pretty simply the drones can be armed with air to air missiles which are more advanced than anything the PAF has. The US/NATO would have better C3I and the PAF would start to lose its beloved F16s which it needs more to deter India.

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