‘End drone strikes, then we’ll discuss NATO routes’

Published: April 12, 2012

PML-N chief says world needs to take Pakistan’s interests into account. PHOTO: Express/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has said that it is “imperative to sit with the government on matters of national interest” – and that his party has asked the government to seek an end to drone strikes in return for reopening Nato supply routes.

Nawaz’s comments at a press conference on Wednesday came a few days after he met with US Ambassador Cameron Munter. The PML-N’s opposition is a key roadblock to the passing of a resolution by Parliament, which will ultimately lead to reopening of Nato supply routes through Pakistan that have been closed since November last year.

The recommendations by Parliamentary Committee on National Security were supposed to be debated and then passed by a joint sitting of Parliament, but the consensus pursued by the government on the sensitive matter has been elusive given the PML-N’s opposition. The matter has been pending for over three weeks now in the session – but there are reports of an impending breakthrough.

“We have informed the government about the policy of the party to seek guarantees for an end of drone strikes,” he said and clarified the party’s decision to re-join the Parliamentary Committee on National Security saying: “On matters of national interest, it is imperative to sit with the government.”

In an apparent retort to US President Barack Obama’s demand that the Pakistani government respect Washington’s security needs while reviewing its foreign policy, Nawaz said the world needed to be mindful of Islamabad’s concerns as well.

“We do not want to live in isolation… we have to live with the world. The world should take care of our concerns and respect our sovereignty and independence as well,” Sharif said. He added that the message had already been conveyed to US Ambassador Cameron Munter and British High Commissioner Adam Thomson.

He, however, suggested that Pakistan and the US should sit together to address each other’s concerns and find an amicable solution.

Call for Early Elections

Reiterating his demand for holding early elections, the PML-N chief said that the government has miserably failed to deliver and the only solution was early elections.

“The nation can no longer tolerate the incumbent rulers, who are known for their corruption,” he added.

Rejecting the notion that his party was a “friendly opposition”, he said, “If we were, then President Zardari would not have used harsh language against us (when in Lahore recently).”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • imran
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:53AM

    i hope they back words by action. every day we have big words from these politicans but when it come to action, they blame it here or there.

    not a fan of any polticial party, i just want me country to be free of USA and corruption.

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  • ihtisham
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:01AM

    Ishaq dar has already signed the agreement in the parliamentary committee on security. NATO supply will open with the consensus of pml(n). Just doing u scratch my back i will urs outside parliament. Topi Drama.

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  • Hindustan Ki Shakti
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:03AM

    THATs really a sensible talk in the nation’s favour and at the same time self esteem is mantained.

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  • Kaleem
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Its not a bad deal actually – Stop drones, resume supplies, our innocents are being killed in drones. We have been allowing NATO supplies for years anyway.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:32AM

    So… forget about the route and increase drone strikes.

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  • Farooq
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:34AM

    *Main Saab * Please do not make fool of us for God Sake. In meeting you will agree to resumption of NATO supply even the drone attack continue.You are also planted by US

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  • Mirza
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Sharif is coming around after meeting the real people.

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  • Blithe
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:34AM

    @ihtisham:
    Ishaq Dar has been censored within PML N.
    He is increasingly seen as too dovish and easily acquises to
    treasury demands.

    Ch. Nisar is now far more important now than Dar.
    Nawaz Sharif is more in Ch. Nisar camp than Dar camp.

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  • salman
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:43AM

    Thanks to IK and PTI, Nawaz Sharif now knows what drones are and what they do….

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  • Imran
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Drone Strikes are against Pakistan’s Sovereignty so it must be stopped.Our Leaders should unite for Sovereignty of our Country, National Interests should be preferred on Individual Interests and they should work together for Prosperity of our Country.

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  • Assad
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:00PM

    SO now where are the PML N fans who would abuse Imran Khan for being a Taliban/Establishment agent when he organized the anti drone dharnas?

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  • Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:27PM

    what a game by losses , this was IK s stand now he is following the same, but internally Mr.dar agreed with PPP to resume supplies, all this are fake statements only..

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  • Ahmad
    Apr 12, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Salman…just tells IK and PTI to do a favor of themselves and stop hiding behind PMLN always.

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  • Kaleem
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:24PM

    PTI followers seem obsessed with IK. He took stand against US in 1998 and made us nuclear power, I am not his fan and seriously think he should resign from politics now, but we should start appreciating good things.

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  • Bitter reality
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:37PM

    I dont know why readers lose their senses before they comment on any news and forget the relevance of the topic. Because what I observed in comment section
    1 If it political news (any kind) it will end on PTI zindabad, either its relevant to the political topic or not
    2 If its showbiz news (Let say Hollywood) it will end on veena mailk when it comes to comment section
    3 If its Cricket news (Even IPL) in comment section readers will conclude finally Muhammad Amir is a good bowler
    4 If its religion news (Any type) readers will prove finally in comment section that Mullahs are the greatest threat to Pakistan
    Please for God sake, First analyse what is delivered to you then respond accordingly

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  • Azmat Ali
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:39PM

    This is appreciable words by Nawaz Sharif!!!

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  • Blithe
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:03PM

    @Assad:
    PML N have consistently been against drones… and well before IK’s so called tsunami claims.

    Anyway , this article is not about IK.
    I don’t know why PTI trolls just want to trivialize issues
    by bringing Tsunami Khan into everything

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  • G. Din
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:17PM

    This is the quirky Pakistani way of requesting an increased frequency of drone strikes. Should suit US eminently. I am trying to convince Pakistanis: folks you just don’t hold the cards to win anything and it is time you stopped wasting time of everyone, including yourself, by trying to bluff your way out of a conflict you just cannot win.

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  • Nasir
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:23PM

    Drones strikes must be increased – our country is infested with extremists and our politicians are in self denial

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  • Thoughtful
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Nato supplies and no drones. Ok. What happens when the supply route is no longer needed? Drones ok then? 2014is not that far and no one expects the Taliban on either side of the border to go away by then. faces drone attacks with no Nato supply issue.

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  • Jibran
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:02PM

    @Blithe:
    “Nawaz Sharif is more in Ch. Nisar camp than Dar camp.”"

    And Mian Nawaz was supposed to be the leader, with others being in his camp. Your statement suggests that previously Dar, but now Ch. Nisar is leading the party, and Nawaz is there only for the lip service?

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  • Jibran
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:08PM

    @Blithe:
    “I don’t know why PTI trolls just want to trivialize issues by bringing Tsunami Khan into everything”

    And what about the PML-N trolls? ….

    I’m curious: Do you happen to be “Maryam Nawaz Sharif” given your PML-N Jiyala like statements, and that she is supposed to be spending her energies on e-propaganda these days.

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  • Blithe
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:39PM

    @Jibran:
    It happens . Often different power centers emerge in the same party.

    PML N party workers at present are very wary of Dar
    as he has been relenting too easily to Treasury benches.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 12, 2012 - 8:15PM

    In case you didn’t notice the USA made an official statement indicating that drone attacks are going to continue until Pakistan gets off it’s duff and eliminates the safe havens in the tribal territories. All the chest thumping speeches in the World are not going to change that policy – so if going to tie drones to the supply route it’s going to remain closed. The USA has already made a deal with Putin as it’s backup plan — what’s your backup plan?

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  • Apr 13, 2012 - 8:32AM

    O, Man you playing sweet double game – do nothing yet enjoying luxiours living – these are our leaders, Mushraf has taught him lesson he is forgetting…..!

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