ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that America has assured Pakistan that drone strikes will not be carried out during talks with the Taliban, Express News reported on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj quoted President Obama as saying that America does not want 70 percent of Pakistanis to hate it, but it was desperate.
He added that when the issue of protests against late Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud‘s killing was brought up, America said that he was already on their hit list.
Hakimullah Mehsud, the young, ferocious and vengeful chief of TTP had survived at least two US drone strikes in the past. However, on November 1, his luck ran out.
The TTP ruled out the possibility of peace talks with Pakistan as Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Swat Taliban, was named the new chief on November 7.
Politicians had earlier decried the strikes as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the peace process.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central information secretary Shireen Mazari had said that peace can not be restored in the country unless government parts ways with the US-led war on terror.
“This attack (the drone strike that killed Hakimullah) has showed who does not want the stability in the region,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had said.
The Pakistan People Party’s (PPP) chief Opposition whip in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah had also termed the strike a bid to sabotage the peace process, a day before a delegation was due to travel to Peshawar to initiate talks.
Shah had said the drone strike would delay the proposed peace process with Taliban. He had added that a drone attack at this crucial time indicates the US does not want to establish peace in the region.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Faz (JUI-F) chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman had also strongly condemned the drone attack and termed it as conspiracy to sabotage the dialogue process.
Officially, the government had condemned the drone strike on November 1.
“A remotely piloted US aircraft fired two missiles at a house in the Dandi Darpakhel area, one kilometre north of Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, around 7:15pm,” a security official had told The Express Tribune on November 1.
They had said six suspected militants were killed and two others injured in the strike. Local tribesmen had identified the other victims as Hakimullah’s cousin Tariq Mehsud, his driver Abdullah Mehsud and his personal guards.