‘Formal’ protest: US envoy summoned over fresh drone surge

Published: August 24, 2012
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Despite Islamabad’s
repeated protests,
the Obama
Administration is not
willing to halt the CIA
drone campaign in
the tribal areas. PHOTO: FILE

Despite Islamabad’s repeated protests, the Obama Administration is not willing to halt the CIA drone campaign in the tribal areas. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

In what has become somewhat of a hollow ritual, Pakistan on Thursday once again summoned a senior US diplomat to lodge a formal protest over yet another spike in drone attacks inside the country’s tribal belt.

According to an official statement, a senior US diplomat, who was not identified, was called to the foreign ministry to convey Pakistan’s concerns over the CIA-piloted drone campaign.

“The diplomat was informed that drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It was emphatically stated that such attacks were unacceptable,” the statement read.

The CIA, in recent days, has increasingly targeted the restive North Waziristan Agency, which the US claims is a hotbed of the deadliest Afghan insurgent group, the Haqqani network. There have been drone strikes reported on a daily basis for the last week.

The increase in drone strikes comes despite a recent visit by the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence to Washington, where he is understood to have raised the issue with US authorities.

Thursday’s incident is not the first time that Pakistan has condemned and lodged a formal protest with the US over the deadly predator strikes. As recently as last month, the senior-most US diplomat in Pakistan, Richard Hoagland, was summoned in a similar manner to protest against a series of drone strikes.

The protest seems to have had no effect.

At least nine suspected militants were killed on August 22, when drones targeted a vehicle in the Sheen Khwar area on the outskirts of Humzonee village, around four kilometres from Miramshah. The area is thought to be a stronghold of anti-US militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Washington has been pushing Islamabad for years to carry out a military offensive in the area against the Haqqanis, who have launched some of the most audacious attacks on the US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Despite Islamabad’s repeated protests, the Obama Administration is not willing to halt the CIA drone campaign in the tribal areas — notwithstanding Islamabad’s offer of a new mechanism suggesting use of drones only for surveillance.

Recently, the Bloomberg website quoted two US officials as saying that US President Barack Obama has ordered a “sharp increase” in drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal area.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 24, 2012 - 5:06AM

    You got to be kidding me, this PPP government had OKd the drone attacks when they came in to govern this unfortunate country called Pakistan and if any one recalls that ex- PM Gilani has told US ambassador to Pakistan that they could carry on the drone campaign while he would make noises in the Parliament and would ignore it , he could not have said it if he did not have the blessing from Zardari and Kiyani. If they are so opposed to the drone attacks now then they should give orders to the PAF to shoot them down, Iranians did. It seems they are hoodwinking the nation and getting nervous since the elections are around the corner.

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  • AnisAqeel
    Aug 24, 2012 - 5:33AM

    We are protesting on what basis, Is it that drone killed terrorists or destroyed house accommodating and planning next terrorist attack to kill innocent people!!!
    If we want to eliminate terrorism, announce reward for each terrorist killed and show the people and the entire world that we are sincerely trying. This is war of Pakistan’s existence and we must do all what we can to eliminate this cancer.

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  • SomeoneFromSomewhere
    Aug 24, 2012 - 6:44AM

    Jokers!!

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  • Fahim
    Aug 24, 2012 - 10:09AM

    Why don’t you summoned SSP, LJ, Jeash Muhammad and jammat-u-dawah over their so called PEACEFULL activities in Pakistan

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  • Super Star
    Aug 24, 2012 - 11:33AM

    Actually the summon was to have more tea and new fresh biscuits . Also some kebabs.Recommend

  • Lark
    Aug 24, 2012 - 4:36PM

    Are you all missing the word “SUSPECTED”. Now we kill people because we THINK they might be doing or will in the future something wrong. I suspect that you just like the thought of killing people by remote control.

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