New envoy: Drones impede Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace, says Nawaz

Published: May 31, 2013
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File photo of Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

File photo of Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Prime minister in-waiting Nawaz Sharif has said that a solution to the controversial drone campaign in the tribal areas must be sought to win Pakistan’s support in the Afghan exit strategy, in a meeting with the new US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan James Dobbins on Thursday. 

The PML-N president said that a cessation of drone attacks was crucial for such diplomatic and strategic cooperation, sources told The Express Tribune.

Dobbins is the first senior high-ranking American official to visit Pakistan following the May 11 elections that won the PML-N a majority in the National Assembly.

During his election campaign, Nawaz had voiced concerns over the CIA-led drone campaign and said he would raise the issue with the Obama administration.

On Thursday, Nawaz was able to directly convey his disquiet to a senior US official over the strikes for the first time.

The meeting came just a day after a US drone strike killed TTP second in command Waliur Rehman in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA). The attack was the first since the May 11 elections followed soon after the new policy guidelines approved by US President Barrack Obama promising stricter targeting guidelines for the use of drones.

Sources say Nawaz Sharif informed Dobbins that Pakistan would facilitate US-led foreign forces to withdraw from neighboring Afghanistan. But he cautioned that the policy of carrying out unilateral strikes in the tribal areas could make it difficult for his government to win necessary support for the Afghan endgame.

Nawaz also said Pakistan would support an ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ peace process. “We have no favourites in Afghanistan and our policy will be to allow Afghans to decide their future themselves,” a party official quoted the PML-N leader as telling the US envoy.

The US Special Representative also met Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.

Moreover, Dobbins spoke to President Asif Ali Zardari via telephone, according to a statement by the US Embassy.

Ministry statement

According to a statement by the foreign ministry, Dobbins congratulated the people of Pakistan on the historic May 11 elections and underscored the United States’ commitment to working with the next democratically-elected government to build a strong, mutually beneficial, bilateral relationship.

During his engagements, Dobbins and his interlocutors discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including advancing shared counterterrorism objectives; increasing economic opportunities; strengthening civilian democracy and civil society; and supporting an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process.

In a separate statement issued by the foreign ministry he said during the talks discussion on bilateral relations and regional situation including latest developments in Afghanistan took place.

The foreign secretary also briefed the new US envoy about the steps taken by Pakistan for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to remain positively engaged in supporting the peace process.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Polpot
    May 31, 2013 - 9:43AM

    China sends its Premier and US sends Dobbins:)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    is Dobbins ex CIA?

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  • Mirza
    May 31, 2013 - 9:47AM

    It is a sad truth going back several years that whenever US drones kill any high value target the relationship between Pakistan and the US are strained from Pakistani side. This kind of a reaction to the death of a known terrorist does not increase the prestige of our country in the world. Why is Afghanistan not reacting to the death of any of these terrorists even though many of them are Afghans? Why are we always saddened and angry by the elimination of terrorists from OBL to TTP number two?

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  • Raj - USA
    May 31, 2013 - 10:01AM

    Pakistan government has a reward of Rs. 2 million on Waliur Rehman. US should claim this reward.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 31, 2013 - 10:06AM

    Pakistan can not be called as a sovereign state until and unless US completely stops its drones attacks on Pakistan.

    The entire nation is standing behind Main Muhammad Sharif in stopping the US drone attacks.

    We do not want any more drone attacks as it kills more innocent people of Pakistan than the militants.

    Pakistan knows very well as how to combat with the militants alone, without hitting them with any drone attacks.

    Would ever US allow in its terrority that some other country should attack US with drone attacks due to one reason or the other?

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  • Shaheer Malik
    May 31, 2013 - 10:46AM

    Sir, Nation wanted clear cut stand on drone attacks as early as possible. No ifs and buts. After all you have been elected by get almost 74% votes. Protect the nation from drone attacks.

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  • A.M.Khan
    May 31, 2013 - 11:18AM

    @Raj – USA:
    Wow genius you are. Now go home and sleep and not to interfere.

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  • Ibrahim
    May 31, 2013 - 11:34AM

    Well, the reason why Pakistan is protesting is because PML N is interested in settling this dispute. Killing one or two Taliban fighters does no good to this region. Taliban are a powerful force that have undeniably emerged as the winners from this conflict. The more US attacks them, the more inflamed they become and the more they target us, and the less is the probability of any long term peace. Given that US is withdrawing( and it is safe to say that they have lost this war to Taliban) from this region, the only real solution will lie in making peace with the victors( Taliban). To the extent that the drones create a rift b/w Taliban and Pak gov, they are detrimental to Pak’s interests. US can afford to do them cuz Taliban are not sitting in their back yard. As far as the question of Afganistan is concerned then it is very clear why Karzai is not protesting. He knows he is not he legitimate leader of Afg, and he understands that Taliban are a direct threat to his rule( which is not the case in Pak), and therefore he has no issues with US targeting Taliban cuz he knows that it is either him or them.

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  • Dilip
    May 31, 2013 - 11:36AM

    @Shaheer Malik
    Yes, the drones have killed 3000+ people.
    The Taliban has killed in excess of 30000+ people.
    Both sides should call the TRUCE.
    The killings of innocent people is unjustified……….

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  • Rana
    May 31, 2013 - 11:56AM

    Drones are the best treatment to eradicate these beasts from motherland.

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  • khattak
    May 31, 2013 - 12:25PM

    @Ibrahim,,, Karzai is the legitimate & elected President of Afghanistan. Please show some respect to Afghans. We are living in the past while Afghanistan is moving forward very fast. There is no place for terrorist in Afghanistan, the Afghans are defeating them in every village of Afghanistan. It may be harsh for us Pakistanis but that is the reality. Dream on of Taliban ruling Afghanistan, dreams are for free. We can not undo the Afghan Government or its institutions & military. The international community has invested a lot & they wouldn’t allow us to reverse those achievements.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 31, 2013 - 1:17PM

    There was head money in millions on this man who was targeted by a drone attack. Why is our state and their political wings shouting for the integrity which we fail to check. OBL’s case findings are still hiding somewhere under the carpets? Why can’t we establish our own writ in the areas which are in our boundary walls?

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    May 31, 2013 - 1:43PM

    Nawaz has fulfiled his election comitment by asking US to stop Drone strik , beyond that he and his govt. is helpless . Now it is up to the terrorists to surrender their illeagal arms before the Pak army and accept the rules of the land . Otherwise Drones are not ooerating from Pakistan niether they enter in the Pak air space but can hit their target from 300 km apart . Elemination of terrorists is the mission of entire world in the region including the army of Pakistan Afghanistan and India .Withdrawl of NATO forces does’t mean that we are going to award free hand to the terrorists to operate . War against terrorists is the reality and no one can stop it now .

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  • Umer
    May 31, 2013 - 2:49PM

    What? No threat to US to stop drone attack or else? What a lion.

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  • Rex Minor
    May 31, 2013 - 2:50PM

    Nawaz Sharif has the mandate from the people to restore sovereignty of the Nation, which Musharaf leased it to the USA! How he does it will confirm his leadership of the Nation!!!

    Rex Minor

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  • Khaqan
    May 31, 2013 - 4:22PM

    @Raj – USA:
    Drone is not death angel who kill only target. In Afganistan government is american supported. And public have no access to media.

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  • Insaan
    May 31, 2013 - 4:56PM

    @Rex Minor: Nawaz Sharif has the mandate from the people to restore sovereignty of the Nation.

    I have no doubt Pakistanis are making millions of dollars (bounty money) from these drone hits.

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  • rafi
    May 31, 2013 - 5:12PM

    @Dr.A.K.Tewari:
    he is not even sworn in yet dude wake up ……………..

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  • Dr. Asad sadick, Germany
    May 31, 2013 - 5:13PM

    The second largest vote getting party and it´s supporters demand cessation of Drone attacks. Nawaz, have the guts and we will support you too.

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  • AA Salim
    May 31, 2013 - 5:57PM

    We must understand that drone program is for our own benefit. If we can not take out the terrorists who have been killing thousands of innocent people in our streets, let someone else. Rememeber Talibans will not stop bomning our schools, hospitals and streets if we somehow stop the drone attacks.

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  • ashar
    May 31, 2013 - 7:14PM

    @AA Salim:

    There are terrorist in other areas of country also who need drone attacks for correction like Lyari

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  • Unbelievable
    May 31, 2013 - 8:32PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui

    Pakistan can not be called as a
    sovereign state until and unless US
    completely stops its drones attacks on
    Pakistan.

    I might point out that almost half of Pakistan is controlled by militants/terrorist and until you actually control that territory your argument has little substance. Nobody outside of Pakistan believes you have a sovereign right to provide sanctuary to terrorist who attack your neighbors and allies – some would call it an act of war.

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    May 31, 2013 - 9:10PM

    Mohammad Rafi is in the heart and mind of each and every Indian but there are some Rafi who even do not know what they should expect from the new govt .” PEACE OF MIND ” and trancuality , So that the noble soul can rest in peace in our minds .

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  • Realist
    Jun 1, 2013 - 1:18AM

    Well after reading Mr. Sharif’s stance on drone and glancing through the comments made by my fellow citiziens, one thing is clear that most of us realize that the problem is on our side of the border – when drone strikes, millitants die and so do the civilians – who bears the responsibility of the collateral damage?? Moreover, having lost thousands of military personnel and innocent civilians in the war against terror, don’t we have a right to monitor and manage the drone program ourselves rather CIA unilaterally striking in our country?

    I am perturbed to see that we got nothing in the end even after making the most sacrifices in this war against terror…. we lost men, money and integrity!!

    none other than incompetent hands to be blamed for our predicament!

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Jun 1, 2013 - 7:30AM

    “Impede,the talks stand stalled?

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  • JSM
    Jun 2, 2013 - 5:35AM

    Each country has its strategic assets- Drones are the strategic assets of USA.

    Samajh gaye naa.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 2, 2013 - 5:41AM

    @Insaan:
    You reckon that the drones makes any difference for the Resistance which carry suicide belts around them. Nawaz shaif is a businessman, he knows that Mullah Omar will compensate Pakisan losses from the money they earn from their opium exports. And guess, who is the mporter? You guessed it right!

    Rex Minor

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  • Afghan
    Jun 2, 2013 - 12:37PM

    @Mirza: None of the terrorist that are killed are afghan or is on afghan payroll. they are found in Pakistan and killed in Pakistan or shall we call it the terror hub.

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