Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has conveyed the government’s ‘deep concern’ to US Ambassador Richard Olson over the drone strike in Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Foreign Office said Friday.
The official statement confirmed for the first time that November 21 attack had killed children along with several other people.
In what appears to be an attempt to dispel impression of any differences within government ranks on drone issue, the statement said, the deep concerns of the Government of Pakistan were conveyed to the US ambassador in Islamabad on the same day by the adviser.
Ever since it took over, the present government has been raising its concern over the drone strikes with the US Administration and at the United Nations, it added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to the US had also raised the issue with President Obama and other senior US leaders.
The November 21 strike targeted a location in the K-P province and also resulted in the unfortunate killing of several persons including children, the statement said. “Our deep concern in this regard was conveyed by the adviser to the US ambassador,” the Foreign Office further said, adding, “this has deeply disturbed the people of Pakistan.”
Aziz re-emphasised that the drone strikes are not only a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, these are also having a negative impact on the government’s efforts to pursue the consensus achieved in the All Parties Conference to explore the dialogue process in order to bring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.
The Government of Pakistan would demand immediate cessation of these drone strikes, the statement concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2013.