“There is no question that Pakistan will allow drone attacks in Balochistan or any other part of the country,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly media briefing in Islamabad. “We are asking the Obama administration to revisit its drone policy as it is counterproductive.”
However, the spokesman did not comment when asked about media reports suggesting that Pakistan’s military leadership had permitted the US to maintain the presence of its Marines in Quetta, the city that Washington claims is being used by Afghan Taliban as a launching pad for their cross-border attacks.
Basit said that Pakistan welcomed last week’s announcement by Nato that it would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in phases but cautioned that it should not be in a way that plunges the war-torn country into a long civil war.
“We do not expect coalition forces to stay in Afghanistan forever,” he said, maintaining that Pakistan would welcome the withdrawal as and when it happens.
“But we do not want Afghanistan left in a situation that there is propensity of plunging into chaos and anarchy once coalition forces are gone. We hope by 2014 they would be able to develop the Afghanistan army and other security forces to take control of the country,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2010.