Quantcast
Connect with us

Pakistan asks U.S. to end drone strikes, remove mistrust

Published

on

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday reiterated demand for ending US drone attacks on militants in its tribal areas and called for removing a “trust deficit” with the United States.

Zardari’s remarks came after talks with US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman, who arrived in the Pakistani capital on Friday for meetings with top officials.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They discussed bilateral relations, the fight against militancy, the regional situation, drug trafficking and drone attacks,” presidential spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar told reporters.

Zardari “reiterated his call for an end to the drone attacks, terming them counterproductive in the fight against militancy and in the battle of winning hearts”, Babar said.

“We need to discuss alternatives on the question of drone attacks,” Babar quoted Zardari as saying.

Zardari said “the goal of establishing a long-term, sustained and durable Pakistan-US equation would remain elusive until the issue of trust deficit was addressed in an effective manner”.

Attacks by unmanned US aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but American officials are said to believe they are too important to give up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also held talks with Grossman and said his country regarded its relations with the United States as “very important”, and that Pakistan valued it as a major development partner.

“We have a shared objective in fighting terrorism and need to cooperate more to get rid of this menace,” said a statement issued by Ashraf’s office.

Grossman had said future relations between Pakistan and the United States should be based on market access and trade, it said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The US government was working on a bilateral investment treaty to “facilitate” US investment in Pakistan and improve market access, according to the statement, adding Washington has promised 200 million dollars for the construction of the Diamer-Basha dam in northern Pakistan.

A statement issued by the US embassy in Islamabad said Grossman had also held talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani and parliamentarians.

ADVERTISEMENT

The US envoy also raised the case of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who was jailed in May for 33 years after he was arrested following the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US troops a year earlier.

However, the statement did not mention the response by Pakistani officials.

The US had earlier admitted Afridi was working with US intelligence by collecting DNA to verify bin Laden’s presence in the northern town of Abbottabad — although he was eventually jailed for alleged ties to a warlord.

ADVERTISEMENT

The relationship between Islamabad and Washington has been rocky for years, and relations have only just resumed after nosediving following the raid that killed bin Laden and an air raid that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops.

Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt as the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

Grossman in the talks also addressed the issue of an anti-Islam video produced in the United States and circulating on the Internet that has led to protests in a number of countries.

He stated very clearly, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has done, “that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video”, said the embassy statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

The movie, “Innocence of Muslims”, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent. A mob stormed the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday, killing the US ambassador and several other staff, as part of a wave of protests over the video across the Islamic world.

Separately, the Pakistani foreign ministry in a statement said Khar will visit the US from September 18-22.

Khar will hold talks with Clinton and other senior US officials, and also meet with lawmakers, academics and visit think-tanks, it said.

She will later proceed to New York to join a delegation led by Zardari to participate in the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly session, it said.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

As much of US marks a muted Independence Day, Trump encourages big parties

Published

on

While public health officials are urging Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted July 4 celebrations amid a spike of coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump is going big for what he is promising will be a “special evening” in the nation's capital.

Trump is set hold his “Salute for America” celebration Saturday with a speech from the White House South Lawn that he says will celebrate American heritage, a military flyover over Washington, and an enormous fireworks display that is expected to draw thousands to the National Mall.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

COVID-19 close to overwhelming Houston’s vast healthcare complex

Published

on

Despite its claim to host the world's largest concentration of hospitals and research labs, the city of Houston is dangerously close to being overwhelmed by the explosion of coronavirus cases sweeping across Texas.

Since the Memorial Day weekend in late May and major anti-racism protests in June, "it is an unbelievable trajectory," as if the flood gates had opened, said Faisal Masud, director of critical care at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Masud has been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 since it reached Houston.

"This has been relentless for us," he told AFP. "We didn't get a break."

Continue Reading
 

COVID-19

Paris’s Louvre reopens on Monday after lockdown losses of ‘over €40 million’

Published

on

The Louvre in Paris, the world's most visited museum and home to the Mona Lisa, reopens on Monday but with coronavirus restrictions in place and parts of the complex closed to visitors.

The Louvre has been closed since March 13 and this has already led "to losses of over 40 million euros," its director Jean-Luc Martinez said.

Among more than 10 million visitors in 2018, almost three-quarters were tourists.

"We have lost 80 percent of our public. Seventy-five percent of our visitors were foreigners," Martinez said.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image