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

Breaking Banner

McConnell blocked by his own party from calling impeachment witnesses Trump wants for Senate trial: report

Published

on

According to a report from the New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is finding his hands tied by members of his own party who are skeptical over the appropriateness of calling some the witnesses Donald Trump  -- and a few of his House Republican enablers  -- want to appear.

As the Times notes, "While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ted Cruz hammered as ‘Putin’s stooge’ after humiliating himself on NBC to push Kremlin propaganda

Published

on

In a column for the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin in publically shamed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his conversion from Cold War Russia critic to unabashed "Putin stooge" after his performance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Speaking with NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday, Cruz attempted to push what has been described as Kremlin propaganda, asserting that "there is evidence of Ukraine interference in our election because an op-ed was written criticizing Trump’s campaign rhetoric about Ukraine." 

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Chinese diplomats unleashed to pummel the reeling Trump administration: report

Published

on

According to a report from Politico, Chinese diplomats have been unleashed, as well as urged, to attack Donald Trump's administration and the U.S. in general via social media like Twitter -- turning the president's favorite social media platform back on him.

"The tactic comes as China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reportedly urged his diplomats to adopt a 'fighting spirit,' which has led to Chinese diplomat Lijian Zhao to describe "America as 'unjust, 'inhumane' and 'hypocritical.' He’s gone so far as to slam neighborhood segregation in Washington, D.C., and assert that 'racial discrimination, gun violence, violent law enforcement are chronic diseases deeply rooted in U.S. society," Politico reports.

Continue Reading