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Pakistan Says US Drone Attacks Violate Its Sovereignty

Pakistan said on Friday that U.S. drone strikes amounted to violation of the country's sovereignty and undermined efforts to combat militancy and terrorism.

Responding to repeated questions on drone attacks‚ Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said at a weekly news briefing in Islamabad that there was no question that they amounted to the violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

"Pakistan has been using all diplomatic channels to bring an end to the strikes that are damaging our efforts against militancy and terrorism. Voices are also being raised in the West against these illegal drone strike," he said.

Basit said Pakistan was taking the issue "forcefully" with the United States and hoped that the U.S. would revisit its policy toward that end. "It is high time that the illegal use of drone attacks are stopped."

About options available for stopping missile attacks by these unmanned aircraft‚ the spokesman said "we are waiting for the completion of the parliamentary process on the new terms of engagements with the U.S." In the guidelines of the Parliament‚ "we will move forward and take up the issue with the U.S."

Rejecting existence of any joint mechanism between Islamabad and Washington on the drone strikes‚ Basit said the "country's sovereignty is non- negotiable and any arrangement where our sovereignty is compromised is not acceptable." To a question‚ he rejected the notion that any of Pakistan's base is being used for the drone strikes.

U.S. President Barack Obama has recently justified drone attacks as it helped eliminate terrorists nestling in the inaccessible mountains of the Pak tribal belt. Drone strikes had killed a number of militants in the rugged mountains bordering Afghanistan.

On the Afghan issue, Basit said all stakeholders in Afghanistan reconciliation process should demonstrate perseverance‚ patience and sincerity of purpose for a durable solution.

Asked about the suspension of Taliban-U.S. talks‚ he said the Afghan reconciliation process was intricate and ups and downs in it were inevitable. However it is important that all the parties demonstrate patience and perseverance to achieve the objective of a sovereign‚ independent and stable Afghanistan.

The spokesman said Pakistan on its part would continue to encourage all the parties toward intra-Afghan consensus as was underlined by the Prime Minister in his February 24 statement.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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