Pakistan demands end to U.S. led drone airstrikes
Pakistani parliament unanimously agrees to new diplomatic guidelines with U.S.
Relations between the United States and Pakistan - an ostensible ally,
have been extremely strained as of late. Among many other tragedies was a
November 26 cross-border NATO air attack that killed 24 Pakistani
soldiers and plunged already troubled ties to their lowest point in
years. Now, Pakistan's parliament has unanimously agreed to new
diplomatic ties with the U.S., chief among them a demand for a ceasefire
from drone airstrikes.
Information Minister Firdos Ashiq Awan did not specify a course of action when asked whether Pakistan would re-open the supply routes to Afghanistan.
Gilani did not say whether Pakistan would reopen overland supply routes to U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. Information Minister Firdos Ashiq Awan did not specify a course of action when asked whether Pakistan would re-open the supply routes to Afghanistan.
"Parliament has given us some guidelines and principles. Keeping them in mind, and the will of the people, we will soon take an appropriate position on the matter," Awan told reporters.
Gilani called upon the United States, the source of billions of dollars in military and economic aid, to respect the South Asian nation's sovereignty.
Among the national security committee's main recommendations are a halt in drone strikes and an unconditional apology for the NATO attack.
In the meantime, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States would look forward to discussing the parliamentary recommendations with Pakistan's government.
"We respect the seriousness with which parliament's review of U.S.-Pakistan relations has been conducted," Nuland said. "We seek a relationship with Pakistan that is enduring, strategic, and more clearly defined."
While Pakistani leaders have often criticized the drone program, analysts say successful strikes on high-profile al Qaeda and Taliban militants would be difficult without Pakistani cooperation.
The drone strikes fuel anti-American sentiment, are a violation of sovereignty and inflict civilian casualties, Pakistani officials claim.
The United States has been seeking Pakistan's cooperation to stabilize Afghanistan before most foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014, due to its links with the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups.
Cooperation has been difficult to secure after a series of events, even before the NATO attack, including the U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May last year which humiliated the powerful military.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: U.S., Pakistan, airstrikes, drones, diplomatic ties
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