US envoy summoned to register protest against drone strikes


To register its protest against relentless CIA drone strikes in the tribal belt, Pakistan on Tuesday summoned a senior US diplomat and told him that those attacks were “unlawful” and a violation of its sovereignty.
US charge d’affaires Richard Hoagland was called to the Foreign Office to officially convey the government’s serious concern on drone strikes in the Pakistani territory, said a Foreign Office statement. It said the US diplomat was told that the drone strikes were “unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. The statement further said that Pakistan had repeatedly criticised the drone strikes, calling them counter-productive. It said, “The parliament had emphatically stated that they were unacceptable. Drone strikes represented a clear red-line for Pakistan,” it said.
The fresh protest from Islamabad came after a surge in drone attacks over the last few days. On Monday, a drone strike was reported to have possibly killed senior al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi, second top figure in the network. Abu Yahya, a Libyan citizen had a bounty of $1 million on his head. However, the US officials could not confirm the death of senior al Qaeda leader in the drone strike, and restricted themselves to saying that he was the intended target. A diplomatic source seeking anonymity said the surge in drone attacks was meant to pressurise Pakistan to settle the row between Islamabad and Washington over blocked NATO supplies.
Pakistan stalled NATO supplies last year in November after US aircraft attacked Pakistani border posts and killed 24 soldiers. Islamabad and Washington are currently engaged in hectic talks aimed at the reopening NATO supplies but no tangible progress could be made so far besides covering some ground in ironing out their differences. The issue of NATO supplies and drone strikes would be discussed by the country’s top military brass in the Corps Commanders’ meeting likely to be held today (Wednesday).