Drone strikes among major issues for Nawaz Sharif: VOA


Prime Minister-designate Nawaz Sharif will review anti-terrorism cooperation with the United States soon after taking oath.
A close adviser to Nawaz says the incoming government would demand an immediate end to US drone strikes on Pakistani soil for better future ties, Voice of America reported on Sunday.
The newly-elected National Assembly on Wednesday would formally select Nawaz as the country’s prime minister for an unprecedented third time.
On the home front, the incoming government is expected to look for ways to revive a deteriorating economy by addressing the severe energy crisis facing the country. But critics say Nawaz would also have to take urgent steps to ease strains plaguing diplomatic relations with the US and seek an immediate end to drone strikes on Pakistani soil, a commitment he undertook during the election campaign.
PML-N lawmaker Khurram Dastagir Khan says his party would waste no time in addressing the drone issue, in view of the widespread belief among Pakistanis that such attacks violate the country’s sovereignty and international law.
“It [drone attacks] is part of the crisis of our foreign policy and also one of the things that we are going to do in the first few days is to reassess our relationship with the United States in view of the war on terror and the participation Pakistan has so far made in the 12 years. And part of it would be, our case is very strong, that drone strikes should cease forthwith,” said Khan.
The latest US drone strike, last Wednesday, killed among others the deputy leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Waliur Rehman Mehsud. The missile attack was the first after the May 11 polls. In a written statement, Nawaz expressed “deep disappointment” over it.
Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Maleeha Lodhi, says the new government will be under immense public pressure if drone attacks are not halted.
“The latest US drone strike within Pakistan underscores the urgency of the challenge for the incoming new prime minister Nawaz Sharif to deal with this issue and Nawaz Sharif in fact publicly he has committed himself to engaging the United States in negotiations to try to end drone strikes within Pakistan’s territory. So, I think the latest drone strike only makes that challenge more urgent,” said Lodhi.
A day after the drone attack, US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan James Dobbins met Nawaz, but neither side shared details publicly with the media. Lodhi describes the meeting as significant, particularly in view of the planned withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year.
“And if Nawaz Sharif has been accurately reported in the press, he has supposed to have said to Ambassador Dobbins that if the US wanted Pakistan’s cooperation in a state of secure withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and also Pakistan’s role in the Afghan end game, then the US needed to listen to Pakistan on its drones’ policy. This is a very significant message that Nawaz Sharif has conveyed to the American visitor and what he is also signaling is that he can be expected to take a strong position on drone strikes in Pakistan,” said Lodhi.
The United States considers missile attacks by its remotely-piloted aircraft legal, saying they have weakened the al Qaeda and Taliban militants involved in cross-border raids on US and coalition forces inside Afghanistan.
Drone strikes in Pakistan have sharply decreased this year, and President Barack Obama, in a major speech on counterterrorism policy a week ago, announced the intent to further restrict drone use in the future.
The US is Pakistan’s biggest financial donor and cooperation in sectors like economy, health, education and energy has deepened in recent years. Some analysts say that since Nawaz Sharif’s priorities are really economic, he may not want to upset Washington under the circumstances.


  1. Drone kills terrorist..
    Nawaz wants to stop drone strike.
    Then who is going to fight the terrorist.
    The real issue is terrorist……

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