Nearly 3000 die in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan: official
IRNA – Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Feb 9, IRNA — A top Pakistani told a parliamentary committee that about 3000 people have been killed in the U.S. drone attacks after the operation started in 2004.
Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in Islamabad that 80 percent of those killed in drone strikes were armed militants
“We cannot bear the fallout of shooting down drones,” Mr Jilani said on Friday while listing the options available for Pakistan to deal with US drones violating Pakistan’s airspace.
He said Pakistan’s policy for dealing with drones is two pronged — reiterating the policy position that drone strikes were counter-productive and a violation of international law; and holding talks with the US for getting them stopped.
But, he underscored that the best possible option for Pakistan was to rid its tribal areas of all foreign militants.
Jilani’s comments hours after an American spy aircraft killed at least seven people in South Waziristan tribal region.
“We need to have a comprehensive policy for expelling all foreign fighters having sanctuaries in the tribal regions,” Mr Jilani said.
He said dialogue with the United States is the only way to resolve the issue of drone attacks, adding that the international community is supporting Pakistan on drone attacks.
About the release of Taliban prisoners, Jilani told the committee that Pakistan had started releasing Taliban prisoners on the request of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and High Peace Council.
The first batch was released during the visit of a delegation of the council to Islamabad last November.
The secretary, however, denied any international pressure behind the decision to release Taliban detainees.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are separately setting up a commission to look after the issue of ordinary prisoners being held in each other’s jails.
“We would send lists of Taliban prisoners that we intend to release to the Afghan High Peace Council which would comment on the names in those lists,” Jilani said.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80537694