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Ahmad Noorani
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: As another drone attack killed more than 20 people on North Waziristan on Monday, all leading political parties of the country unanimously declared that these attacks were tantamount to compromising the sovereignty of Pakistan and the government and the Pakistan Army should take immediate measures to stop them.

 

Leaders of these parties said the government and authorities should sort out the matter in accordance with parliament’s unanimous resolutions and take action against the extremists by itself wherever it is needed.

 

Senior leaders of these leading political forces say that compromising the sovereignty of the country would lead to making Pakistan a banana republic and foreign forces will keep on extending their targeted areas of attacks which consequently will damage the unity of the already troubled nation.

 

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Pervaiz Rashid while talking to The News said that PML-N chief has taken up the issue of drone attacks with every visiting US official in last two years and made it clear to them that these attacks are hurting Pakistan’s sovereignty.

 

He said that each and every press release issued after any such meeting contains reflection of this PML-N protest. “The most important thing is that what we are saying while speaking to press is the same what we ask the Americans. You will never find that we will issue a public statement on an issue and will tell exactly the opposite to the Americans,” Pervaiz said apparently pointing towards a WikiLeaks cable according to which Gilani was found telling a US diplomat that we will oppose drone attacks only in parliament and will remain quiet outside the parliament.

 

Pervaiz Rashid said that government and defence establishment should devise a clear policy to get rid of drone attacks. “PML-N will be standing behind the federal government and armed forces of Pakistan on whatever strategy they adopt against the drone attacks,” said the spokesman for the second biggest political party of the country. “We are not suggesting any strategy at our own as some points of the issue are technical,” Pervaiz said and added: “Like if we say that Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) should shoot down any drone which came in their radar range, we don’t know whether radar of PAF have the capability to see these drones.”

 

Professor Khursheed Ahmad, senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), while talking to The News gave a complete strategy for the government and Pakistan Army to tackle the issue of drone attacks. He said sovereignty cannot be compromised and his party has stated from the very first day that drone attacks by US CIA, either from Afghanistan or from bases within Pakistan, are against the sovereignty of the country.

 

Prof Khursheed suggested a three-phase strategy saying that first thing is to adopt a firm resolve by the government as well as Pakistan Army that drone attacks are unacceptable. He pointed out that this resolve is not there and instead there is collaboration and assistance. Air chief and chief of army staff is on record that they were following orders of the political leadership so the whole responsibility will fall on the government.

 

Prof Khursheed said that the final step would be to shoot the drones if the attacks continue. “I don’t think so that there will ever be need of this final steps as I believe that US will accept the sovereignty of Pakistan if we follow initial two steps,” he said.

 

The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan gave detailed insight of US war on Afghanistan and its repercussions in Pakistan. Imran said Pakistan’s rulers are unable to understand that US needs Pakistan’s help. He said: “US is stuck up in Afghanistan. Obama’s policy is headed for a disaster. This was purely a military policy and nine years of military action in Afghanistan has deteriorated the situation.”

 

“It is because, US is fighting against Taliban which are not an ideological group but their fight against Americans has been changed into a Pashtoon resistance. And this shows US is fighting against a population which simply means that it is a never-ending-war. So US is fully stuck in Afghanistan,” the PTI chief said.

 

Another major problem with us, Imran said, is that Pakistan is having the duplicity at home and its government is deceiving the people. He said that Bob Woodward’s book Obama Wars has quoted Zardari as telling CIA director: “Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.”

 

Senior MQM leader Mustafa Azizabadi while talking to The News from London said that MQM considers drone attacks as attacks on Pakistan’s sovereignty and believe that the government should take immediate actions to stop this. Mustafa, however, was of the view that political parties could do nothing on this count as some institutions can play key role for stopping these attacks.

 

Haji Adeel, senior leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), told The News that his party was against drone attacks. He said that either these are Americans or Arabs or Chechens, every one should come to Pakistan or take any action inside Pakistan with our permission and not doing so will be directly hurting our sovereignty. Adeel, however, was of the view that economic and defence independence is a must to live like respectable nations in the world. He said: “If we are taking financial and military aid from US, it is very difficult to protest them for such kind of attacks.”

 

Spokesman for the JUI-F Maulana Amjad told The News that his party was against the drone attacks and has always pushed the government to take a strict stance against US to stop these drone attacks which directly hurt the country’s sovereignty.

 

Senior PML-Q leader Mushahid Hussain Syed while terming drone attacks as attacks on Pakistan’s sovereignty said that these attacks are tested, tried and failed thing and never produced any results. He said that drone attacks have so far been failed to hit top al-Qaeda leadership and Osama bin Laden and Dr Ayman Al-Zawahiri are still alive.

 

He said that ground situation is same and there is no decrease in militancy and rather it is increasing day by day. He said that drone attacks are killing civilians at large scale, hurting Pakistan’s sovereignty and Pakistani government is lying with its own people.

 

He said that General Kayani in his written response to Obama has clarified that only political solution of the situation could be viable. He said that there should be only two-point strategy; stop lying and stop the US in firm words.