‘Limitations’ bar Pakistan from resisting drone attacks
By Muhammad Bilal
ISLAMABAD: The government could not resist unabated US drone attacks in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas because of ‘certain limitations’, Leader of the House Raza Rabbani told the Senate on Monday.
He told the Upper House during a heated debate that Islamabad could not shoot down American spy planes because of limitations that he did not elaborate.
But Rabbani assured the House the government would not compromise on the country’s sovereignty and integrity.
Responding to Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Prof Khursheed Ahmed, he said it would be premature to draw the conclusion that US President Barack Obama would continue the previous US administration’s strategy to carry out drone strikes inside Pakistan.
While Prof Khursheed said the US had made 80 drone attacks killing more than 100 civilians since the PPP-led government took charge, Rabbani said only 32 attacks had taken place.
The leader of the house denied the federal government had been ‘apologetic’ about the attacks and cited the strong protest it had conveyed to the US ambassador after two strikes in Waziristan on Friday.
He said the government believed any action inside Pakistan must be carried out by Pakistani forces, and Washington should share with Islamabad any credible intelligence that it has.
The JI senator called Friday’s attacks “the Obama administration’s first gift to Pakistan”, lamenting that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had said such strikes would stop after the new administration took charge in Washington.
He said Pakistan should block supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan if the US made any more drone attacks. The airforce chief had said on record, the senator claimed, that Pakistan had the capacity to shoot down the American spy planes.