US drone attacks violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty: Rabbani
* Parliamentary committee chairman says parliament should send strong message to visiting US envoy
* Says objections to committee’s pace will be negated
ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Monday termed US drone attacks in Pakistani territory against the sovereignty of the country and demanded an immediate end to such attacks.
“The committee feels that since Richard Holbrooke, the special US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is in the capital, a strong message should go from parliament that it will not compromise on its sovereignty,” Senator Raza Rabbani told reporters after chairing the committee meeting at Parliament House. He said drone attacks were counterproductive and the Pakistan government would take up the issue with the new US administration aggressively at every available forum. “The foreign minister will raise this issue with Holbrooke during their meeting,” he added.
“Being a representative of a democratic government, we hope Holbrooke will respect the sentiments of Pakistan’s parliament. The committee has made it clear that drone attacks inside Pakistan are unacceptable,” he said. He said the committee had made substantial progress during Monday’s meeting and hoped it would finalise its interim recommendations by today (Tuesday). “I hope that these recommendations will be submitted before parliament in the forthcoming sessions of the National Assembly and Senate,” he added.
Not slow: Rabbani said Senator Afrasiab Khattak had briefed the committee on the latest law and order situation in FATA and NWFP. However, he refused to share details with reporters, saying these were in-camera briefings. He also dispelled the impression the committee was moving at “a snail’s pace”. “We do not have a magic wand. It is a very complex, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional issue involving state and non-state actors. We are trying to prepare workable recommendations keeping all aspects in view. All objections in this regard will be diluted when interim recommendations come forward,” he added.
To questions about the public flogging of a girl by Taliban in Swat, the senator said it was not appropriate to discuss this issue, as the Supreme Court had already taken it up. He said law enforcement agencies were also conducting an inquiry into the matter.