press trust of india
Islamabad, 4 July
A day after a US drone strike killed 18 suspected militants, Pakistan today warned America that continuation of the attacks by the CIA-operated spy planes in the country’s restive tribal areas could lead to a direct stand-off between the two nations.
Talking to reporters in Islamabad, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan has conveyed to the US that this stand-off could have serious implications on its forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the post-withdrawal situation. “The US drone attacks are not only violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty but are resulting in collateral damage which are not acceptable at any cost,” Mr Khan said.
Yesterday’s attack in North Waziristan shows the US is in no mood to halt the strikes despite Pakistan’s public condemnation of the attacks. Talking about internal security, the interior minister said the government has decided to convene a meeting of leaders of major political parties possibly on 12 July to formulate a comprehensive National Security Policy to bring peace and overcome menace of terrorism. He said issue of possible dialogue with the Taliban will also be discussed in this meeting which will also be attended by the heads of civil and military security agencies as the government is “determined to bring peace at all cost with the support of all stakeholders”.
He said issue of detention camps and missing persons will also be addressed in the National Security Policy.
He said 3 task forces have been formed to look into the issues of national security missing persons and return of Pakistani woman Afia Siddiqi, who has been sentenced to over 80 years in jail by a New York court for firing at US soldiers while in custody in Afghanistan.
The interior minister said that it has been decided that none of the international agencies or foreigners could directly interact with Pakistani officials without proper permission from the concerned authorities.
IMF loan to boost growth
Pakistan today asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5.3 billion, three-year loan to boost growth in a bid to rebuild foreign exchange reserves and combat both an energy crisis and a sliding currency. The move, comes just weeks after the new government was sworn into office after May elections.