Pakistan files formal protests to stop US drone attacks in north
Islamabad—Pakistan on Tuesday summoned U.S. envoy to the Foreign Ministry to lodge formal protest with him over series of drone strikes in the country’s tribal region, officials said.
The protest came a day after two U.S. spy aircraft fired missiles in North Waziristan tribal region and killed at least 16 people. The Monday’s strike was the third in Waziristan Tribal Areas in three days.
“US Charge d’Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. He was officially conveyed the Government’s serious concern regarding drone strikes in Pakistani territory,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“He was informed that the drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” a statement said.
The statement recalled that the Parliament had, in April, emphatically stated that the drone strikes, were unacceptable.
“Drone strikes represented a clear red-line for Pakistan,” the US diplomat was told.
The Foreign Ministry said that a second and separate demarche was lodged with Ambassador Hoagland on the seizure of unauthorized weapons that were in possession of US diplomats in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
“He was informed that the carrying of unauthorized weapons by diplomats was un-acceptable and contrary to both Pakistani law and accepted norms of diplomatic conduct,” the statement said.
The U.S. has stepped up drone strikes in recent days and also on Sunday U.S. drones fired four missiles on a house in South Waziristan area, leaving ten people dead including two suspected militants.
Also on Saturday, four people were killed when U.S. drones attacked a house in Ghowa Khowa area of South Waziristan. Anti-U.S. sentiment runs high in the Pakistani nation basically stemming from suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s border region which are regarded as a violation of the country’s sovereignty and have killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Pakistani authorities repeatedly condemned U.S. drone strikes in its territory but the United States has never stopped such attacks in Pakistan’s tribal area.
At least 151 people have been killed in 20 drone strikes launched in northwest tribal area of Pakistan since the beginning of this year.