According to reports, a senior al Qaeda figure was the target of a US drone strike on Monday that left 15 dead in Pakistan's tribal belt.—AP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday summoned a senior US diplomat and lodged a protest over drone attacks on its northwestern tribal areas which it branded “unlawful”, the foreign ministry said.

Richard Hoagland, the US charge d’affaires, was called to the foreign ministry and was “officially conveyed the government’s serious concern regarding drone strikes in Pakistani territory”, the ministry said in a statement.

Hoagland was informed that the drone strikes were “unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty”, the statement said.

Pakistan has repeatedly criticised the drone strikes calling them counter-productive.

“The parliament had emphatically stated that they were unacceptable. Drone strikes represented a clear red-line for Pakistan,” the statement said, following a recent upsurge in the number of attacks.

A senior al Qaeda figure was the target of a US drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt, reports said Tuesday, as officials kept tight-lipped on whether he may have been among the 15 people killed in Monday’s strike.

Abu Yahya al-Libi, described by American officials as al Qaeda’s second in command but by other security experts as one of the top five members of the global terror network, is a Libyan citizen with a $1 million price on his head.

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