Pakistan lodges protest, stresses ‘immediate end to US drone strikes’

Published June 8, 2013
A key Pakistani Taliban commander, Mutaqi alias Bahadar Khan, was killed along with six suspected militants in the US drone strike Friday night in Shawal tehsil of North Waziristan, intelligence officials told Dawn.com on Saturday.—File Photo
A key Pakistani Taliban commander, Mutaqi alias Bahadar Khan, was killed along with six suspected militants in the US drone strike Friday night in Shawal tehsil of North Waziristan, intelligence officials told Dawn.com on Saturday.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR: Pakistan summoned the US Charge d’ Affaires, Ambassador Richard Hoagland to the Foreign Office on Saturday to register a strong protest against the latest US drone strike in North Waziristan on Friday.

“It was conveyed to the US Charge d’ Affaires that the Government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes which are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said a press release by the Pakistani Foreign Office.

“The importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes was emphasised,” it said.

Hoagland was summoned to the Foreign Office in Islamabad on Saturday evening on the instructions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s, and was handed a demarche in this regard, said a press release by the Pakistani Foreign Office.

Key Pakistani Taliban commander killed

A key Pakistani Taliban commander, Mutaqi alias Bahadar Khan, was killed along with six suspected militants in the US drone strike Friday night in Shawal tehsil of North Waziristan, intelligence officials told Dawn.com on Saturday.

Missiles from the US drone struck a suspected militant compound in Gubez village of North Waziristan’s Shawal tehsil when a pick-up truck arrived from the bordering area of Afghanistan around 9:00 pm.

According to intelligence intercepts, the militants led by Mutaqi alias Bahadar Khan were planning to cross over into Afghanistan via Pash Ziarat valley, a strategic corridor linking the South and North Waziristan Agency and considered a gateway to Afghanistan.

The Pash Ziarat valley is considered a strategic area previously controlled by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants.

Friday’s drone strike was the first such attack since Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister earlier this week.

In his inaugural address to parliament, Sharif called for an end to US drone strikes on Pakistani soil, which many view as a breach of Pakistan's sovereignty.

The bombing came 10 days after a similar US drone attack killed the Pakistani Taliban's second-in-command, Waliur Rehman, and six others in a major blow to the militant group.

President Barack Obama said last month the United States would scale back drone strikes, only using them when a threat was “continuing and imminent”.

—With reporting by Zahir Shah Sherazi in Peshawar.

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