Pakistan condemns drone strike; Nato's Quetta route 'briefly' blocked

Published December 26, 2013
Activists of PTI patrol on a road leading to the Afghan border to stop Nato supply trucks. – AP Photo/File
Activists of PTI patrol on a road leading to the Afghan border to stop Nato supply trucks. – AP Photo/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday condemned the US drone strike that killed at least four suspected militants in North Waziristan last night, saying such attacks were a violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

At least four suspected militants were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at an alleged militant compound near Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal agency of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.

“There is an across-the-board consensus in Pakistan that these drone strikes must end,” said a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

“Such strikes also set dangerous precedents in the inter-state relations,” it said, adding the strikes had a negative impact on the government’s efforts to bring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.

Meanwhile, about 150 supporters from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) party on the outskirts of Quetta briefly blocked trucks carrying supplies for Nato forces heading toward Afghanistan, said a senior police official Abdul Rauf.

But he said police ordered them to allow the trucks to proceed.

Trucks carrying Nato supplies pass through Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan province, before going through the Chaman border crossing – one of two routes used for supplies.

The other route, already been blocked by PTI-led protesters, is further north going through tribal governed FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – the troubled Pakistani province ruled by the PTI.

The American drone program is extremely unpopular in Pakistan because it is perceived as killing innocent civilians, which the US denies. Many in Pakistan also consider it an affront to their sovereignty but the US has shown no indication it is willing to halt the program.

Angered over the strikes, PTI supporters have been protesting along a main road used to truck Nato troop supplies in and out of Afghanistan for the past month, forcing the US to stop shipments out of Afghanistan.

Imran Khan has urged the federal government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to force the US to end drone attacks and block Nato supplies across the country.

“We briefly stopped some of the Nato trucks this morning, but now we are just holding a peaceful rally against the drone attacks,” said Abdul Wali Shakir, a spokesman for the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) which also attended the rally, demanding an end to the drone strikes.

Drone strikes have been a source of tension between Islamabad and Washington.

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