ISLAMABAD, April 25: President Asif Ali Zardari urged the United States on Monday to stop drone attacks and provide the technology to Pakistan's civil armed forces.
According to President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar, President Zardari was talking to parliamentarians from Federally Administered Tribal Areas at the Presidency on Monday.
The Fata delegation apprised the president of the growing resentment against drone attacks among people of tribal areas. They also informed the president about civilian casualties in the attacks.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Syed Masoood Kauser was present on the occasion.
The president emphasised the need for transferring drone technology to police and civil armed forces to carry out such attacks, the spokesman said.
The Fata parliamentarians were informed that the US government had so far made no commitment about the transfer of drone technology to Pakistan. President Zardari was of the view that the government had a clear stance that drone attacks by US forces were counter-productive and were intensifying anti-American sentiments in Pakistan, particularly in tribal areas.
“Although members of Fata delegation agreed that several top militant leaders have been killed in US drone attacks, the number of civilian casualties has become quite high, causing anti-government and anti-US sentiments in tribal areas,” Mr Babar said.
The president announced that political reforms in Fata announced on August 14, 2009, would soon be implemented to bring tribal people into the mainstream of national life.
“The President said that Fata Reforms would soon be implemented and directed Kyber Pakhtoonkhaw Governor for early implementation of reforms in consultations with Fata lawmakers,” the spokesman said.
Besides drone attacks, matters relating to, development of Fata, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) initiatives in the tribal belt, war against militancy and Fata reforms were discussed at the meeting.
The Fata parliamentarians pointed out that in addition to reforms announced on Aug 14, 2009, each Fata agency had its peculiar features and problems.
The president directed the governor to meet representatives of each agency to sort out the issue peculiar to that agency.
President Zardari directed BISP chairperson Farzana Raja to complete a poverty survey in Fata and extend all poverty alleviation initiatives and schemes under the BISP to tribal areas.
Fata parliamentarians demanded early opening of the Thallâ€“Parachinar Road whose closure had caused great problems to the people of the area.
The president constituted a committee comprising the KP governor, interior minister and Fata representatives to sort out the issue of the Thall- Parachinar road on a priority basis.
The delegation of Fata parliamentarians comprised Senator Rashid Ahmed Khan, Senator Abdul Raziq Afridi, Senator Haji Khan Afridi, Senator Abbas Khan Afridi, Senator Abdur Rasheed, Senator Maulana M. Saleh Shah Qureshi, Senator Mohammad Idrees Khan Safi, and MNAs Munir Khan Orakzai, Malik Bilal Rehman, Sajid Hussain Turi, Jawad Hussain, Mohammad Kamran Khan, Syed Akhonzada Chitan, Muhammad Noor ul Haq Qadri, Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, Zafar Beg Bhattani and Maulana Abdul Malik Wazir.