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US has no permission to launch drone strikes: Gilani

October 29, 2011

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. – File Photo

PERTH: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Saturday categorically said there was no permission given to the United States to launch any drone strike against any target inside Pakistan's territory.

“There is no such permission,” Gilani told a large group of Pakistani expatriates. The prime minister is here on a four-day visit to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, that is being attended by over 50 world leaders.

The Prime Minister said such attacks were counterproductive because of the collateral damages caused as these were undermining government's efforts to get the unanimous support of the masses against the extremists and terrorists.

He said drone strikes were one of the reasons of tense relations between Pakistan and the United States of America.

He said Pakistan has also conveyed to the United States that the unilateral military operation, such as the operation of May 2 to get Osama bin Laden, would not be acceptable.

Prime Minister Gilani, who also had an interactive session with the community members, said there has been a sea change in the country's foreign policy towards terrorism as a result of the vindication of his vision of three Ds, dialogue, development and deterrence.

“There has been a paradigm shift in the policy between a democratic government and a dictatorial regime,” he said and added that now the people of Pakistan and the Parliament were the ultimate arbitrators to take important decision of national importance.

“Unlike the policies of the past when things started rolling with a single telephone call from the United States of America, now we seek mandate of the Parliament and take decisions with consensus.”

He said it was for the first time that the Army Chief and the DG (ISI) briefed the Parliament which had never happened before in the history of the country.

He mentioned the Swat operation that went ahead, after the reluctance of the Taliban leaders to honour their commitment for not indulging in any unlawful activities.

“Their defiance led me to take army operation against the militants and the people wholeheartedly supported the government throughout,” he added.

The Prime Minister told the Pakistani expatriates that the nation stood united to eliminate extremist and terrorist elements from the country regardless the sacrifices, adding, they had suffered over 35000 causalities.