US drone strikes violate sovereignty, says Pakistan

Islamabad, May 24 (IANS) Pakistani government Friday reiterated its opposition to US drone strikes on its territory, saying the strikes were “counter-productive” and “entail loss of innocent civilian lives”.

The statement came from the Pakistan foreign ministry, hours after US President Barack Obama defended the use of the drone missions as self-defense against militants.

Addressing the National Defense University in Washington Thursday, President Obama defended the use of drones and said: “We are at war with an organisation that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first.”

Pakistan reiterated its opposition in a statement, saying: “The Government of Pakistan has consistently maintained that the drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.”

The ministry’s spokesperson, however, appreciated Obama’s acknowledgement that “force alone cannot make us safer”.

“This also has been Pakistan’s long-standing stance that a comprehensive strategy was acquired to address the root causes that foster terrorism and extremism,” he said.

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