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PTI leader slams COAS for `just` condemning drone strike

By Syed Irfan Raza 2017-06-16
ISLAMABAD: A key Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader has strongly condemned the first US drone attack inside Pakistan under the administration of President Donald Trump and demanded that Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa take some action instead of verbally criticising it.

PTI chairman Imran Khan condemned the attack in strong words while the party`s chief whip in the National Assembly, Dr Shireen Mazari, on Thursday expressed `dissatisfaction` over Gen Bajwa`s response to the drone strike in Hangu earlier this week.

According to media reports, the Monday night strike killed a Haqqani network militant Abubakar and his partner in the Speen Tal area of Hanguin Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

`We don`t expect the COAS to simply term the US drone strike on Hangu as counterproductive,` Dr Mazari said in a tweet.

She also slammed what she called the army chief`s delayed reaction over the drone strike. The army chief`s statement came Wednesday night two days after the strike.

She said the military should defend the country`s territory against all attacks and intrusions, including US drone strikes. `Action, not words, needed. The COAS is expected to act, not just condemn three days after attack,` she added.

According to the InterServices Public Relations (ISPR), Gen Bajwa had said: `Unilateral actions, like drone strike, are counterproductive and against the spirit of cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan.

Earlier, Imran Khan condemned the Hangu attack and said that it violated Pakistan`s sovereignty with impunity and was against the international law. He also asked if the government of Pakistan consented to such strikes.In the past the US drone strikes in Pakistan had raised tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

Gen Bajwa`s comments on Wednesday indicated that the two countries could again be at odds over the operations.

Following a US drone strike in Balochistan`s Dalbandin which killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had described the action as a violation of Pakistan`s sovereignty.

However, he is silent on the recent drone strike which is the hrst one by President Donald Trump`s administration against Pakistan.

The US began carrying out drone strikes in 2001, af ter 9/11, under the administration of then president George W. Bush and according to media reports 424 drone attacks have so far been conducted in Pakistan since 2004 in which over 2,500 people have been killed, including civilians.