INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan denies pact on U.S. attacks

Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan denied on Wednesday that it had an agreement with the U.S. on Predator drone attacks on its territory, and called for “closer cooperation” to deal with the problem of militancy.

The denial followed remarks by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates that the drone attacks at suspected militant targets inside Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan would continue and that this decision had been conveyed to the Pakistan government. “There is no understanding between Pakistan and the United States on predator attacks,” said the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.

Mr. Gates’ remarks were part of his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Asked by Chairman Carl Levin what his reaction was to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s protests against drone attacks, the Defence Secretary, who also served in the same post in the previous administration, said: “I think the strikes that are being undertaken are — well, let me just say both President Bush and President Obama have made clear that we will go after Al-Qaeda wherever Al- Qaeda is and we continue to pursue them.” When Senator Levin asked him if that decision had been conveyed to the Pakistani government, Mr. Gates replied: “Yes, sir”.

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said Pakistan had done “more than any other country” in dealing with the Al-Qaeda threat.

Recommended for you