Nawaz Sharif calls for halt to US drone strikes

Islamabad, June 5 (IANS) Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his maiden speech shortly after his election by parliament, asked the US Wednesday to stop drone strikes in the country's northwest tribal regions.

"We respect the sovereignty of other countries and they should also reciprocate us," Sharif told the National Assembly.

"We all have to devise a common strategy to overcome this issue also."

The US frequently used pilotless aircraft to launch missile attacks on what it said were the hideouts of militants blamed for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan, reported Xinhua.

Pakistan insists that the US drone strikes are counterproductive and cause civilian casualties.

Analysts say the issue of drone strikes will remain one of the major challenges to Sharif as the US is in no mood to change its campaign.

Sharif stressed that the drone campaign must come to an end.

"We must learn others' concerns about us, and express our concerns about them, and find a way to resolve this issue," he said.

"These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop," he added.

He said the country is faced with multiple challenges, including power outages, price hike, unemployment, economic recession, lawlessness, terrorism, corruption and image problem in the comity of nations. He said his government accepts these challenges but will not make hollow slogans to hoodwink the people.

Sharif said the country is facing grave challenges which cannot be solved by any single party, inviting all the political parties to come on a common agenda and give proposals to resolve the issues.

He assured that the new government will give due weight to their proposals to steer the country out of crises.


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