U.S. Drone strikes unlikely to end, says Pak editorial

Islamabad, Oct. 26 (ANI): An editorial in a Pakistan daily has claimed that drone strikes by the United States in the tribal areas of the former are unlikely to stop, and adds that there is nothing new in the revelations that Pakistan governments had privately been in the know about the American drones programme and even approved it, while publicly condemning the same strikes to pander to domestic opinion.

The Daily Times editorial states: "The assertion is neither new nor devoid of substance. Ex-president Musharraf admitted in a television interview in April this year that he had given verbal approval to the drone strikes. Ex-US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson's diplomatic cable in August 2008, later leaked by Wikileaks, too confirmed this. Ex-premier Yousaf Raza Gilani and other top officials have attempted to deny this, but there is too much weight of evidence to simply wish it away."

It further reveals that the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan was used for drone flights.

The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman has tried to put the best possible face on the issue by saying whatever past implicit agreements may have existed on the issue, the present government neither subscribes to them, nor is willing to retreat from its stand that the drone strikes violate Pakistan's sovereignty and are counterproductive.

The editorial further says that though Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sounded optimistic that the drone strikes issue will be settled soon, there is the opposite sense emanating from Washington.

It concludes that Washington may have made reassuring noises on both, but is unlikely to do more.

"The positives of the visit are the fact that it took place at all. Both sides committed to understanding each other's concerns and addressing them." (ANI)

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