There is a widespread anger and outrage in Pakistan over the latest
suspected U.S. missile strike against a terrorist target deep inside the
country. Taliban militants have threatened to launch revenge attacks
across Pakistan unless the United States puts an end to the attacks.
Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad the foreign ministry summoned the U.S
ambassador to protest the missile strikes, saying they are undermining
public support for Pakistan's anti-terror campaign.
past two months, the United States is believed to have launched about
20 missile strikes targeting al-Qaida and Taliban bases in Pakistan's
semi-autonomous tribal region that borders Afghanistan. The attacks
are said to have killed dozens of people.
The United States
neither confirms nor denies it is behind the missile strikes, but U.S.
officials are reported as saying they have killed key al-Qaida
operatives in Pakistan in recent months.
On Wednesday, a
suspected U.S. missile strike hit a target outside the tribal area in
the district of Bannu. The strike killed several al-Qaida-linked
That strike, which was deep inside Pakistan
outraged the government and opposition parties. U.S. ambassador Ann
Paterson was summoned to the foreign ministry to receive a strong
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq says the
U.S. ambassador was told these attacks must be stopped.
"So [the U.S.]
ambassador of course, she was summoned," he said. "This is a diplomatic
step. She assured us that she would convey our concerns and our
position to the U.S government."
Earlier, speaking in the
National Assembly, parliament's lower house, Prime Minister Yousaf
Raza Gilani called the missile attacks "intolerable", saying they are
counterproductive for Pakistan's war against terrorism and are adding
to his government's problems.
Mr. Gilani voiced hope that
President-elect Barack Obama's administration will show more restraint
and these attacks will be stopped.
But critics of Pakistan's
government allege a secret deal between Islamabad and Washington has
paved the way for U.S. missile strikes inside Pakistani territory, a
charge Prime Minister Gilani and other officials have denied.
opposition leader in the National Assembly, Nisar Ali Khan, says mere
criticism of the missile strikes on part of the government is not
"Over the last five weeks the number of drone attacks
has multiplied," he said. "We should say enough is enough. We should
send a clear message to our friends, the Americans, that in case there
is another drone attack then we should review the facilities for
transit that we have provided to our American friends for passing
through the territory of Pakistan"
Meanwhile, Taliban militants
in the North Waziristan tribal region have threatened to carry out
suicide attacks on foreigners and official targets if there are new U.S.