Pakistan's Foreign Ministry is denying that it has an understanding
with the United States for covert missile strikes against suspected
terrorists in the country's lawless tribal regions.
Foreign Ministry says "there is no understanding" between Pakistan and
the United States on missile strikes by unmanned aircraft known as
Gates: US will continue pursuing al-Qaida terrorists
Officials in both countries rarely comment on the
airstrikes against targets in Pakistan. On Tuesday, U.S. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates told lawmakers that President Obama will
continue to pursue al-Qaida terrorists and that decision has been
communicated to Pakistani leaders.
Secretary Gates did not
mention predator strikes specifically - but the unmanned drone attacks
are considered a key tactic against al Qaida militants in Pakistan.
First suspected missile strike under Obama administration was last week
first suspected missile strike under the Obama administration took
place last week. The Bush administration is believed to have conducted
about 30 such strikes in 2008.
While Pakistan's Foreign
Ministry denied there is any agreement about the strikes, officials
said they are seeking closer cooperation to deal with the country's
Last year was one of the most violent on record in
Pakistan, with local estimates of nearly 8,000 people killed
in more than 2,500 attacks.
Pakistan hopeful about working with Obama government
Political analyst Ishtiaq Ahmed
says Pakistani leaders are hopeful about working with the Obama
administration to counter the growing threat from militants.
those leaders and the military still routinely denounce covert U.S.
airstrikes against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban militants, saying
they undermine the credibility of the Pakistani government.
Ahmed says the public resentment against the airstrikes is real, but so
is the growing anger over the actions of the Pakistani Taliban.
Taliban burning schools, slaughtering people, kidnapping for ransom -
they are also equally creating a concern in the wider society in
Pakistan and the region. And that concern also should not be ignored," said Ahmed.
In a letter published in The Washington Post
newspaper Wednesday, Pakistan's President Asif Zardari called for more
U.S. aid to boost Pakistan's economy, infrastructure and housing,
saying stabilizing the country begins with it becoming economically
viable. He specifically called for investment in the economy in
Northwest Pakistan - the area of the country most affected by this
year's surge in militant violence.