News / Asia

    Drone Strikes Among Major Issues for New Pakistan PM

    Nawaz Sharif speaks to party members during a function in Lahore in this May 20, 2013 file photo. Nawaz Sharif speaks to party members during a function in Lahore in this May 20, 2013 file photo.
    x
    Nawaz Sharif speaks to party members during a function in Lahore in this May 20, 2013 file photo.
    Nawaz Sharif speaks to party members during a function in Lahore in this May 20, 2013 file photo.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan’s Prime Minister-designate Nawaz Sharif will review anti-terrorism cooperation with the United States soon after taking office.  A close adviser to Sharif says the incoming government will demand an immediate end to controversial American drone strikes within Pakistani territory for better future ties. 

    The newly-elected National Assembly on Wednesday will formally select Nawaz Sharif as the country’s prime minister for an unprecedented third time because his political party, the Pakistan Muslim League or PML-N, enjoys a majority in the lower house of parliament.

    On the home front, the incoming government is expected to look for ways to revive a deteriorating economy by addressing the severe energy crisis facing the country.  But critics say Sharif will also have to take urgent steps to ease strains plaguing diplomatic relations with the United States and seek an immediate end to drone strikes on Pakistani soil, a commitment he undertook during the election campaign.

    A member of the new parliament and key PML-N adviser on foreign policy, Khurram Dastagir Khan, says his party will waste no time in addressing the drone issue, in view of the widespread belief among Pakistanis that such attacks violate the country’s sovereignty and international law.

    “It [drone attacks] is part of the crisis of our foreign policy and also one of the things that we are going to do in the first few days is to reassess our relationship with the United States in view of the war on terror and the participation Pakistan has so far made in the 12 years.  And part of it would be, our case is very strong, that drone strikes should cease forthwith," said Khan.

    In this July 28, 2011 file photo, Taliban No 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to the Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan.In this July 28, 2011 file photo, Taliban No 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to the Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan.
    x
    In this July 28, 2011 file photo, Taliban No 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to the Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan.
    In this July 28, 2011 file photo, Taliban No 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to the Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan.
    The latest U.S. drone strike, last Wednesday, killed among others the deputy leader of the outlawed Pakistani Taliban militant group, Waliur Rehman Mehsud.  The missile attack was the first since Sharif’s party won the national polls May 11, and in a written statement he expressed “deep disappointment” over it. 

    Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi, says the new government will be under immense public pressure if drone attacks are not halted.

    “The latest U.S. drone strike within Pakistan underscores the urgency of the challenge for the incoming new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to deal with this issue and Nawaz Sharif in fact publicly he has committed himself to engaging the United States in negotiations to try to end drone strikes within Pakistan’s territory.  So, I think the latest drone strike only makes that challenge more urgent," said  Lodhi.

    A day after the drone attack, U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan James Dobbins met with Sharif, but neither side shared details publicly with the media.  Lodhi describes the meeting as significant, particularly in view of the planned withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

    "And if Nawaz Sharif has been accurately reported in the press, he has supposed to have said to Ambassador Dobbins that if the U.S. wanted Pakistan’s cooperation in a state of secure withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and also Pakistan’s role in the Afghan end game, then the U.S. needed to listen to Pakistan on its drones’ policy.  This is a very significant message that Nawaz Sharif has conveyed to the American visitor and what he is also signaling is that he can be expected to take a strong position on drone strikes in Pakistan," said Lodhi.

    The United States considers missile attacks by its remotely-piloted aircraft legal, saying they have weakened the al-Qaida and Taliban militants involved in cross-border raids on American and coalition forces inside Afghanistan.  Drone strikes in Pakistan have sharply decreased this year, and President Barack Obama, in a major speech on counterterrorism policy a week ago, announced the intent to further restrict drone use in the future. 

    The United States is Pakistan's biggest financial donor and cooperation in sectors like economy, health, education and energy has deepened in recent years.  Some analysts say that since Sharif's priorities are really economic, he may not want to upset Washington under the circumstances.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Robert from: ohio
    June 03, 2013 6:09 PM
    What the hearts and minds of Americans? Do the the hearts and minds of Americans make any difference, to what is going to happen in the future?

    by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
    June 03, 2013 6:18 AM
    If Pakistan is really interested to remove terrorist from its soil then take bold step and kill one by one all those terrorist who are killers of so many innocent Pakistani by their hands and ironically in the name of JIHAD. These foolish and brainless people have no idea what is the meaning of jihad they are killing so many innocent people because of money received in their personal bank account out side Pakistan by Saudi arabia and other world terrorist to obtain their object by weakening Pakistan.

    Actually our Coward Govt in the last five years did not take any action because they were partners in killing so many educated,business man,doctors,lawyers and Pakistani lovers. Previous Govt were very much careful about their over seas assets and well being of their children. Because of this approach we are in this situation. To save Pakistan from these attack then take action by your self. This is very shameful act on the part of Govt of Pakistan that they do not have any idea where is osama and where is Taliban leader and USA have full information where they are. In the end once again i request to Pakistan Govt to organise your home as per normal standard and then criticise others.

    by: passivevoices from: Islamabad
    June 02, 2013 1:05 PM
    A country which is taken hostage by terrorists and a country which is being led by cowards cannot ask others to respect its sovereignty. Read more at: http://urdumail.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/drones-a-country-led-by-cowards-cannot-ask-others-to-respect-its-sovereignty/

    by: Ash from: UK
    June 02, 2013 10:56 AM
    If Pakistan removes the terrorists from their Land there will be no need of DRONES. So get busy, you cannot have your cake and eat it.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.