Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani yesterday said that attacks by US drones on targets inside Pakistan’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan amounted to “terrorism”.
Talking to reporters at his official residence on the first day of Eid, Gilani rebuffed suggestions that the government had not condemned the incursions as forcefully as it should have.
“These attacks are a form of terrorism,” the prime minister said, adding that such actions encourage and strengthen militancy and were thus counter-productive.
Gilani said the US leadership had assured respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and he hoped that the promise would be kept.
The prime minister said the Pakistani security forces were successfully carrying out operations against militants in Bajur tribal area and tribesmen were supporting them in the campaign to rid their area of militants.
The comments came as a suspected US missile strike within Pakistan killed six people, indicating Washington is pressing ahead with cross-border raids on militant targets despite protests from the new government.
The suspected US missile strike was the first since President Asif Ali Zardari visited New York, where he warned that Pakistan cannot allow its territory to “be violated by our friends”.
Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the missiles struck the home of a local Taliban commander before midnight Tuesday near Mir Ali. That’s in the North Waziristan region that borders Afghanistan.
The officials cite reports from their field agents in saying six people were killed in the attack. They say a US drone aircraft fired the missiles.
– With inputs from AP
By Shahid Hussain, Correspondent
Published: October 02, 2008, 00:07