Thursday, June 7, 2012
Pakistan calls U.S. ambassador on carpet over continued drone strikes
U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoaglands was summoned to the Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister to receive a protest against continued drone attacks in the Pakistani Tribal regions. The U.S. has made it clear that the attacks will continue even though Pakistan has already passed three motions through parliament demanding they cease. The protests are becoming a sick charade. One wonders where the U.S. obtains intelligence for the strikes. One wonders too what if any consequences are supposed to happen since the U.S. has constantly crossed this red line.
For good measure the Pakistanis also complained about U.S. diplomats carrying illegal weapons. Several diplomats were found to have illegal weapons at a checkpoint but were quickly released no doubt on the demand of the U.S.
A Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson said Hoaglands was informed of the government’s serious concern with the drone strikes. The spokesperson said: “Parliament had emphatically stated that they [drone strikes] were unacceptable. Drone strikes represented a clear red-line for Pakistan,” These types of complaints have been ongoing for ages but no action is taken.
While the transit routes through Pakistan have been closed for NATO since November the immediate cause of that was the killing of two dozen Pakistani troops in an attack on a border post. However, the drone attacks and other issues continue to make it difficult for Pakistan to reopen the transit routes without losing face. However since parliamentary motions on drones have been ignored the same could happen on other issues such as the demand for an apology for the border incident.
Releasing some of the several billions the U.S. owes to repay Pakistan for its help in the war on terror might help the situation. No payments have been made since 2010. Meanwhile the U.S. congress is withholding more aid. Meanwhile the U.S. continues to kill Al Qaeda leaders sometimes several times showing the success of the missions to U.S. taxpayers. For more see this article.