Gilani says drone attacks in Pakistan counter-productive

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 19:10 hrs

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today condemned drone attacks carried out by the United States in Pakistan's tribal areas, saying they were counter- productive and were undoing the progress made by the government in its campaign against extremism.

"Our military and political leadership had very ably alienated local tribesmen from the militants but when a drone attack is carried out, they get reunited again.

"This shows (the drone attacks) are counter-productive, therefore we condemn them and we are against them," he said while speaking in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

The government has told the US to provide drone technology to Pakistan so that security forces could take actions on their own against militants, he said.

"I agree with the member from (the tribal areas) that the drone attacks are counter-productive," he added.

A secret US diplomatic cable recently released by WikiLeaks had quoted American diplomats as saying that Gilani had said during a meeting in August 2008 that he had no problems with drone strikes if they targeted the "right people".

US drones have carried out over 100 attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt this year, including three missile strikes yesterday.

During his speech in parliament, Gilani referred to the recent arrest of Baloch nationalist leader Shahzain Bugti for alleged possession of unlicensed weapons and said he had sought a report on the matter from the Chief Minister of Balochistan and the federal Interior Minister.

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