BA condemns proposed drone strikes, US aid bill
* Lawmakers urge federal govt to summon US ambassador over her ‘unsubstantiated charges’ about Taliban presence in Quetta
* Reject Kerry-Lugar bill
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning proposed US drone attacks in the province.
Senior minister and the parliamentary leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Maulvi Abdul Wassey and Labour Minister Maulvi Ghulam Sarwar jointly tabled the resolution, which was adopted. Ministers and MPAs hailing from the conservative right-wing Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam took exception of the reports that Washington was contemplating to expand the drone assaults from parts of the NWFP to Quetta to hunt down Taliban leader Mullah Omar and the Quetta shura he leads.
The joint resolution urged the federal government to summon American ambassador Anne Patterson over her “unsubstantiated charges” about the presence of the Quetta shura and the Taliban in Quetta. They said such “irresponsible statements” could jeopardize the peace of the region and cause severe loss of human lives if drone strikes are launched.
On September 29, the ambassador had said that the Afghan Taliban “Quetta shura” was high on Washington’s list. She also showed concerns about the role of fugitive Taliban leader Mulla Omar and his council of lieutenants in Quetta. The resolution was endorsed by the leaders from all political parties, including Syed Ehsan Shah of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-Awami), Mir Sadiq Umrani of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, Captain Abdul Khaliq of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Nawaz) and ministers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
They criticised the US for its recent claim that Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership were in Quetta. The lawmakers made it clear that such designs would be resolutely resisted. They condemned the attack on General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and termed it an attack on the whole country. They said such “irresponsible statements” could jeopardize the regional peace and cause severe loss of human lives if drone strikes are launched.
Wasay contended that the drone strikes would culminate in killing of innocent citizens and fail to achieve US objectives. Citing the example of the NWFP, he said drone attacks had proved counterproductive in the troubled province. “The US should shun a policy of applying violence. It should use diplomacy and trust the government of Pakistan in fighting the troublemakers. We have been the biggest victims of the war against terrorism. Therefore, it is illogical to accuse us of providing protection to the Taliban leaders. If drone attacks are carried out on our cities, we will resist in whatever way possible,” he warned. The Balochistan Assembly also rejected the Kerry Lugar bill by describing it an attempt to deprive Pakistan of its sovereignty.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
QUETTA: BA Condemns Proposed Drone Strikes, US Aid Bill
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