ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has made it clear to the US that it cannot accept drone strikes on its territory under any circumstances.
“US drone attacks are unlawful and unacceptable,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said on Thursday while responding to queries during weekly press briefing.
The spokesman said there would be no verbal agreements with the United States in future, and adding that Islamabad had made its position very clear on drone strike.
“We are very confident. We can deal it using our own national resources provided there is sharing of real time intelligence. Pakistan will not agree to any action that violates its sovereignty,” Basit said.
He said Pakistan had shown in the past that it could deal with terrorists with its own resources and added that Pakistan had killed and arrested over 700 Qaeda operatives. “There should be no question about our capacity,” the spokesman said.
“Pakistan considers drone attacks as illegal, unacceptable and counter-productive,” he said, adding, there was no verbal agreement between Pakistan and the US on drones.
Answering a question about Pakistan’s agreement with the United States, he said the parliamentary committee’s recommendations suggested that there were two written agreements. “One agreement with the US has already lapsed in February this year about acquisition and cross-servicing, while the other was an MoU signed on June 19, 2002 with Isaf and UK which is still valid,” Basit said.
He pointed out that the parliamentary committee had recommended that these written agreements should be revisited, and if needed, appropriate provisions must be incorporated to secure Pakistan’s interest.
He said the committee had clearly recommended that no verbal commitments should be made and everything must be in black and white.
“I think once parliamentary process is complete, we will definitely proceed further in accordance with the policy guidelines. We do not see any reason as to why the government of Pakistan should be making any verbal commitment on any issue because this whole process is aimed at bringing about transparency and predictability in our relations with the US and Nato. The government will strictly abide by the parliamentary policy guidelines,” he said.
He said government, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, would follow the final recommendations and the policy guidelines of the joint parliamentary session.
“But obviously if we are to revisit some of the agreements which were concluded in 2002, we will have to engage the US intensively. For now, we are all waiting for the parliamentary process to complete,” he added.
To a question about North Korea, the spokesman said Pakistan supported six-party talks for a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula.
On Pakistan Judicial commission’s visit to India, he said the judicial commission had returned from India but could not comment on the matter as the matter was sub judice. To another question about response of the European countries over Pakistan’s demarche on Balochistan situation, he said Islamabad had been assured that they would not allow their territories to be used for anti-Pakistan activities. Basit rejected media reports that Pakistan had paid any amount to Bangladesh National Party (BNP).
“These reports are totally baseless and an attempt by mischievous elements to damage the brotherly and mutually beneficial Pakistan-Bangladesh relationship,” the spokesman said.
He added that Pakistan strictly adhered to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries and that it would be ill-advised to give credence to such false, misleading and self-serving stories.