A new policy to be evolved to get drone strikes stopped: Sartaj Aziz

Islamabad: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security‚ Sartaj Aziz has said a new policy is being evolved to get drone attacks stopped.Responding to a call attention notice moved by Dr. Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari and others in the National Assembly Tuesday‚ he said the government is working seriously to bring an end to drone attacks.

The advisor said Pakistan has already conveyed serious concerns to the United States over drone strikes and it will continue to raise the issue at all the forums.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is likely to visit Pakistan next month and the issue will be raised with him.

He said Pakistan has adopted a clear policy on drone strikes‚ which are counter-productive in countering the menace of terrorism. The Advisor said the drone strikes are in contravention of sovereignty and national integrity.

The Advisor said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his first speech to the House had categorically demanded an end to the drone strikes. He said Pakistan also lodged a strong protest with the US on 7th June against the drone strike.

Giving details of the number of drone strikes carried out on Pakistani territory the Advisor to Prime Minister said that one hundred and fifteen drone attacks were carried out in 2010‚ sixty-two in 2011 and forty-five in 2012.

Thirteen attacks have been carried out so far this year. He said one drone attack was carried out after the assumption of office of the present government. Instead of pursuing the policy of threat‚ we need to resolve this issue through talks.

Sartaj Aziz noted that these drone strikes are also creating hindrance in forging better relations with the United States. He said that Pakistan will raise this issue at high levels with the US and hoped that it would succeed in bringing an end to these strikes.

Meanwhile,Replying to a call attention notice moved by Ms. Naeema Akhtar and others‚ Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif informed the House that a comprehensive and coordinated policy will soon be announced on electricity crisis.

He said the policy will not carry promises but a roadmap to equally reduce load-shedding in the country. He said this policy will be presented before the House and we will be accountable for any lapses. He said we should not be made accountable for the shortcomings of the past government.

The Minister said our first target is to end unscheduled load-shedding and adhere to the scheduled load-shedding. In the short-term‚ our target is to significantly reduce load-shedding in order to provide relief to the masses.

Khawaja Asif said every possible effort is being made to ensure equal load-shedding in all the provinces. He said load-shedding has decreased during the last few days due to increase in hydel generation. This situation will further improve in the next few days.

About his government’s medium-term policy‚ the Minister told the House that all available resources will be exploited not only to overcome load-shedding but also generate cheap electricity.

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