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Pakistan Foreign Minister: Drones Are Top Cause Of Anti-Americanism

'The use of unilateral strikes on Pakistani territory is illegal'

- Common Dreams staff

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar speaks at the Asia Society in New York on Thursday. Khar is in New York for the 67th UN General Assembly. (Reuters)

Pakistan's foreign minister said last night that the top cause of anti-Americanism in her country is the U.S. use of drone attacks.

Agence France Presse reports Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar'd comments in a speech in New York to the Asia Society :

"The use of unilateral strikes on Pakistani territory is illegal. It is illegal and it is unlawful."

Asked during her address why polls find that anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is among the world’s highest, Khar answered with one word: “Drones.”

“As the drones fly over the territory of Pakistan, it becomes an American war and the whole logic of this being our fight, in our own interest, is immediately put aside and again it is a war imposed on us,” she said.

Ignoring Pakistani opposition to the drones, she said, is “about choosing to win the battle at the cost of the war. These are battles. You get one terrorist, two terrorists, fine. But are you winning the war?”

A report this week by a group of law professors at Stanford and New York University concluded that US drones have killed thousands of people in the years since 9/11, including hundreds of civilians.

Also, the Guardian is reporting that Pakistan has rejected claims that it deliberately clears military aircraft from the skies of its border region to allow US drones to operate freely.

"There can be no question of Pakistan's agreement to such attacks," the foreign ministry said in response to a report in the Wall Street Journal which claimed the US believed it regularly received consent.

According to the newspaper, the CIA sends a fax "about once a month" to the ISI, its counterpart in Pakistan, outlining the areas and targets where the unmanned aircraft will operate.

[...] A government spokesman rejected the insinuation made in the report and reiterated Pakistan's position on drone attacks: "Drone attacks are illegal, counterproductive, in contravention of international law and a violation of Pakistani sovereignty."

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Supporters of Pakistani politician Imran Khan and chief of Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, carry placards as they march during protest rally in Islamabad on October 28, 2011 against US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal region. Khan staged a rally along with tribal elders in Islamabad against the continued US drone attacks in tribal areas which they said were killing hundreds of innocent people.

Protesters in Pakistan burn a U.S. flag, July 13, 2012. Anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is high due to the continued strikes by American drones in tribal areas. (AP Photo)

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