Pakistan Lodges Formal Protest Following Latest Drone Strike
Government calls for an "immediate end" to the strikes after reports that nine more individuals were killed in Friday
The Pakistan government has lodged a formal complaint following the killing Friday of nine people by a United States drone strike in the country's North Waziristan province.
Summoning US charge d'affaires Richard Hoagland to the foreign ministry on Saturday to lodge a formal protest, ministry spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry declared, "It was conveyed to the US charge d'affaires that Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes, which are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity," adding that "the importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes was emphasized."
According to a security official, about six missiles were fired at a compound suspected to belong to a Taliban commander in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts near the border with Afghanistan.
Al Jazeera reports that the nine individuals killed in the strike were from the "local Bakka Khel tribe" and have been identified.
Friday's attack was the first since the swearing in Wednesday of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who declared in his first speech as premier that the "chapter of drone attacks" should come to an end.
"We must learn others' [American] concerns about us, and express our concerns about them, and find a way to resolve this issue," Sharif said in his first address after being re-elected. "These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop."
Once again, the Pakistan government reiterated their view that the strikes are "counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications."
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been a total of 370 strikes in Pakistan since 2004 killing a reported 2,541-3,540 individuals.