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US doesn't have permission for drone strikes: Gilani
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Perth :  Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has categorically said no permission has been given to the US to launch drone strikes inside Pakistan's territory.

"There is no such permission," the Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Gilani as telling a group of Pakistani expatriates Saturday.

According to reports, at least 55-60 drone strikes have taken place in Pakistan in 2011. Over 460 people, most of them believed to be militants, have been killed in the strikes.

The prime minister is in Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is being attended by over 50 world leaders.

Gilani said the drone strikes were counter-productive because of the collateral damage caused. They were undermining the Pakistani government's efforts to get unanimous support of the masses against terrorists.

He said the drone strikes were one of the reasons of tense relations between Pakistan and the US.

Pakistan has also conveyed to America that unilateral military operations, such as the one in May that led to the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, would not be acceptable, he said.

"Unlike the policies of the past when things started rolling with a single telephone call from the US, now we seek mandate of the parliament and take decisions with consensus," he said.

Gilani said there has been a sea change in the country's foreign policy towards terrorism.

"There has been a paradigm shift in the policy between a democratic government and a dictatorial regime," he said, referring to the army rule of Pervez Musharraf.

The people of Pakistan and the parliament were now the "ultimate" arbitrators to take decisions of national importance, he said. (IANS)


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