Foreign Secretary says US drones have killed 3000 people

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 9:27:47 by

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani has told a parliamentary committee that about 3000 people have been killed in the U.S. drone attacks after the operation was started in 2004.


He told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in Islamabad that 80 percent of those killed in drone strikes were armed militants


“We cannot bear the fallout of shooting down drones,” Mr Jilani said on Friday while listing the options available for Pakistan to deal with US drones violating Pakistan’s airspace.


He said Pakistan’s policy for dealing with drones is two pronged — reiterating the policy position that drone strikes were counter-productive and a violation of international law; and holding talks with the US for getting them stopped.


But, he underscored that the best possible option for Pakistan was to rid its tribal areas of all foreign militants.


“We need to have a comprehensive policy for expelling all foreign fighters having sanctuaries in the tribal regions,” Mr Jilani said.


He said dialogue with the United States is the only way to resolve the issue of drone attacks, adding that the international community is supporting Pakistan on drone attacks.


About the release of Taliban prisoners, Jilani told the committee that Pakistan had started releasing Taliban prisoners on the request of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and High Peace Council.


The first batch was released during the visit of a delegation of the council to Islamabad last November.


The secretary, however, denied any international pressure behind the decision to release Taliban detainees.


Pakistan and Afghanistan are separately setting up a commission to look after the issue of ordinary prisoners being held in each other’s jails.


“We would send lists of Taliban prisoners that we intend to release to the Afghan High Peace Council which would comment on the names in those lists,” Jilani said. 

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