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Hina Rabbani Khar Says Pakistan to Limit Unilateral US Actions

Posted by on Thursday, February 2, 2012, 9:30
This news item was posted in Pakistani News category and has 7 Comments so far .

Pakistan will tell the United States it cannot take unilateral actions such as the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and that parliament will determine military priorities, the foreign minister told a US magazine.Hina Rabbani Khar

A Pakistani parliamentary committee is reviewing the troubled relationship with the United States amid outrage over a NATO raid in November that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border at Salala.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, in an interview with Time magazine released Wednesday, said that the upcoming report would recognize the importance of US ties but “will redefine what is uncompromisable for Pakistan.”

“It is the parliament of Pakistan that must decide whether it is time for military action in one area or not,” she said.

Asked what Pakistan’s red lines would be, she said: “No unilateral action at any level, of any type. Like Abbottabad. Like what happened in Salala.”

US forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in May in Abbottabad, which is home to Pakistan’s top military academy. US officials gave no advance warning out of fear that Pakistan may have stopped the raid or tipped off bin Laden.

Despite Pakistan’s offensives against some homegrown extremists, US officials have charged that elements in Pakistan’s intelligence agency support some other Islamic militants, particularly in Afghanistan.

A newly leaked NATO document — seen by The Times newspaper in London and the BBC — cited Taliban detainees as saying that Pakistani intelligence was intimately involved in supporting the Afghan insurgency.

Khar, on a visit to Kabul on Wednesday, rejected the accusations and said that Pakistan has “no hidden agenda” in Afghanistan, where Western forces aim to pull out most combat troops by 2014.

In the interview with Time, Khar said that Pakistan will support “whatever path the Afghans choose for themselves.”

“Pakistan’s desires and hopes for Afghanistan are nothing more than a peaceful, stable Afghanistan,” she said.

Khar also urged an end to US drone attacks in lawless areas of Pakistan. US President Barack Obama said Monday that drones have killed Al-Qaeda militants, but Pakistan says the unmanned attacks fuel bitterness and create more extremists.

Khar said that the United States, despite its public support for democracy, has ignored criticism of the drones from Pakistan’s parliament expressed “at the top of its lungs.”

“So is very difficult to explain why the US would choose to ignore the will of 180 million people and think it knows better,” she said.

According to an AFP tally, 45 US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt in 2009, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011.

The New America Foundation think-tank in Washington says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in the past eight years.

US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks in late 2010 showed that Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders privately supported US drone attacks, despite public condemnation in a country where the US alliance is hugely unpopular.

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