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Pakistan remains opposed to drones after Obama speech
 
 
 


ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan on Friday reiterated its official stance that the US drone strikes in its territory were violation of its sovereignty and were, therefore, illegal.
In a statement Foreign Office said that on the use of drone strikes, the government of Pakistan has consistently maintained that the drone strikes are counterproductive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications, and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.
The statement said that the government of Pakistan has taken note of the counterterrorism strategy outlined by President Obama in his speech on May 23, 2013.
It said that Pakistan appreciates President Obama's acknowledgement that "force alone cannot make us safer". This also has been Pakistan's longstanding stance that a comprehensive strategy was required to address the root causes that foster terrorism and extremism.
"As a frontline state in the fight against terrorism, Pakistani troops have borne the brunt and given the ultimate sacrifice for it. We appreciate President Obama's acknowledgement and recognition of the sacrifices made by Pakistan particularly by our law enforcement authorities. We welcome the resolve expressed by President Obama to continue efforts to rebuild the important bilateral relationship with Pakistan, which we believe it should be based on the mutual respect and mutually of benefit."
Islamabad has repeatedly denounced drone strikes, criticising them as a violation of sovereignty that inflame anti-Americanism, though leaked US diplomatic cables have shown leaders agreed to them in private.
Washington and Islamabad have endured rocky times in the past two years, with relations hit by a series of crises including the discovery of Osama bin Laden hiding close to the Pakistani military academy.
Public anger in Pakistan at drones has not helped but ties appear to be on the mend and the foreign ministry statement welcomed Obama's pledge to continue this process.

 
 
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