LAHORE – PML-N President and twice former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while laying stress on the immediate halt to the drone attacks, asked the Acting US Ambassador to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan and understand that the attacks were not conducive for promoting cordial ties between the two countries.

Acting US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard E Hoagland along with US Consul General in Lahore Nina Fite, called on the PML-N chief at Raiwind on Wednesday. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Ishaq Dar were also present on the occasion.

During the meeting, besides other issues, a detailed discussion was also held on the geo-political situation of the region with special focus on the effects of drone attacks on Pakistan and its ramifications. Nawaz Sharif told the US Ambassador that drone strikes were a sheer violation of Pakistan sovereignty which the US needed to respect in the interest of achieving even better ties between the two countries.

The former prime minster further said both sides should try to understand ground realities and requirements of each other. Nawaz Sharif emphasised the need to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries for which, he said, respect to Pakistan sovereignty was cardinal.

Nawaz Sharif also stressed the need for an early and mutually satisfactory resolution of Dr Aafia Siddiqi case and highlighted that the resolution of the issue would go a long way to remove an irritant and be a good headway towards strengthening the Pak-US relations.

The Acting Ambassador appreciated the efforts of Nawaz for taking lead to initiate confidence-building measures to normalise Pakistan-India relations.

Also, Nawaz Sharif asked the federal government to make immediate arrangements to save education loss to the students held up in Skardu and charter a plane to fly them to Islamabad.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Nawaz said the Punjab government would play role to help the students reach Islamabad if the federal government failed to fulfill its responsibilities in this regard.

Many students, journalists and others were stranded in Skardu over the past many days because of closure of the land route following killing of 22 people in a terrorist hit some three weeks ago.