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'Drone attacks counterproductive'

world Updated: Aug 18, 2009 01:44 IST
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Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday told US that continued drone attacks in the tribal areas are “counterproductive” as the collateral damage of such strikes were exploited by the militants for fuelling anti-American sentiments in Pakistan.

Gilani raised the issue of US drone attacks in Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan during a meeting with America’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke here.

The prime minister said such strikes remain a matter of public concern in Pakistan.

“They were counterproductive to the government’s efforts for isolating the terrorists and the collateral damage of these attacks were exploited by the extremists for fuelling anti-Americanism in the country,” he said.

Gilani urged the US to instead provide drone technology to Pakistan to enable its armed forces to take action against terrorists.

Pakistan has continued to voice its opposition to Predator drone attacks in its semi-autonomous tribal areas, considered a stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, even though local Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was reportedly killed in one such strike on August 5.

Hundreds of people, including several top militant leaders, have been killed in more than 50 drone attacks since mid-2008.