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Pak may approach UN to halt US drone strikes in its territory

world Updated: Apr 25, 2011 16:16 IST

Pakistan is mulling approaching the UN Security Council to mount diplomatic pressure on Washington for halting drone strikes inside its tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a media report claimed on Monday.

"We have decided it in principle. We will soon be preparing our case for approaching the UN on these attacks," a federal minister told The Express Tribune daily requesting anonymity.

The move comes amid protests in Pakistan against the attacks by the American CIA-operated pilot-less aircraft in North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

The paper quoted another unnamed official as saying that "since the UNSC resolution that allowed international forces' attack Afghanistan back in 2001 did not sanction any hot pursuit inside Pakistan, we have a solid case."

Though it is still not decided how the UNSC would be asked to use its influence to stop drone attacks, the Minister said the preferred methods might be to send a letter to the council through a cabinet panel.

The cabinet committee on national security had decided in a meeting last year that Pakistan should add "aggression" in its pursuit to secure Islamabad's "vital" interests in Afghanistan by disseminating some "rough and tough" messages to Washington, the daily said.

"That is what we want to do ahead of the Afghan endgame...our decision to go to the UNSC is a part of the policy of sending rough and tough messages," the paper quoted the unnamed minister as saying.

The drone strikes have become a bone of contention between the two nations.

US officials privately argue that these strikes are helpful in taking out "high-value targets" from al-Qaeda and affiliated groups allegedly hiding in the tribal badlands. However, officially, the Americans don't own drone attacks.

But Pakistani leaders are opposed to these strikes, saying that they complicate the country's counter-terror efforts by alienating the local tribal population, the daily said.

There has been a significant rise in diplomatic tensions between Islamabad and Washington over these unilateral strikes despite several high-level contacts between the top diplomatic and military officials from both sides.

It was Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who told the National Assembly recently that Islamabad would pile up diplomatic pressure on Washington for putting an end to drone hits.

Until now Pakistan has been negotiating with the US to stop these attacks bilaterally. But now Islamabad has decided to use multilateral forums, like the UN, to put diplomatic pressure on the US administration to end them.