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Drone strikes to end tomorrow if Pakistan chooses: US Congressman

Posted By: Shaukat Rehan on October 30, 2013 | 04:02:56

US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee member Congressman Alan Grayson speaking with the BBC has said that drone strikes in Pakistan could end tomorrow if the country wanted to and that no such attacks take place without the approval of Pakistan, BBC Urdu website reported.

The Democrat Congressman from Florida also said that he received no evidence from the Obama administration to suggest that there would be a drop in drone strikes conducted in Pakistan by the end of this year.

He said that had Pakistan wanted, drone attacks on its territory could end tomorrow if the country stopped facilitating the US strikes.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during his recent trip to the US, had talked to President Obama on the drone issue after which the government had announced that the results of the talks would be visible shortly and that the nation would see its positive effects in the coming days as the number of drone strikes would significantly be reduced by the end of this year.

Pakistan has a strong Air Force which had the power to impose a restriction on its borders whenever it chose to, according to the Congressman who added that, such attacks were not possible without the consent of the country struck.

Citing the example of Iraq, he said, the war in the middle eastern country ended only after the host government had asked US troops to leave its soil.

Grayson further said that it was possible that a similar situation developed in Pakistan and only then there would be an end to drone attacks.

Moreover, he said Pakistan's armed forces were capable of tackling militants and that in such a situation the US should not have blood on its hands.

He added that there were only a handful militants in the country, whose numbers hardly run into hundreds, whereas the strength of Pakistan's military was more than a million.

"If they (Pakistan's military) wanted, they could control the situation and ease the lives of thousands of citizens."

Grayson was of the view that heirs of the innocent victims of drone attacks should receive compensation from the United States.

Wondering as to why the decision of who lives and who does not was taken thousand of miles away from Pakistan, Grayson said that the call was for God to make but drones were taking those decisions here instead.

Earlier on Tuesday Congressman Grayson met with the family of a Pakistani elementary school teacher, Rafiq-ur-Rehman, whose mother was killed in a US drone strike last year.

Rafiq, who was visiting the US with his family on an invitation sent by Congressman Grayson, provided him with their accounts of the attack that killed the school teacher's 67-year-old mother, Momina Bibi in North Waziristan.



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