Pak summons US diplomat to protest drone strike

Islamabad: Pakistan today summoned a senior US diplomat to protest against a drone strike that killed four militants in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Political Counsellor Jonathan Pratt of the US Embassy was summoned to the Foreign Office, where the Director General (Americas) registered a protest over drone attack on Sunday, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said. Sources said a demarche was handed over to Pratt.

A similar protest was registered in Washington by the Pakistani Embassy, the sources told PTI. The US carried out the first drone strike in almost a month in the restive North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday. A drone targeted a compound in Miranshah, the main town of the region, killing four suspected militants. Reports from Miranshah said over 20 militants, including foreign fighters, were living in the compound.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani linked the issue of asking the US to end drone strikes in Pakistan`s tribal belt to the presence of foreign fighters on the country`s soil, saying these matters would be discussed with the American administration.

Gilani said a joint session of parliament had framed several recommendations, including one on halting drone attacks, for talks with the US aimed at resetting the relationship between the two countries. "Parliament said these are our recommendations and in light of these recommendations, you hold talks with the US. We have not yet held talks, we have just held preliminary discussions," the premier told reporters on the sidelines of an official function.

"But there is one other thing in the recommendations that you must keep in mind that foreign fighters should be expelled from Pakistani soil. Our soil should not be used against any other country as well," he said in response to a question about the US continuing drone attacks despite public opposition in Pakistan.