ISLAMABAD – Calling drone attacks counter-productive, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said the attacks were bringing the tribes closer to militants.
“Pakistan’s military and political leadership distanced local tribes from the militants, but these attacks are creating sympathy for militants among the locals,” he said in the National Assembly, adding that Pakistan was asking US to give it drone technology.
“We asked the US that you share intelligence with us and we will strike militants ourselves,” he said. He said WikiLeaks revelations had no authenticity and the leaks were a personal opinion of junior officers. “When they lack the pep to say something, they leak such things,” he said, adding that the WikiLeaks had also revealed many positive aspects of his personality.
“These leaks revealed that I wanted to negotiate with the Americans at the level of equality,” he said. He said being a responsible country, Pakistan was taking up drone issue at all international forums. “The world has started accepting our point of view,” he added.
Responding to a point of order of Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada in which he questioned why ministers who had resigned were still working in their offices, Gilani said there was a procedure for the formal acceptance of ministers’ resignations.
“They tender their resignation to me and I send them to the president for approval. Untill today, I have not received the resignations. Once these resignations are accepted, the ministers will stop working,” he added.
Speaking on a point of order earlier, PML-Q Parliamentary Leader Faisal Saleh Hayat asked the prime minister to clarify his position on the drone attacks, as Wikileaks said “Gilani himself allowed the Americans to carry on drone attacks”.
“Why do you say the government is convincing Americans? Pakistan should also have a strategy to counter these attacks,” he said. Hayat said the statements and speeches of government functionaries on drone attacks were not sufficient, and the “government should devise strategy to counter these strikes”. Sheikh Waqas Akram of the PML-Q said the PML-N was raising a hue and cry over Shahzain Bugti’s arrest but had its lips shut on the persecution of common Balochs.