Pakistani PM raises drone attack issue with U.S. ambassador

Islamabad, Dec. 6 (Xinhua-ANI): Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf raised the issue of drone attacks with the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad, Richard G. Olson, in a meeting on the backdrop of Saturday's attack on the country's North Waziristan tribal region, the Prime Minister's office said Thursday.

The U.S. spy aircraft fired missiles on a house near Mir Ali, a main town in North Waziristan, early Saturday and killed at least four people.

Saturday's strike was the third in the Waziristan tribal region in ten days.

On Dec. 1, U.S. drones launched a strike in South Waziristan killing at least four people. On Nov. 29, a U.S. missile strike on a house killed three people in South Waziristan.

Expressing his concern over the drone attacks, the prime minister said that they are counterproductive and alternative means should be found to eliminate terrorists, according to an official statement.

The U.S. ambassador noted the concern of the government and the people of Pakistan and said that he will convey the concern of the government of Pakistan to U.S. authorities, the statement said.

Pakistan publicly opposes the CIA-controlled drone strikes in its tribal regions, however, the U.S. has ruled out any change in its policy, claiming that Islamabad is reluctant to go after the militants in North Waziristan.

The latest strike occurred a couple of days after top U.S. and Pakistani defense officials concluded two days of talks in Rawalpindi, who also discussed "challenges along the Pak-Afghan border region", a clear reference to the activities of the militants in the border areas.

Pakistan and the U.S. are in a fix over the drone controversy as both have divergent views. Washington considers this highly secret mission as an effective tool in its so-called war on terror to eliminate its staunch enemies. But Islamabad insists the operation is counterproductive, and it increases militancy, anti-U. S. sentiments and creates problems for the government.

A UK-based research panel said the CIA's drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians going to help rescue victims or attending funerals.

The findings published in February just days after U.S. President Barack Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a "targeted, focused effort" that "has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." (Xinhua-ANI)