ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday rejected any link of the recent US drone attacks in North Waziristan to its ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb.

“There is no way we condone these attacks. We have condemned them as these are violating out sovereignty,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told a questioner during the weekly press briefing.

The spokesperson said it was completely misleading and wrong to attach these strikes with the ongoing operation in North Waziristan and added that Pakistan government had taken a number of steps to generate international public opinion against drone strikes.

“We have been taking it up with the US. The resolutions that Pakistan had sponsored and that were adopted. At the current Human Rights Council session, under way in Geneva, there was a very strong reference to the drone strikes being outside the parameters of international law,” the spokesperson added.

She further said that the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Execution had presented a report in which he said use of armed drones should not undermine human rights.

On question of Pakistan’s contact with Afghan government for enhanced cooperation, the spokesman said Pakistan had conveyed to the Afghan leadership that the ongoing military operation was need of the hour and to purge the area from the extremist and terrorist elements.

The spokesperson emphasized that there was a need for better border management and parallel steps on the other side so that no terrorist could escape into Afghanistan.

Pakistan, she said, had emphasized the need for better management across the border this time and the Afghan government should also take adequate steps so that none of the militants could escape.

Commenting on the forthcoming visit of Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to Russian Federation, the spokesperson said he would attend a conference besides meeting with his Russian counterpart during this visit to discuss bilateral relations and regional situation.

The spokesperson said Pak-Russian ties had been on positive trajectory in the last few years and these relations in different sectors were improving.

Tasnim said Aziz would discuss with Russian leadership ways and means to further improve ties between both the countries, especially in trade and economic sectors.

Commenting on latest situation in Iraq, the spokesperson said, “We are concerned about escalation of violence in Iraq.”

She said, “Pakistan wants stability, peace and calm, not only in Iraq but also in the region.”

The spokesperson said Pakistan’s envoy in Baghdad had informed that all the Pakistanis living in Iraq were safe and sound as they were living away from the disturbed areas.

Replying to a question, the spokesperson said there were 281 Pakistanis in different prisons of China, adding that 90 percent of these Pakistani prisoners were held on charges of drugs and illegal trade activities while very few were in the jails for illegal entry or stay in China.

On progress over resumption of talks between Pakistan and India, the spokesperson said two sides were in contact with each other.

Asked whether government of Pakistan had contacted the Canadian High Commissioner in Pakistan to stop Dr Tahirul Qadri to travel to Pakistan, as he was a Canadian citizen, the spokesperson said although there were international norms in this regard but Tahirul Qadri was also a Pakistani citizen, therefore, this law was not applicable in this regard.



INP from New Delhi adds: In the first high-level engagement with Russia after the BJP-led government came to power, India has objected to the proposed sale of Mi-35 Russian military attack helicopters by Moscow to Islamabad.

Russia has so far not sold any weaponry in the past to Pakistan out of regard for Indian concerns and sensitivities on the issue.

According to Indian media, the issue was raised strongly by New Delhi during talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy PM Dmitry O. Rogozin.

The issue was also understood to have been raised in a meeting between the visiting Russian dignitary and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.

Russia has been the largest arms supplier to India. “The question regarding our defence cooperation and any issues that impact this in terms of our concern were raised,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.