Malik conveys Pakistan’s concern to US on drone attacks
WASHINGTON: Pakistan on Friday called for a “common counterterrorism strategy against the common enemy,” as Interior Minister Rehman Malik conveyed Islamabad’s concerns to senior US officials on drone strikes in the tribal areas.
“We have a common enemy and we must have a common strategy to fight this enemy — Pakistan is committed with the international community in this fight -and we will hit them hard,” Malik said, standing alongside US Special envoy Marc Grossman after their meeting.
At the same time, Malik acknowledged in a media interaction that there are reservations on the two sides, despite the fact that both have been victims of terror and have been fighting common enemy in terrorists along the Afghan border.
“Our side has conveyed our concerns regarding drone attacks — the people of Pakistan have been voicing this and we hope that this voice of the people of Pakistan will be heard,” said the minister.
The interior minister, during his two-day visit, is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FBI Director Robert Mueller and discuss counterterrorism cooperation in a working group meeting with the US officials.
Grossman, who is US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Malik also discussed the issue of combating improvised explosives devices, which have killed soldiers on both sides.
Malik said Pakistan is implementing a national counter-IED strategy to curb the cross-border movement of material ammonium nitrade, which is also used in fertilizers – that terrorists use in the devices and has succeeded considerably.
“We have taken every possible measure — we are an agrarian country, and fertilizers are important. What we have done we have regulated the movement of fertilizers — we have also strengthened the (relevant) Punishment Act — so administrative and all other steps are being taken.”
Grossman for his part recognized the sacrifices Pakistan has made in fighting terror. “Americans recognize who are victims of terrorism —the Americans are victims but so many Pakistanis have lost their lives, so many have given their lives fighting terrorism so this issue of counterterrorism is very important between the United States and Pakistan,” Grossman said.
At the meeting with Grossman, the interior minister was accompanied at the meeting by Najibullah Khan Additional Secretary Interior, senior officials and diplomats including Faruk Amil DG Foreign Affairs and Deputy chef de mission in Washington Asad Majid Khan. Director Pakistan Affairs Tim Lenderking assisted Marc Grossman.