Khar, Olson satisfied over ‘trajectory of ties’
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and US Ambassador Richard Olson appeared satisfied on Tuesday over “the positive trajectory” of bilateral ties, but gave no indication publicly that they had discussed the issue of drones.
Mr Olson met Ms Khar at the Foreign Office hours after the foreign minister had told the Senate that the issue of drone attacks would be taken up with the US envoy.
However, the statement issued by the FO on the meeting made no mention of the Pakistani unease over drones.
Pakistani legislators have been upset by news reports that the US administration is about to complete a manual of rules for counter-terrorism programmes. The reports say that the manual “leaves open a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan”.
Drones have been a sensitive issue in Pakistani politics and the government and opposition parties agree that the drone strikes constitute a violation of the country’s sovereignty. But in private many officials and politicians are convinced that drones have been a useful tactical weapon.
Of the 362 drone strikes over the past eight years, over 300 were carried out during President Obama’s government.
The FO spokesman said both sides were committed to further building on the recent progress in bilateral ties on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest.
Efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan including Pakistani initiative of releasing detained Taliban fighters were also discussed by Ms Khar and Mr Olson.