Peoples Daily News & ABC Net & Agence France-Presse – 2011-03-21 00:14:15
25 Killed in US Drone Strike in Pakistan
Xinhua, Peoples Daily News
BEIJING (March 17, 2011) — The death toll has risen to 25 following a strike launched late Thursday morning by a US drone in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan, reported local Urdu TV channel ARY.
According to the report, the US drone fired four missiles at a house located at a village in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, in which a group of people suspected to be militants were said to be holding a meeting inside.
Thursday’s strike is the 23rd of its kind in Pakistan since 2011. Up to date, at least 132 people have reportedly been killed in such strikes.
Pakistanis Protest Botched US Air Raid
Sally Sara, South Asia Correspondent / ABC Net Australia
(March 19, 2011) — Thousands of people have protested against a US drone strike that killed up to 40 people in Pakistan. Anti-US demonstrators rallied in cities across the country, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. More than 3,000 people gathered outside the Red Mosque in the capital, shouting “death to America” and burning the American flag.
The protesters expressed their anger over a US missile strike in the north-west of the country on Thursday.
Local tribal elders say the victims of the botched air raid were community leaders and police attending an outdoor meeting in North Waziristan.
The US closed its embassy and several consulates in Pakistan yesterday because of fears of violence. Tension has also increased following the release of a CIA contractor accused of killing two Pakistani men.
Raymond Davis was pardoned earlier this week after compensation was paid to the families of the victims.
Pakistan Demands Apology over Drone Strike
(March 18, 2011) — Pakistan has demanded an apology and explanation from the United States over a drone strike in a tribal region, which officials said killed 35 people, the foreign ministry said. It is the seventh such attack in nine days.
“The government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strike which has resulted in a large number of casualties,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said in a statement. “Foreign secretary Salman Bashir conveyed this strong condemnation to US ambassador Cameron Munter and has demanded an apology and explanation. This is not only unacceptable but also a flagrant violation of all humanitarian rules and norms.”
Ms Janju added that Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, had also been asked to make a similar strong protest to the State Department.
Thursday’s attack was the most lethal drone strike to hit the lawless region of North Waziristan since August 2008 when the covert campaign escalated in the areas bordering Afghanistan.
In an official statement, prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also strongly condemned the drone attack, saying “it will only strengthen the hands of radical and extremist elements,” an official statement said.
Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani also slammed the strike which he said hit a council of tribal elders as “unjustifiable”.
“It is highly regrettable that a jirga of peaceful citizens, including elders of the area, was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life,” he said, adding the army had protested “in the strongest possible terms”.
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