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Pak turns to China over US drone strikes

Published : May 30, 2016, 2:07 am IST
Updated : May 30, 2016, 2:07 am IST

Pakistan is once again banking on its most-trusted friend, China, for help to save it from unending US dronestrikes and to support Islamabad’s case before the world, official sources said.

Pakistan is once again banking on its most-trusted friend, China, for help to save it from unending US dronestrikes and to support Islamabad’s case before the world, official sources said.

The latest US drone strike, that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan, prompted Pakistan to protest stronger than usual as Islamabad feared Washington could extend such attacks to other parts of the country.

Among Pakistan’s friends, China is the sole military power whose words are given some weight by the US.

China had mentioned in its April report on the US’ human rights record that drone attacks in Pakistan were a violation of basic norms.

The report said the US still “brazenly and brutally violated human rights” in other countries, treating civilians “like dirt”.

Airstrikes launched by the US in Iraq and Syria have killed many civilians. The US also conducted drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, causing scores of civilian deaths.

A senior official at the foreign ministry said China was contacted at the ministerial level seeking diplomatic help against US drone attacks as Washington showed no hints of ending the strikes.

“Like always China has promised to help in whatever way it can. Diplomatic support from a potential superpower will be helpful in efforts to curtail these strikes,” he added.

Another official said Pakistan’s allies in West Asia have been contacted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his diplomatic aides to make a case for Islamabad.

“If we can have a few countries with us, we can at least try to stop the US from hitting in Balochistan and (possibly) in the other provinces,” he maintained.

He said Pakistan was in contact with Washington in a bid to end the drone strikes. “Diplomatic efforts are on, but the US is still unmoved,” he maintained.

Last week, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, said his country appreciated Pakistan for its successful efforts in fighting terrorism.

He urged the international community to acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terror and extend full cooperation to completely eliminate this menace.

Location: Pakistan, Islamabad