May 23, 2011 in News
ISI asks US to stop drone strikes (Pakistan Express Tribune):
ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha is reported to have asked the US to stop its drone strikes in Pakistan in a meeting between CIA deputy director Michael Morrell and senior ISI officials held in Islamabad on Saturday.
Pasha, who faced tremendous criticism after the May 2 Abbottabad raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is reported to have taken a firm stance with the US on the drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“We will be forced to respond if you do not come up with a strategy that stops the drone strikes,” Pasha is reported to have told Morrell.
The ISI chief also described the recent incursion by Nato helicopters into Pakistani airspace as a ‘shock’ for defence cooperation between the United States and Pakistan.
Later on Saturday, Morrell met with operational leaders of the ISI, as well as members of its recently set-up counter-terrorism division. Both sides are reported to have discussed a way forward that would involve the US stopping its drone strikes and expanding joint US-Pakistan operations against militants.
Relations between the CIA and the ISI were strained even before the May 2 unilateral US raid that killed Bin Laden, particularly since January. Earlier, a CIA operative shot and killed two Pakistani men in broad daylight in Lahore. The ISI was publicly embarrassed by the incident and has been pressuring the US to reveal the extent of CIA activities inside Pakistan.
Thousands protest against US drone attacks in Pakistan (AFP):
Thousands demonstrated in Karachi on Sunday to demand an immediate end to US missile strikes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas and urge the blocking of NATO supplies passing through the country.
Activists from the Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) continued a two-day sit-in outside the city’s Arabian Sea port, urging the government to end its cooperation with Washington’s “war on terror”.
“It is not Pakistan’s war, this is America’s war. This war has killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis, women and children,” the group’s leader and former cricketer Imran Khan told the gathering of around 7,000 supporters.
Karachi is Pakistan’s economic hub, home to its stock exchange and a lifeline for a depressed economy wilting under inflation and stagnating foreign investment.
The city, the country’s largest, is important to logistical support for NATO forces fighting against Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
“There was not a single Taliban militant in Pakistan before 9/11 but since we joined this war, we are facing acts of terrorism, bombing and drone strikes,” Khan said.
The demonstrators chanted anti-US slogans and carried banners and placards reading “Death for America” and “Stop drone strikes in Pakistan”.
Khan said the US drone strikes were creating “suicide bombing factories” and urged the government to stop taking foreign aid.
“These attacks are against Pakistan’s interests. I ask the government to stop NATO supplies via Pakistan, but I am sure they can’t, because these shame-proof rulers are getting dollars,” he said.
Related Material From the Archive:
- CIA Deaths Prompt Surge in U.S. Drone Strikes
- U.S. Drone Attacks Killed More Than 950 People in Pakistan Last Year
- Pakistani Media Releases Name of Islamabad CIA Station Chief
- U.S. Planning Possible Unilateral Attack on Pakistani Taliban
- Dead Pakistani Taliban Leader Claims Responsibility for Failed Times Square Bombing
- India Claims Pakistani ISI Orchestrated Mumbai Attacks
- French Strikes Continue As Protesters Block Airports, Tunnels
- The Pakistani Taliban is Running Out of Money