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I am against drone attacks, says PM.

ISLAMABAD, 19 May, 2009 (Frontier Star) -- Terming drone attacks as a serious blow to Pakistans sovereignty, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday made it clear that US must review its policy. "A victory in the fight against terrorism is a guarantee for the security and protection of people of the country", Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed these views in Ulema and Mashaikh Conference held under the aegis of Ministry of Religious Affairs and later in a quick chat with host of journalists on Tuesday. During his address in the conference, Prime Minister made it clear that we used all available options to bring peace in Malakand Division but at the end we were forced to used our last resort that is military operation to defeat militants in Swat and adjoining areas. He said that Government believed in resolving all issues peacefully through talks. Despite all reservations and criticism, the government signed peace deal as Nizam-e-Adl to avoid bloodshed in Swat. He said that Army would finish its offensive against the Taliban and ensure peace in the trouble-hit region. He said that no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of the state at any cost adding Taliban tried to challenge it but we will stop them now. PM said that Militants by challenging the writ of state forced government to take extreme measure and they didnt leave any choice except military action. He told the conference that APC was a show of national unity. There were no differences and no Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi or Pakhtoon, they all spoke with one voice for Pakistan. "Government and Pakistan army needs nations support in this tough time. Islam has nothing to do with extremism", PM said. He said that the IDPs have sacrificed for Pakistan therefore it is our responsibility as a nation to send them message that the whole country is standing behind them. Nation should help them generously. PM urged the Ulema and Mashaikh to play their role in projecting true image of Islam and to counter extremism and terrorism. "The Ulema has played an important role in Pakistans creation and now again it is time that they stand united to protect the country from all challenges. Terrorism has neither any religion or region, as the terrorists can strike anywhere, anytime", PM pointed. "No religion preaches violence or bloodshed. Islam is a true religion that has always abhorred violence and spoken of tolerance, understanding and brotherhood", PM stressed. "Some of the terrorists that are caught, wrongly quoting Quranic verses and Hadis to support their views, that brings a bad name to the religion and the Muslims as a whole. We are converted people with preaches and not with terrorism", PM highlighted. "It is the responsibility of every Pakistani, whether he was a common man, a politician or a government servant to reach out to the displaced people and help them in whatever way it is possible urging we are proud to be Pakistanis", PM maintained. On the occasion, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi said that we are fighting a war with militants who are disrupting peace in the region. He stressed that some anti state elements in the name of Islam are projecting negative scenario of Islam adding children carrying weapons on their shoulders think they are on a mission of Jihad. He said that drone attacks have already taken numerous lives adding government is committed to wipe off the menace of terrorism and extremism from the country. He said that we must give a befitting response to US drone attacks rather than killing our own people. Later while talking to journalists after the conference, PM said that we have time to time said that drone attacks are counterproductive because it diverts the military operation and is also causing problem for the civil administration. "Personally I am against drone attacks hoping that US would review its policy towards drone strike in country tribal areas" PM emphasized.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Date:May 19, 2009
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