Pakistan Army on Wednesday conveyed to the United States that drone strike in Balochistan province that killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Mansour was detrimental to bilateral relations as well as the regional stability.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale expressed serious concerns over the US drone strike. He said the drone attack was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and had also damaged peace efforts in Afghanistan, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.
The COAS told the US envoy that Pakistan’s efforts, successes and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism were unparalleled.
The US drone strike was the first-ever in Balochistan. While the government has long condemned drone strikes terming them a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, it had already conveyed the US in 2010 that Balochistan was a ‘no-go area’ for the drone strikes.
Mansour was killed in Pakistan on Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a US drone in Balochistan, believed to be the first time a Taliban leader was killed in such a way inside Pakistani territory. On Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan refused to confirm that the person killed in the incident in Balochistan was Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Mansour.
Rejecting the argument that Mullah Mansour was a hurdle in talks between Afghan Taliban and Kabul, he said that the Murree dialogue could not have taken place if he had acted as a spoiler. Earlier, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif visited Armed Forces Institute of Ophthalmology (AFIO) and met wounded warriors of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
The COAS interacting with war heroes paid richest tribute to their sacrifice and valor, an ISPR news release stated. “We never give up and never quit,” he said.
Till date a total of 179 soldiers have lost their complete or partial eyesight due to improvised explosive device (IED) blasts. At present 56 sons of the soil are undergoing treatment in the AFIO, of them 30 have lost their both eyes.
During his visit, the COAS was given a detailed briefing on pilot project of the state-of-the-art Visual Rehabilitation Center for visually disabled soldiers.