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U.S. Unilateral Action Hurts Public Sentiments: Pak President

ISLAMABAD, May 27 (Xinhua) — The unilateral action taken by the U.S. forces to kill the al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil has hurt the public sentiments, said the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari here on Friday.

The president made the remarks during a meeting with the visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his presidential office in Islamabad.

During the meeting, Zardari also demanded the United States to stop the drone strikes in the country’s northwestern tribal areas.

File photo of Asif Ali Zardari

The president also said that Pakistan has suffered a great loss of lives in fight against terrorism and its economy has been badly affected by terrorism.

 

Local watchers pointed out that the messages sent by the Pakistani president during his meeting with Hillary Clinton have reflected at least three demands put forward by the Pakistani side on the United Sates to ease the current tensions between the two countries.

Firstly, the United States must ensure that unilateral actions like the May 2nd raid by the U.S. forces on the Pakistani soil shall not be repeated as such unilateral actions have seriously violated the sovereignty of Pakistan.

Secondly, the U.S. side must stop the drone strikes as such strikes have not only violated the territorial air right of Pakistan but also have caused a strong anti-American sentiment in the country, which in return have exerted a great pressure on the ruling party of the Pakistan People’s Party co-chaired by Zardari and his son.
Thirdly, the U.S. side needs to do something to compensate the losses that Pakistan has suffered due to being an ally of the United States in the anti-terror war. It is reported that the United States still owes Pakistan an estimated 3.5 billion U.S. dollars which has been promised by the United States to Pakistan for its support in fight against terrorism.

Despite the clear demands raised by the Pakistani side, local watchers believed that such demands can hardly be fully met. However, they said if the United States wants Pakistan to cooperate more it will have to make some concessions and most likely the United States will soothe the angry ally by promising more economic aid to the poverty-ridden country. Maybe some military aid as well, they said.

In the following meetings scheduled with the Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani and the Army Chief, Hillary Clinton may discuss in detail the ways to mend the relations between the two countries.

Hillary arrived in Islamabad on Friday for a visit. The Pakistani side has kept a tight lip about Hillary’s visit to the country due to the concerns about her security in Pakistan.

Since the killing of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. forces in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2, a series of terrorist attacks have been launched by Pakistan Taliban across the country to avenge the death of bin Laden.

On Thursday, just one day prior to Hillary’s arrival, a suicide car bomb attack in Pakistan’s northwest city of Hangu claimed 36 lives and injured over 50 others. Many of the killed or injured were policemen.

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