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Pakistan demands end to US drone strikes

Pakistani lawmakers have demanded that the US stop drone strikes inside Pakistan and apologize unconditionally for air strikes last year that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistani lawmakers have demanded that the US stop drone strikes inside Pakistan and apologize unconditionally for air strikes last year that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers, according to reports.

CNN cited a Pakistani parliamentary commission as saying that, “No overt or covert operations inside Pakistan shall be tolerated.”

A report by the committee will be debated by a joint session of parliament on Monday, after lawmakers have had time to examine it, CNN reported.

According to the Associated Press, any demand by Pakistan for an end to American drone attacks would complicate proposed new terms of engagement drawn up with Washington and complicate efforts to rebuild ties severed by the fatal Nov. 26 strikes.

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The NATO air strikes on the Pakistani-Afghan border led to Pakistan’s closure of NATO supply lines to Afghanistan.

Reuters cited Raza Rabbani, chairman of a parliamentary committee on national security, as saying that Pakistan should demand an unconditional apology for the “condemnable and unprovoked” NATO attack.

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Drone strikes are viewed by Pakistanis as a violation of sovereignty and criticized for inflicting civilian casualties, however many have been carried out with Pakistani approval, Reuters added.

The parliament commission also suggested Tuesday that the NATO supply lines would not be permanently cut, as many Pakistanis would like.

Washington sees its relationship with Pakistan as key to striking a deal with insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan, the AP wrote.

However, the news service has quoted US officials as saying that the drone strikes are key to defeating Al Qaeda  and the Taliban and has continued attacks despite public opposition in Pakistan.