In an interview on Pakistani television today, President Asif Ali Zardari said that the United States has provided assurances that they will not carry out drone attacks in the Balochistan Province. President Obama has reportedly been under pressure in recent weeks to expand the attacks into Balochistan, despite warnings from religious leaders of retaliation if the province is hit.
At the same time, President Zardari is calling on the United States to provide his nation with Predator drones and missiles that they have been using to attack Pakistan’s tribal areas, saying that they would use them against the militants in the tribal areas too, but then wouldn’t be violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by doing so.
Pakistan has been providing its tacit support for the US strikes, in addition to providing intelligence and pressuring the US to select targets it deems desirable. At the same time, they have publicly criticized the attacks, which have been hugely unpopular domestically. Only three other nations besides the United States: Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom, have Predator drones in their military arsenal.
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