Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was formally elected and took office today after a decisive victory in last month’s elections. In his first speech to parliament, he called on the US to end its drone campaign.
“This daily business of drones has to stop immediate,” Sharif warned, saying it was time for the US to start respecting Pakistani sovereignty. The US has launched only one strike since the election, killing seven people last week.
While that’s a lot fewer drone strikes than launched in the past the attack was particularly ill-timed, and foiled Sharif’s plans to hold negotiations with the Pakistani Tehreek-e Taliban (TTP). The TTP have ruled out talks since the strike.
The US is continuing to insist that the strikes are justified by 9/11, though the TTP didn’t even exist back then, and the drone strikes have dramatically destabilized Pakistan, to the chagrin of officials there. Sharif warned during the campaign that continued drone strikes would force Pakistan to rethink its long-standing alliance with the US.
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