Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Parvez Kayani is being rushed to Turkey this evening for a meeting with Turkish government officials hot on the heels of Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani’s talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. The meeting appears to be the first step toward Turkish involvement in pressing the United States to halt its air strikes against targets inside Pakistan.
Gilani’s Press Secretary Zahid Bashir confirmed that Turkey has said it will use its “influence” as an important NATO member to stop the US strikes. This is the second high profile NATO member to express concern over the US strikes in recent days. On Friday, Britain’s Lord High Chancellor Jack Straw said that his government opposes any strikes inside Pakistan that don’t come with the government’s consent, and urged the US to respect the sovereignty of its vital allies.
The US has been launching an increasing number of strikes onto Pakistani soil in recent days, with two strikes on Friday killing a total of 32. Prime Minister Gilani once again reiterated his opposition to the strikes last night, saying that the attacks were counterproductive and expressing hope that the next US President will improve ties with his country. Gilani also said he would summon the US ambassador about the strikes, but previous moves to that end have had no apparent effect on the US policy.