Fresh off a decisive victory in this weekend’s election, Pakistan’s incoming leader Nawaz Sharif has quickly set the stage for a battle with the US over ongoing drone strikes against the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
“This is a very important issue and our concern must be understood properly,” Sharif said, warning that the drone strikes are a “challenge to our sovereignty” and one that Pakistan was not going to simply sit by and ignore.
Sharif campaigned on a promise to end the strikes, saying he would “reconsider” relations with the US if they did not stop launching such strikes. Between his clear victory and the ruling by Pakistan’s high court last week that the strikes are a violation of international law, there is much momentum behind ending them.
Sharif is moving quickly to form his new government, announcing his intention to make Ishaq Dar his finance minister. Counting still isn’t over in the election, so it still isn’t clear how much of a majority he’ll end up with.