New Pak government not under pressure to respond to Waziristan strike

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Islamabad, Mar.18 : The incoming coalition government in Pakistan is under no pressure to respond to Sunday's air strike on a suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda hideout in South Waziristan that reportedly killed several foreign and local militants.

The Daily Times quoted observers as saying that the WANA air strike was a message for the new government, but such types of attacks would not pressure the new setup in Islamabad.

According to the paper, the government's silence on such air strikes means it has been interpreted as an incursion.

"We have not yet pinpointed the source [of Sunday's attack]. We have no information about the number of casualties," military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told the Daily Times.

Former ambassador Ayaz Wazir, who hails from the WANA region, said: "In democracy, disputes or conflicts are resolved through negotiations. The use of force in such a scenario won't work. The new government will not accept [foreign strikes] as it will be feeling a responsibility towards people, who have mandated it to change the country's present policy on the war on terror."

The attack claimed the lives of 10 foreign and local militants in the town of Kaloosha.

A diplomatic source in Islamabad said coalition forces in Afghanistan would strike if they were tipped off about the presence of foreign militants and "such attacks can come with or without Pakistan's prior approval".

A Peshawar-based military officer said on the condition of anonymity that "unclaimed strikes" appeared to be "putting the [Pakistan] army on the defensive".

President Pervez Musharraf has called incursions into Pakistan an "act of war".

"The new government and the military will face difficulties in reaching a consensus deal on the war on terror," a source told the paper.

ANI

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