Pakistan Parliament wants foreign raids to be repulsed

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Islamabad, Sep 5 (UNI) Outraged by the deadly first known ground assault into Pakistan's tribal belt by US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, Pakistani Parliament unanimously asked the government to take measures to "repel such attacks in future with full force".

After fiery debates over Wednesday's pre-dawn helicopter-borne raid by international troops that reportedly killed at least 20 people in a village in South Waziristan tribal region, the demand was made in a resolution passed unanimously by the National Assembly and the Senate separately yesterday.

The resolution also wanted the government to tell the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan that such violations were "bound to force fundamental changes of foreign policy" by a key ally in the so-called war on terrorism.

According to the Dawn newspaper, this was the strongest-worded joint stance to date by both treasury and opposition benches in Pakistan's Parliament over any of the numerous alleged violations of the Pakistani territory by the coalition forces hunting Al Qaeda and Taliban militants and came at a sensitive time two days ahead of the presidential election.

"The house calls upon the government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and repel such attacks in the future with full force," the resolution said.

Pakistan says this was the coalition forces' first ground assault into the area after three helicopters brought troops to a village near the well-known militant stronghold of Angoor Adda to target some houses.

Both Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the National Assembly and leader of house Raza Rabbani in the Senate said in their prepared remarks before tabling the resolution in their respective chambers that the attacks "constitute a serious escalation in the series of actions by the ISAF coalition forces on Pakistani territory".

Most of the previous attacks had involved rocketing by jets or pilotless predators or artillery shelling from across the border.

The foreign minister told the National Assembly that Wednesday's raid, which drew renewed opposition calls for a review of Pakistan's role in the anti-terror war, was in violation of what he called "established rules of engagement" as well as of "International Human Norms" and the UN charter.

But he did not explain "the rules of engagement" that Pakistan might have agreed with the coalition forces in Afghanistan.


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