Gilani tells US to end drone strikes, fulfill drone technology promise

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Islamabad, Sep.18 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday told U.S. Ambassador Anne W Paterson in a meeting at the Prime Minister's House that the US must fulfill its pledge to provide drone technology to his country so that it could fight off the threat of terrorism more effectively.

Gilani also demanded an end to the drone attacks being allegedly launched by the Americans from neighbouring Afghanistan.

"Pakistan very well knows how to defend its homeland and who the terrorists are," the Dawn and Online News quoted Gilani, as saying.

He, however, thanked Washington for co-hosting the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Summit to be held in New York, and expressed the hope that this congregation of the leadership of friendly countries would provide the needed impetus for pledges of assistance made in Tokyo.

He also hoped the World Bank Trust Fund for Pakistan would be announced during the Summit to enroll the support of smaller donors for development projects in the country.

While dilating upon the ongoing operation against the militants the prime minister underlined the urgency for replenishment of ammunition and equipment needed by Pakistan's Armed Forces to successfully bring this campaign to a successful conclusion.

Prime Minister Gilani also reaffirmed his government's priority to focus on the energy sector and asked the US and other donor countries to come forward with immediate assistance to help the government overcome the present energy deficit in the country.

Regarding the Swat Operation, he said that it was a huge success and that the Pakistani nation must be credited too in the operation.

He said that due to prudent policies of the government, the country is on a track towards prosperity.

Ambassador Patterson reportedly informed the prime minister that a team of experts from the United States would be visiting Pakistan early next month to discuss the details of energy projects, which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce in her forthcoming visit to Pakistan.

The Ambassador also assured the prime minister that the Kerry-Lugar Bill will be passed by the US Congress in the coming weeks and most of the financial assistance included in it will be channeled through established government institutions and mechanisms like Benazir Income Support Programme, Higher Education Commission, Basic Health Units and through government institutions assisting dislocated persons.

The Ambassador said that the US government was highly appreciative of Pakistan's handling of dislocated persons, their rehabilitation and the endeavors to reconstruct the affected areas of Malakand Division. She reaffirmed her government's commitment to remain steadfast in its support to Pakistan in the reconstruction phase of Swat and Malakand areas. (ANI)

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