US may allow dual control of drone attacks inside Pakistan
Washington, May 4 (ANI): The Obama Administration may announce a new public formula for dual control of drones that attack terrorist targets inside Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, according to a leading US daily.
US officials are exploring ways to reduce the political strain on the Zardari Government caused by US drone attacks on suspect al Qaeda sanctuaries in tribal areas. The drone attacks, however, would continue, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
Pakistanis have protested against these attacks, claiming them to be a violation of the country's sovereignty, "even though they have been blessed in secret by President Asif Ali Zardari's government," the report notes.
"This tension could be eased by some public formula for dual control. We're looking at how we might find some common way ahead where utilisation of the asset could benefit the Pakistanis," said a senior Obama Administration official.
Besides offering a formula for dual control of the drones, the Obama Administration also plans to give 1.5 billion dollars to Pakistan to beef up its ailing economy.
On Monday, when President Asif Ali Zardari arrives in Washington to attend a trilateral summit with the US and Afghanistan, US lawmakers also plan to present a new bill in the Senate, seeking to triple American assistance to Pakistan to 1.5 billion dollars a year for five years.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the media earlier this week that President Barack Obama plans to 'have some very intense sessions' with Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai during this summit.
The Post reported that President Obama held 'a crisis meeting' at the White House on last Monday. At this meeting, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had just returned from Islamabad, read a report on the situation in Pakistan.
"The situation in Pakistan had gotten significantly worse than I expected as the Swat deal unravelled," Admiral Mullen explained in an interview after the crisis meeting.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and special envoy Richard Holbrooke also attended the briefing where Admiral Mullen read his report. (ANI)