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Musharraf allowed US to carry out drone recce flights in Pak: Gilani

By Nairita Das

Islamabad, Oct 23 (ANI): Former President Pervez Musharraf had allowed the United States to carry out drone flights in Pakistani tribal areas for reconnaissance, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has stated.

Permission had been given "much earlier for reconnaissance and surveillance flights" by US drones, but "it was never given for missile attacks", the Dawn quoted Gilani, as saying during a meeting with diplomatic correspondents in reply to a question about stepped up drone strikes in Pakistan.

Gilani also denied reports that the US carried out drone operations from Shahbaz Airbase in Pakistan, and added that he would investigate reports about them using Balochistan's Shamsi Airbase for the purpose.

About 184 drone attacks have been carried out in Pakistan since 2004, mostly in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, where terrorists are believed to have sanctuaries. Over two- dozen strikes have been launched since September this year. he prime minister reiterated his denunciation of the CIA missile strikes, saying that they were counter-productive and an infringement of the country's sovereignty.

He even said that Pakistan's patience had already run out on the US drone strikes, but did not say why did he not review Musharraf's authorisation to allow drone flights after himself coming into power, and that too after knowing that the agreement was being abused by the Americans, the paper said.

A reading of the red lines shared by the PPP-led government with the Obama administration last year reveals its tacit acceptance of the drone strikes, it added. The red lines, in the context of drones, only say no expansion of drone attacks in Balochistan, but nothing about attacks in FATA. (ANI)

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