Pakistan to push for intelligence sharing at U.S. talks

DUBAI Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:03pm EDT

Pakistan's Director-General of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant-General Zaheer-ul-Islam (R), attends a function with Governor of Sindh Ishrat-ul-Ebad (C) and Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah (L) in Karachi December 25, 2011. REUTERS/Arif Hussain

Pakistan's Director-General of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant-General Zaheer-ul-Islam (R), attends a function with Governor of Sindh Ishrat-ul-Ebad (C) and Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah (L) in Karachi December 25, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Arif Hussain

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Pakistan's spy chief will call for an end to U.S. military drone strikes in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and push for a sharing of technology and intelligence during a visit to Washington this week, the country's interior minister said on Monday.

But indications are that Islamabad's demands for a halt to drone attacks may receive a less-than-sympathetic hearing from top Obama administration officials.

Pakistani Lieutenant-General Zaheer ul-Islam's visit to meet CIA director General David Petraeus will be his first since he became head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in March and follows a thaw in relations between Pakistan and the United States.

Pakistan, however, continues to insist that U.S. drone strikes -- which it says are a breach of its territorial sovereignty -- must end.

"We will push for no drones. If we (Pakistan and the U.S.) are partners, we should sit together and have a common strategy. However, in this regional war there has been no common strategy against a common enemy," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a news conference in Dubai.

"I hope the visit of the director of the ISI will have good results. There is some dialogue going on as we speak," he said.

The United States has given no sign it is willing to halt the drone strikes.

In fact, U.S. officials signal there will be little, if any, change in U.S. counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan and the region.

"Let's not lose sight of the issue here. Al-Qaeda and its militant allies are violating Pakistan's sovereignty by using its territory to plot and carry out attacks," a U.S. official said. "Aggressive counterterrorism operations are what's frustrating al-Qaeda and pushing their leadership to the brink."

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also reiterated U.S. concerns about the extent of Pakistan efforts to confront militants -- including the Haqqani network and the Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP -- in loosely-governed tribal areas along the country's mountainous border with Afghanistan.

"Everyone wants the Pakistanis to accept more responsibility for taking on al-Qaeda, TTP and the Haqqanis. The problem is they have yet to show the capability -- or willingness -- to take effective action" in Pakistan's tribal areas, said the U.S. official.

The official added that while there was "always room for dialogue on how to defeat terrorist entities in the region," Pakistani authorities "need to offer some concrete ideas on how it does more against the violent Haqqanis, rather than point fingers."

But Pakistan's Malik told journalists: "Both countries have to find a midway (pont) ... This of course means intelligence-sharing. Also, give us the technology and we will use it. The U.S. has given us F-16 (fighter jets). Are we misusing it?"

Malik gave no further details, but Pakistan has long asked the United States to provide its military with its own drones for use in its tribal areas.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon in Dubai and Mark Hosenball in Washington; editing by Gary Crosse)

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Comments (3)
onlyif wrote:
” sharing of technology and intelligence” – hilarious. It’s like they’ve forgotten about not telling the US about Osama. “oh yeah, sorry about that. The memo fell behind the filling cabinet.”

Pakistan will share everything with China. Simple. Leave them with their rocks and stones.

Jul 30, 2012 6:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PenRumi wrote:
Mr. Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of Pakistan, seems to be amnesiac about the misuse of American weapons by the Pakistan military against Baloch nationalists such as the assassination of Mir Balach Marri and Nawab Akbar Ali Bugti.

If Pakistan gets hold of drone technology, drones will be directed against Baloch (and Sindh nationalists).

Drone strikes would not have been necessary if the Pakistan military had taken robust steps to eradicate militants and training camps in tribal areas, which the US has been pleading without success. According to General Hamid Gul, former head of ISI, it is in the strategic interest of Pakistan to support the Taliban and implicitly the Haqqani network.

Jul 30, 2012 8:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mrmouth wrote:
No problem with drones when we were targeting the people they saw as threats to Pakistan. Now we are targeting the people we see as threats to Afghanistan, which also happen to be Pakistan’s main foreign policy tool to prevent a phantom invasion of Afghanistan from India.

We are not dealing with logical people. They haven’t acted logical in quite a long time. Like, not long after the partition.

If they do not like the drones all they need to do is act against the groups that are killing civilians in a country they share a border with. But the militants do not even hide anymore. They act openly even in Islamabad. Things are getting much worse – not better.

Jul 31, 2012 1:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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