15 Feb 2009

Plea for US to stop missile attacks on Pakistan

4:31 pm on 15 February 2009

A senior Pakistani official, Rehman Malik, has appealed to the United States to heed the unanimous wish of the Pakistani people, and stop missile attacks on its territory.

Mr Malik was speaking after reports that at least 27 people were killed by an American missile attack on a house in South Waziristan, close to the Afghan border.

The US has carried out more than 20 air strikes from pilotless drones in north-western Pakistan in recent months.

Islamabad has long argued that US air strikes complicate its own fight against insurgents, and violate its sovereignty.

Pakistani leaders had expressed hope that the new US administration of Barack Obama would halt the controversial manoeuvres.

But earlier this week Mr Obama said there was no doubt militants were operating in safe havens in Pakistan's tribal belt and that the US would make sure Pakistan was a strong ally in fighting that threat.