LONDON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that drone attacks violate the sovereignty of Pakistan and that the issue will be raised during his visit to the United States, DawnNews reported.
Television channels quoted the prime minister as recalling that during his meeting with Barack Obama on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting last month, he had placed the drone issue at the top of his agenda and also called upon Washington to stop them.
The prime minister also said that all political parties are on one platform with regards to having talks with the Pakistani Taliban.
Nawaz Sharif said Islamabad was in favour of restoration of peace in Afghanistan, but did not support any group or party.
Mr Sharif told media at the Lahore airport earlier during the day that he would talk to President Obama about the regional situation, including Afghanistan.
Talking to reporters before boarding his US-bound flight, he said the talks would also cover bilateral trade and investment.
“All institutions are supporting me in the best interest of the country,” Mr Sharif said.
Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told a private TV channel later that Mr Sharif would convey the nation’s concern on the drone strikes.
On some issues, Mr Rashid added, the US and Pakis-tan had their own viewpoints, but the two leaders would try to find a middle ground.
The US State Department said that Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Nawaz Sharif before the former leaves on a foreign trip.
The prime minister will meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
US-Pakistani relations have weathered numerous crises in recent years.
There was a months-long legal battle over a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistanis, in addition to the fallout from bin Laden’s killing in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad in May 2011.
The Pakistani government was outraged that it received no advance warning of the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s compound.
Adding to the mistrust, the US mistakenly killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in November 2011. Islamabad responded by shutting land supply routes for troops in Afghanistan until it received a US apology seven months later.
AFP adds: A senior US State Department official said drone strikes were “part of a very comprehensive conversation we have on security across the board”.
“One of the things we want to hear about are the Sharif government’s own plans for dealing with their domestic terrorism issues, and what they see as the future of engaging with the Pakistani Taliban, what the status is of potential peace discussions,” the official added.
Mr Sharif is also expected to meet officials from the IMF and the World Bank as well as some private investors as he seeks to make good on election promises to reinvigorate an ailing economy.