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Pakistan PM to hold meeting on US ties

By:  Tupaki Desk   |   3 Nov 2013 9:53 AM GMT
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will preside over an important meeting later Sunday to discuss his country's relationship with the US following the drone strike which killed Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, officials said.

Pakistani officials claimed the US action has scuttled the government peace dialogue plan with the Taliban.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said meetings of the federal cabinet and the cabinet committee on national security would be convened in the next few days to review the entire perspective of Pakistan-US relations and cooperation, Xinhua reported.

Prime Minster Sharif was abroad when the American spy aircraft rained missiles into the North Waziristan tribal region Friday, and killed the Taliban chief and several other commanders, who had been discussing strategy for talks with the government.

The government had constituted a three-member delegation of top religious scholars to proceed to the Waziristan tribal area Saturday to meet the Taliban leaders and discuss the agenda and a possible venue for the peace talks.

The visit was cancelled after the US attack that is being widely condemned in Pakistan with both the government and opposition parties saying that the Americans have derailed the rare peace initiative.

Prime Minister Sharif had stated in London Thursday that peace talks with the Taliban had been started and he would speed up the process on his return to the country.

Officials said the prime minister returned home late Saturday and would discuss the situation post-US attack with his close aides and ministers.

Opposition parties are mounting pressure on the government to cut the supply line for the US-led NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan in protest against the latest strike that has caused serious setback to the process of peace talks with Taliban.

Senior political leader Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party rules the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has warned that the provincial government might stop NATO supplies from Monday.

The province is the major supply route for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq, said Saturday the militants could not hold talks when their leaders were being killed. He also warned of revenge attacks.

Officials say Pakistan's ambassadors in the capitals of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would brief the host governments on the negative consequences of the drone attack to the peace process.