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Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:41AM
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (file photo)

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (file photo)

The Pakistani prime minister has accused the US president of taking political advantage out of the drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which border Afghanistan. "The United States is into the election year and [US President Barack] Obama's decision has been aimed at gaining political mileage," Xinhua quoted Yousuf Raza Gilani as saying on Sunday at a press conference in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore. The premier’s remarks came a day after Obama ordered a sharp increase in the assassination drone strikes in the tribal areas. The attacks have soured the ties between Washington and Islamabad. Since May 23, the strikes have killed over 60 people in the North and South Waziristan tribal areas -- five on May 23, 10 on May 24, four on May 26, 12 on May 28, four on June 2, 10 on June 3, and 16 on June 4. Pakistani officials condemn the assaults, describing them as flagrant violations of their country’s sovereignty. Washington claims that the attacks target militants, though, casualty figures clearly indicate that Pakistani civilians are the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned acts of aggression. The UN has called the attacks “targeted killings that flout international law.” On January 31, Obama publicly admitted to the US use of the unmanned drones in Pakistan and other countries. In response to questions about the use of the assassination drones by his administration in a chat with web users on Google+ and YouTube, he said “a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA” -- Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the official name for the tribal region. KA/GJH/HN
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