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Itís not too late for US to apologize over Salala killings: Bilawal Bhutto PDF Print E-mail
WASHINGTON,  May 25 (APP): Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly defended Islamabad’s position on war on terror issues as he told the Obama administration in a TV interview that “it  is never too late (for it) to apologize” over the loss of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border strike that has strained Pakistan-US relations.  “I think an immediate (U.S.) apology was the humane, appropriate thing to do. I’d like the American public to consider what their reaction would have been if 24 American soldiers had been killed in such a way on the border with Mexico,” Bhutto Zardari told CNBC in an interview.

The PPP chairman was responding to a question about stalemate on the issue of Pakistani land routes that transport NATO supplies into landlocked Afghanistan but were shut down by Islamabad in the wake of November 26, 2011 warplane attacks on border posts that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
“It is never too late for an apology,” he told anchorperson Andrea Mitchel when she asked if it was too late for America to apologize.
About American expectation that President Asif Ali Zardari would have announced restoration of the supply routes at NATO summit, the  PPP leader pointed out that his father was extended an unconditional invitation to attend the Chicago meeting.
“The relationship between Pakistan and the United States has deteriorated over the last year. We weathered  a series of crises  from the Raymond Davis fiasco, when a CIA agent shot and killed  innocent Pakistani civilians in the back in the streets of Lahore  to the Abbottabad incident to this Salala raid by NATO that killed 24 innocent Pakistani soldiers and did not result in an apology.”
However, he noted, “both countries are working together and I am hopeful that they will resolve their differences because we have  a common  goal and we can only achieve it together.”
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also asked about American frustration  on Pakistan imposing duties on transportation of supplies despite the country having received aid from the United States.
“We don’t measure our soldiers’ blood in aid,” he replied.
He said he understood America’s situation.
“Therefore I urge them to please apologize for the loss of  lives their action caused” on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan.
The PPP chairman said continuous bombing into Pakistani territory by American drones is not only counterproductive in the war on terror but it is also violation of his country’s sovereignty and must end.
It is a violation of US war powers act as well as international law, he added.
America was supposed to be the city on the hill, setting an example to the world, he said, hoping that the United States returns to that status soon.
He disagreed with the contention that the drone strikes eliminated big al-Qaeda operatives.
They have been counterproductive and have caused casualties, he said.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said it has been Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that has led to capture and elimination of most al-Qaeda operatives and this counterterrorism contribution is  more than by any other nation.
He rejected the suggestion that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had some kind of complicity from Pakistan in hiding there for several years.
In this respect, Bhutto Zardari said the US found a treasure trove  of evidence from the Abbotabad compound none of which points to any link between Osama bin Laden, the Pakistani government, Pakistan army or the Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Asked to comment on the sentencing of Dr Shakil Afridi, a  Pakistani who worked for CIA in tracing whereabouts of Osama bin  Laden,  Bilawal Zardari pointed out that anyone collaborating with  foreign intelligence agency, even of a friendly country, is a crime everywhere in the world.
In this context, he cited the example of American sentencing of its citizen Jonathan Pollard who worked for Israel.
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