Yaqoob Malik is in Charleston as part of a U.S.-Pakistan partnership program arranged by the International Center for Journalists, in Washington, D.C.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During their recent meeting in Washington, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and U.S. President Barack Obama wore nearly matching dark suits and blue ties, but on the issue of drone strikes inside Pakistan, there was a definite difference of opinion.
Sharif has emphasized the need to end U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, but the media and political analysts acknowledge that Sharif faces an uphill battle.
There are serious reservations about the strikes among Pakistani people and mainstream political parties, who are believe they violate the country's sovereignty.
Last month, Sharif spoke out against the strikes in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, arguing that the civilian casualties from the strikes undercuts Pakistan's "resolve and efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism from Pakistan."
U.S. officials have said they are reducing the drone strikes, but are not ending their use.
"We want to find ways for our two countries to cooperate even as we have differences on some issues," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the press.
So, the drone attacks are not likely to stop on account of any reservation of Sharif, especially considering the report that appeared in The Washington Post while the delegation was in town, and which stated there is strong evidence that the drone activity had the Pakistan government's previous approval.
Besides the controversial drone issue, the first face-to-face meeting of the two leaders in the Oval Office last week was said to be overall positive. Both sides discussed the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014 from Afghanistan and stressed cooperation.
"We believe that if Pakistan is secure and peaceful and prosperous, that is not only good for Pakistan, it is good for the region and it is good for the world," Obama said.
Obama acknowledged that it was a challenge for both the nations to strengthen cooperation on counterterrorism and also agreed to cooperate in maintaining Pakistan's sovereignty.