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Pakistan lawmakers to US: Stop drones and apologize for deadly airstrike

Pakistan wants to dramatically overhaul the rules of engagement with the U.S. in an attempt to clarify relations that have deteriorated dramatically since the Osama bin Laden raid last year. In an exclusive Andrea Mitchell Reports interview, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar explains the country's response if the U.S. refuses to ends its drone attacks.

Pakistan lawmakers have demanded the United States end drone strikes and offer an "unconditional apology" for an airstrike last year in which 24 local soldiers were killed.

A parliamentary committee reviewing ties with the United States proposed 13 new "rules of engagement" Tuesday – a move likely to deepen the political divide between Washington and Islamabad.


The NATO airstrike in November, near the Afghanistan border, left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead and prompted a crisis in the relationship between the two countries.

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If the new rules are approved, it could significantly alter the future relationship between the United States and its regional ally, seen as a vital source of access to neighboring Afghanistan.

The rules, seen by NBC News, seek an "unconditional apology" for the Nov. 26 strike and for those responsible to be "brought to justice."

'Greater market access'
The lawmakers also demanded "greater market access" for Pakistani exports to the U.S. and that NATO countries provide compensation for Pakistan's "human and economic losses" from the war on terror; a "deepened" and "strengthened" relationship with China and Russia; and a recommendation to "actively pursue” a joint gas pipeline project with Iran.

“Pakistan is sending the message to the U.S -- please respect our sovereignty and listen to the voice of the people. Let wait for the recommendations to be heard and discussed by the Parliament, whatever they decide, we'll abide by," Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, told NBC News.

Muhammed Muheisen / AP

Images of daily life, political pursuits, religious rites and deadly violence.

Senator Tahir Mashadi, a member of the ruling coalition party, said that any agreements with the United States must "be based on national integrity, national sovereignty, national honor and mutual respect."

"As far as the United States is concerned, the free lunch is over! If they want to use our roads, if they want to use our transit facilities, they'll have to pay for them," he said.

“The drone attacks are counter-productive, and the anti-American feeling is aroused here because of them, so it's really in the American interest to stop them," he added.

Curbs on Afghan night raids?
Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai may have won a major concession from the United States following a deadly shooting spree by U.S. soldier Sgt Robert Bales, with the Obama administration considering curbs on contentious night raids.

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With Karzai demanding a stop to night raids hated by Afghans -- but seen by NATO as one of their most effective anti-insurgent tactics -- a U.S. official said the United States was looking at modifying them and giving Afghans more oversight.

That would help seal agreement on a strategic pact with Karzai's government for a long-term U.S. presence in Afghanistan beyond a 2014 deadline for most NATO combat forces to withdraw, allowing advisers and possibly some special forces to stay on.

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The Obama government was discussing options with the Afghans including a warrant-based approach or possibly allowing Afghan judges to review raids before they took place, the U.S. official said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

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Karzai this month said not only must night raids by foreign forces halt, but Afghan security forces training to take over their conduct would "not be allowed to enter private homes unless their operations were according to the state law".

That would mean applying for a warrant, he said.

NBC News and Reuters contributed to this report.