Islamabad: Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday sought an end to the controversial US drone attacks targeting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in safe havens in the country's lawless tribal belts.

"We respect the sovereignty of others and they should respect our sovereignty and independence. This campaign must come to an end," Sharif said.

He told MPs that it was necessary to work out a joint strategy to stop the CIA-operated drone strikes. "We must learn others' (American) concerns about us, and express our concerns about them, and find a way to resolve this issue," he said.

"These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop," Sharif said.

US President Barack Obama, in his most expansive discussion of the drone programme, said last month that he is haunted by the unintentional deaths. But he argued that targeted strikes result in fewer civilian deaths than indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

"By narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us, and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life," Obama had said.

Since 2004, the US has carried out over 350 drone strikes inside Pakistan, killing some of the top al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders.

(Agencies)

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