US drone strike kills at least 60 people in South Waziristan; Pakistan Army: Swat operation in its final stage; National Assembly sets up 27-member committee to review 1973 Constitution; US Senate approves bill tripling aid to Pakistan
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  • Report noted that a drone attack by US forces on June 23 killed at least 60 people at a funeral for a Taliban fighter in South Waziristan. The Pakistani armed forces meanwhile were continuing their operations in South Waziristan against Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Taliban in Pakistan1. At least 21 people, including militants and civilians, were killed and several others injured during air strikes launched by Pakistan security forces in the Waziristan region on June 21-222. A Pakistan Army spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Abbas stated that operations in Swat were in their final phase and that a decisive action against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mehsud and his network was in the offing3.

    In domestic developments, the speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza set up a 27-member committee on June 23 to revisit the 1973 Constitution and weigh the pros and cons of repealing the 17th Amendment. Reports noted that women and minorities were not given representation in the Committee4.

    The US Senate unanimously passed a bill approving $1.5 billion a year in humanitarian and economic aid to Pakistan for five years, thus effectively tripling non-military aid to the country5.

    At the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers meeting in Trieste, Italy on June 26, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia agreed to improve cooperation in fighting terrorism, combating illegal drug production and trafficking and promoting good relations among neighbours. The meeting was attended by Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta and Sergei Lavrov6.

    In other developments, the Pakistan Supreme Court on June 24 dismissed an appeal by Indian prisoner Manjit Singh alias Sarabjit Singh seeking a review of his death sentence awarded by a court in 19917.