Owing to the lack of transparency and murky decision-making which plagues the process, the exact number of casualties resulting from US drones strikes in Pakistan continues to perplex observers. With newspapers and news channels dedicating considerable ink and air-time, the US drone programme is one of the most aggressively debated issues in the country. If there is anything worth mentioning that has come out of this otherwise fruitless ‘discussion’, it is the unveiling of the inherent flaws entrenched in the bizarre political culture of this country, its lamentable short-sightedness and its baffling inability to adopt an intelligent approach towards the gravest of matters.  

It is a well-established fact that the drone strikes were initiated by the US only after Pakistan’s explicit permission. In an interview to CNN earlier this year, Pervez Musharraf-the head of the country when the strikes started came clean about his government’s secret deal with the US. Clearly, Mr Musharraf was not mindful of the consequences the programme would have in the following years, and his government’s helplessness in the face of a guest who has overstayed his welcome. The ‘leaders’ continued to fan the debate to appease public sentiment, while secretly approving of the strikes “as long as they get the right people.” But, being lied to by self-imposed messiahs and representatives is nothing new for the Pakistani public. The real issue lies elsewhere.

In this matter, Pakistan can make no pretence of retaining sovereignty, and the same applies for those areas where the government is unable to impose its writ. It is this very weakness which has served as a pretext for the justification of drone strikes within the country’s territory. Ironically, this home-grown terrorism that kills more Pakistani citizens than anyone else, is seen as a global threat, and so down descend the drones ‘to take care of’ what Pakistan is hesitant to touch.  To demand from others to halt their activities which they reckon to be crucial for global and national security, while taking no steps to counter the constantly deteriorating security situation, is utterly incomprehensible. The intrusion will not stop until or unless, Pakistan demonstrates that there is a responsible government in the country, capable of dealing with its own problems. The lack of confidence prevalent in the international community will not lessen as long as the country stays hopelessly idle in the face of annihilation. If the people at the top genuinely care about the security and sovereignty of their country, they will have to take decisive action against militants which openly challenge the government on a daily basis, and attract drones. It is fairly easy to be complacent with others doing your dirty laundry, but the way ahead is paved with hard decisions. It is hoped that the democratic leadership can turn its head around, and finds the courage to call a spade a spade.