The drone strike that killed the second-in-command in the Tehrik-i-Taliban hierarchy, may have come as a rude initiation into the impossible task of trying to protest them, for the PM-designate, Mian Nawaz Sharif. He and his party have expressed support for initiating the process of talks with the TTP, to put an end to the violence perpetuated by the TTP against Pakistan and its citizens. The PML-N chief’s outcry is thus based not just on principle, but also on fulfilling the expectations that people have placed in him, as the leader of a new, mandated government. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, meanwhile countered the argument of illegality of drones, with the logic of convenience, that since the US war with the Taliban had been authorised by the UN, it is legally also in order to hit them by any means possible, including drones. Mr Kerry’s view that the drones have saved American and Western lives had better be seen against the backdrop of militants’ emergence in other parts of the world and that hardly provides the equally necessary sense of security to those who are other than American citizens or residents. The fact remains that drones are indeed a violation of sovereignty, when conducted without the permission of the government in that sovereign country. No matter how Senator Kerry justifies drones as a weapon in the war against terror, the US has no right to operate drones in Pakistan. The presumption that they do, and that Pakistan does not know any better than to protest, is not just incorrect, but is also an indicator of the hubris that has made the US unpopular in so many parts of the world.President Barack Obama’s review of drone policy soon after the PML-N’s victory at the polls, seemed to suggest that his administration wanted to begin its relations with the incoming government on a positive note. Since the party’s manifesto contained ‘an end to drones and talks with the Taliban’ as its priority mission he would consider putting their use on hold. He would let the prospective peace parleys have a chance, just as his own administration was desperately trying to do before withdrawing troops by end-2014. Thus, the last attack shocked and dismayed not only the PML-N leadership, but also Pakistanis hoping for the talks to maybe bring an end to the daily terror. It had the effect of, as PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan opined, sabotaging the talks, which everyone was looking for, not without some trepidation, though, about their outcome. Nevertheless, an attempt was necessary since there lay a ray of hope and with the Taliban withdrawing the offer, that ray has disappeared at least for the time being. It would need a fresh attempt to restart the process. Now, the best course, as already suggested by some PML-N leaders, for the PML-N government would be to sit down with other stakeholders, including the army and Imran’s PTI, that is vehemently opposed to these strikes, and evolve a well thought-out strategy to negotiate Washington out of this counterproductive exercise.