The drones flown by the CIA out of Shamsi airbase continue to fly, according to a report in The Miami Herald, which makes nonsense of the claim by Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar that Pakistan had asked for the base to be vacated. Also tending to contradict that view, but stopping short of doing so is Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, who said in Lahore on Friday that as the matter had not come up in the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, of which she is a member, it had not been decided, and the issue existed only in the newspapers. The report in the Herald has American officials dismiss Mr Mukhtars statement as an example of something said to satisfy the Pakistani public. If the USA is showing an unwarranted complacency, this is because the government, which wrongly considers the people to have accepted the continuous interference in its sovereignty that the drone attacks represent, wants to curry favour with the USA in the belief that this will enable it to prolong its hold on power. It is the desire to please the US which is causing ministers of the same government making apparently contradictory statements. The present juncture demands that, first of all, the government must speak with one voice, and should be very clear, both among themselves and to the Americans, that any intrusion by drones in Pakistani airspace will be met as any sovereign nation should meet them, by shooting them down. Not only must the USA be told to vacate Shamsi, but it must be given a date to do so. Only after it promises an immediate suspension of use, and vacation within the deadline, should supplies be allowed to go through to the personnel inside. It is particularly galling that the airbase which is the centre of the drone campaign was leased by Pakistan, but not to the USA, to a third country, which saw fit to give the base again to the USA for something that violated Pakistani sovereignty almost as a matter of routine. For too long has Pakistan, misled by the elusive shadow of an American alliance, allowed it to violate its sovereignty egregiously and repeatedly. It is time the Pakistan government drew the proverbial line in the sand, and told the USA that it would no longer go on with an alliance that had grown burdensome, and would no longer allow the free ride which the USA has taken for granted so far. There have been incidents enough, like the Raymond Davis affair and the Abbottabad raid, not to mention the almost daily humiliation of drone attacks, and the government needs no further evidence.