There are many questions which need to be answered in regard to the drone attacks in the tribal areas. This is the right time to answer them otherwise we would as usual keep blaming the US for our failures. The many questions are why did the US use drones in Pakistani tribal areas? Did the US violate the sovereignty of Pakistan? What are the rules of engagement in drone warfare? What is the actual number of noncombatant civilians killed?
Drones have been a part of the developed countries’ arsenals since the 1970s, their recent prominence stems from the Obama administration’s frequent use of them in Pakistan and with deadly precision. Drones offer a cheap alternative to sending ground forces into Pakistani tribal areas. Such a move would have caused heavy casualties among the local population as well as destabilised the Pakistani state. Due to their low visibility, drones are considered less disruptive to local politics than any other coercive option.
Critics base their arguments on three points: first, that drones kill large numbers of innocent bystanders, second, that the rules of engagement governing their use should be made explicit, and third that they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. To some extent, the first two points are inter-connected, since drone operations are shrouded in secrecy it fuels speculation about the nature of the damage they cause.
Estimate of noncombatants killed in drone strikes vary from 3% to 15 %. Different NGOs, Amnesty International and human rights groups claim that at least 15% noncombatants were killed while Pakistan’s interior ministry revealed its report in the parliament that only 3% noncombatants were killed in drone strikes and in year 2012 no civilian was killed, while 2160 terrorists have been killed and number of civilians is 67. The more important question that drones are depicted as undermining Pakistani sovereignty, the fact remains that Islamabad is happy to countenance their use. 80 % of drone strikes have been concentrated in the Waziristan region, which constitutes the home base of the Pakistani Taliban, a group opposed to Pakistan’s very existence.
Drones are necessary for eliminating enemies of our beloved homeland Pakistan. In March 2011, Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood, in charge of troops in North Waziristan, had unveiled the truth about drone attacks. Briefing journalists in Miranshah, he said that many of those being killed in these strikes were hardcore elements, a sizable number of them foreigners. He also conceded that there had been a few civilian casualties. And the Central Intelligence Agency spied on world’s number one terrorist Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan by video transmitted from a drone.
The thing is that our leadership lacks courage to speak truth regarding this issue the main being that we can shoot down these drones if we so desire, but we don’t. So we should not blame others if we fail to protect our country. The Intel of were to shoot is provided by Pakistani intelligence in my thinking. Very few in the sitting government are anti-drone so why should the US stop these attacks. As one politician said there are some segment in the country who support the drone attacks, and they feel that drone attacks have been helpful in eliminating many of the militants, with this kind of thinking we cannot expect the US to stop the attacks.
Lahore, October 31.