The Peshawar High Court has spoken sternly against drones, giving specific directions to the government about how to put an end to attacks by these flying killers. Pronouncing its judgment on Wednesday on a petition demanding that drones should not be allowed to play havoc with the lives of the people, the two-member bench declared them illegal, calling upon the authorities to ensure that drones no more strike Pakistani citizens. They were violative of UN Charter and Geneva Convention. The government should pass a resolution against them and put it before the UN Security Council and General Assembly, and in case it is vetoed, all logistic support for the Nato supplies should be withheld. A detailed report should be submitted to the war crimes tribunal and deaths by drones declared a war crime. Besides, the US should pay compensation to all those killed and wounded by drones. And if all these strategies failed, the pilot-less planes should be brought down.

Already since the drones began appearing in Pakistani skies scores of innocent civilians have become victims. Yes, hardcore terrorists have also been killed, but their number, according to the US own investigating agencies, has been infinitessemally small i.e. just about two percent. The civilian price is far too much to justify the death of occasional militant criminals. A point of note here that their elimination has not made any difference to the intensity of the war on terror; rather, as a reaction the situation heats up. And the death of civilians leads to the recruitment of their kith and kin in the ranks of terrorist groups; so, for killing one militant, the price in the form of swelling the ranks of militants is nothing but counterproductive, fanning the fires of vengeance and retribution. In sum total, the US and its allies are the clear losers.

No doubt, the court order is a tall order but, nevertheless, it reflects the sentiments of an ordinary Pakistani, who feel outraged but find himself helpless in the face of the unending tragedy. The PPP-led political setup has invariably shied away from making any forceful, substantive move against the drone attacks, except for raising a hue and cry that proves of no avail. One feels compelled to think that it was mere posturing, especially as dictator Musharraf has recently admitted that he had given permission to the US to carry out these attacks. Only, the democratic government that followed him did not feel bold enough to withdraw that permission. However, time has now come to stand up for safeguarding our territorial sovereignty and their ought to be no dillydallying.