WASHINGTON - Terming drone attacks as an integral part of American policy, ex-US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, alleged that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and religious parties were involved in fanning public rage against the strikes.
“Most of anti-drone protests staged across the country are provoked by the Pakistani military and religio-political organisations”, he said in a statement issued here.
On the other hand, the ISPR in a rebuttal issued later trashed the ex-US envoy’s allegations as ridiculously unwarranted. Munter also slammed international think-tanks for aggravating the death toll of drone attacks.
“The drone strikes death toll stats, published in various think-tank reports around the world, are highly overrated.”
He said he had tried to persuade US to change its drone attacks policy while he was serving in Pakistan as an Ambassador.
“I for one, had not only honestly fought Pakistan’s case in Washington but also urged the US administration to pay due heed to Islamabad’s concerns regarding such attacks but it takes more than an individual to influence a policy change”, he stated.
He, however, hoped that the number as well as the frequency of drone attacks would see a significant reduction in the wake of US-led NATO forces pullout from Afghanistan.
Commenting on Pakistan’s plans for increasing trade with India, he was all praise for the initiatives taken by the military and civil leadership of the country.
“In India the sentiment is very positive with regard to these conciliatory measures”, said Munter.
He stressed that Pakistan was not a failed state.
“Pakistanis are the binding force cementing the country’s social structure together and thus it cannot fail”, the ex US envoy said.
He said that comparatively there was more poverty in India than in Pakistan.