“Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power.”– Charles Caleb Colton

There seems to be no end to US arrogance and hypocrisy. Its administration’s unilateralism destined to fail in the long run has created more problems for the world than resolved them. The issue of drone attacks in Pakistan is a case that needs a deeper analysis. Both Islamabad and Washington should jointly weigh the pros and cons of the options available to win the war on terror and curb militancy. The Americans, however, have adopted a policy that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives. While minimum success has been achieved in killing the real targets using drones, the so-called “collateral damage” has been immense. This has, in turn, sowed the seeds of hate among the people, especially those who have been affected by these attacks. Consequently, a majority of the drone-affectees are joining the rank and file of militant groups, thereby defeating the US administration’s objectives in the war on terror. Successive Pakistani governments have voiced their concerns about drone strikes, but have failed to take even possible initiatives to engage Washington in a fruitful dialogue to find an appropriate solution. On its part, however, it seems that USA is not willing to review its drone policy; hence, a dangerous impasse continues that could explode anytime enveloping the entire South Asian  region in turmoil. The newly-elected government of Mian Nawaz Sharif has issued some high-sounding warnings to the American administration, but have not followed them up. Recently, Pakistan summoned the US Charge d' Affaires, Ambassador Richard Hoagland, to the Foreign Office in Islamabad, reportedly, “to register a strong protest against the latest US drone strike in North Waziristan.” This, however, did not help to convince the US that such acts are counterproductive and a violation of the Pakistani territory. Perhaps, the US has failed to recognise the dangers posed to both Afghanistan and Pakistan after its exit in 2014. Keeping this in view, previously PTI, in collaboration with the tribal elders, protested in Khyber Pakhunkhwa demanding the federal government to take up the issue forcefully with the US administration. Also, Imran Khan in a statement expressed his desire that Pakistani air force shoot down the drones whenever they violated Pakistan’s airspace. While the capability of our air force cannot be denied, it could lead to serious complications specifically on the economic front. This means that the Americans, who are well aware of Pakistan’s weak economy, have used such tactics to pressurise successive Pakistani governments to accept their demands. Having said that, PM Nawaz Sharif has suggested that his government will develop a policy to counter the drone strikes, which, he said, were “a violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty.” According to reports, it is expected that Pakistan may take up the issue with the UN and other international bodies. Another proposal under serious consideration by the government is the establishment of a joint parliamentary committee, representing all political parties in the National Assembly, to bring the US to the negotiating table. Hopefully, the new democratically-elected government will be able to solicit enough support in the international arena to pressurise the Obama administration to revisit its policy of mercilessly using lethal drones on unarmed civilians. Some Pakistanis strongly believe that a team of capable lawyers must be constituted to file lawsuits against the US administration at the International Court of Justice for sanctioning these deadly attacks. They have also suggested that this team undertake tours of various universities in USA to inform the American people about their trigger-happy administration. If they can be motivated through a vigorous campaign, there is a possibility that the leadership in Washington will listen to Islamabad and find a better way to the present deadly drone attacks that have continued without any let or hindrance so far.

nThe writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television.