IT was revealing to find Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar justifying drone attacks against Pakistani civilians on the grounds that they killed only the militants. Clearly his ignorance got the better of him because all data collated so far by different sources highlights the fact that the drone attacks, increased under the Obama Administration, have killed primarily civilians. They have also been like fodder for militant recruitment. Perhaps most important is the point that there is a big question mark over their legality in international law - and this is quite aside from the sovereignty issue for Pakistan. For all these reasons, there are growing voices in the US itself that are questioning the continued use of the drones. Unfortunately, our rulers continue to maintain their servility to the US. The Defence Ministers support for the drone policy shows once again what the US has been claiming all along: that Pakistan has sanctioned these attacks. To the eternal shame of the Musharraf and Zardari regimes, sanctioning the killing of ones own citizens by a foreign power is simply unforgiveable. And the inability to face the people with this truth shows a reprehensible cowardice on the part of these leaders. They continue to lie to the people and to Parliament which has passed a resolution demanding an end to drone attacks. By ignoring this resolution the government has also exposed its mere lip service to democracy and parliamentary government. The uniform may have gone from the top tier but the reality of personalised decision making and non-transparency remain the norm. Meanwhile the national consensus against the drones continues to build momentum. In FATA, adding to the drone civilian casualties we are seeing the Pakistan military itself conducting bombing raids in this region. We are constantly being told that a certain number of militants have been killed in these bombings, but how can it be determined how many are the militants and how many are innocent victims of what is effectively indiscriminate targeting from the air? As for the issue of sovereignty, effectively the government has ceded most of it to the US - not just through the sanctioning of the drone attacks but also by allowing the US a free run across the land. The extent of access given is only slowly coming to light and the latest revelation is the extensive and dubious private spy networks the US has operationalised in Pakistan. It seems that the only way the drone attacks will end is if the US critics gain support within Washington because the Pakistani ruling elite has sold its soul to the US and the citizens are the victims.