Drone attacks by the imperialist America get a legal cover from ‘might is right’ pre-emptive doctrine introduced by the former Bush administration. The UN officials, the international court of justice experts, the international law and the world community has not only time and again questioned the unilateral violation of one’s sovereignty, but the superpower has on its own assumed the world as one globe under its control and therefore the law of its land extends to other nations as its right to ‘curb the menace of terrorism’ wherever it is sprouting or bringing up. Many plead to take the pragmatic view of the briskly changing world and advise the nations at the superpower’s mercy to either abide by it or get annihilated. In order to save the humanity the way forward is compliance and compromise as if the concept of their sovereignty does not exist and their right to resist does cease. Some convincingly argue that the drones in Pakistani areas, without prior information of local authorities, have certainly eliminated many dreaded terrorists which the Pakistan military has been unable to fight out despite their presence in the areas, but they do not come out with sufficient answer to the possibility of giving technology of drones, modern surveillance and intelligence gadgets, etc in the hands of country’s own security apparatus that could have capacity and collaboration to take this war to its logical end much earlier.

As some analysts put it, those who draw a moral line in the sand saying drone attacks are “extra-judicial executions” have yet to offer a viable alternative to end the murder of civilians of all nationalities by militants who themselves operate outside of the law (and which does not produce more civilian casualties than drone strikes). Those who defend drones ignore the many ambiguities of the missile campaign in terms of respect for sovereignty, the exercise of the power of the state, and international law, all of which set a dangerous precedent for which we may all eventually pay dearly. Anecdotal evidence by journalists who have studied the situation in Fata also suggests the people actually living there – and therefore those who should have the greatest say – prefer drone strikes as the least bad option compared to either Pakistan military’s campaigns and aerial bombings (which cause more civilian casualties), or to life under the Taliban (who also kill civilians). The most vociferous opponents of the drone bombings – among them rising politician Imran Khan and the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council – are often the least likely to condemn either Taliban violence or actions by the Pakistani military.

A foreign newspaper said, however, the reality is whatever the rights and wrongs of the past, the US and Nato soldiers are there in Afghanistan. Even if they wanted to pull out faster than the 2014 deadline, logistically it would not be possible. And by many accounts, Afghans on the whole would prefer a gradual and organized withdrawal of foreign troops rather than have their country handed over to the Taliban or to civil war. Many of them welcome the drone strikes if they keep militant attacks at bay. In other words, framing drones as a form of western imperialism fails to account for the views of those Afghans who themselves resent Pakistani interference in their country.

ESCHMALL SARDAR,

Peshawar, May 11.