Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has stated that the main disagreement with the US was over the method of operation of drones and not with the objective – if the objective was to target terrorists. What exactly the minister meant, is anyone’s guess.

It is, of course, Pakistan’s wish to free its soil of terrorist elements – or does that aim require restating? What is and always has been the problem with drones is that where they are illegal by law and a complete and total violation of Pakistani sovereignty (as the FM herself acknowledged), they are also subject to selection of targets straight from a kill-list in President Obama’s office, without due process, without enough investigation and with, at times, any male of “military age” being deemed a terrorist if killed, even as collateral. For the FM to say she understood the reasons for the Obama administration’s use of drones may have been a little unnecessarily generous in understanding on Pakistan’s part. Especially now, when there have been too many reports to ignore, implying that the government is hand in glove with the US, the FM’s words will be interpreted as a barely concealed confession. While we appreciate the unintentional honesty, it is not to say that one can agree with the Foreign Minister’s attempt at reconciling the tacit agreement of the Pakistani government and military in the drone wars. Of course, not all that the FM said in the briefing was to be criticized. She was clear and unequivocal in supporting the suggestion that absolutely the greatest generator of ill-will towards the US in Pakistan were drones. In light of the studies and reports now talking more and more of scores of civilian casualties and the miniscule figures of correct targeting of terrorists by drones, even US-based think-tanks as well as American columnists are commenting that the drones are a ‘recruiting windfall’ for the Taliban. They simply must stop.