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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Zaheer
Full Name: Zaheerul Hassan
User since: 20/Jun/2009
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Pakistan Views: US Drone Attacks Counter-Productive

By Zaheerul Hassan

Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam, ISI Chief is visiting Washington in the ongoing month of July. He will likely to attend Pak-US Strategic talks and will also hold talks with CIA Director David Petraeus on end of Illegal U.S. drone attacks, counter-terror cooperation and intelligence sharing. The question arises whether this interaction will help in lessening the already prevailing tensions between the fractured anti-terror alliances, despite Islamabad’s decision to end a seven-month blockade on Nato supplies for Afghanistan. The United States has to understand that Nato supply will remain under threat even after restoration, till the time U.S doesn’t stop illegal drone attacks Pakistani areas.

She must realize that Pakistani masses including security forces and economy suffered a lot due to global war on terror. Pakistan has spent more than  8 billions$ over the war but as return,   gifted with  attack on Salala Check Post, increase in drone attacks, beheading of her soldiers after abduction from FATA areas by RAW sponsored  Afghan elements and interference in Balochistan. Attacking and killing of Pakistani soldiers on Chenab River Bank, raiding under training security elements and attacking security forces camp in  Gwadar Port (Balochistan) on 21 July 2012, are clear cut  indications  of increase of  foreign sponsored militancy in Pakistan.  U.S. should also understand that such type of increase in subversive activities and drone strikes is damaging her already deteriorated image in Pakistani masses.

CIA drone campaign has killed thousands of Pakistani civilians including women and children. According to reliable sources,since 2004, some 245 drone strikes have been launched in which 2405 civilians have been targeted apart from the finical losses.  Carefully calculated data reveals that twenty percent of the resulting deaths are believed to have been civilians. AS per South Asian Intelligence Review too  the death toll as result of drone attack in FATA is as under:-

Drone attacks in Pakistan: 2004-2012

Years

Strike

Killed

2004

1

5

2005

1

1

2006

0

0

2007

1

20

2008

19

156

2009

46

536

2010

90

831

2011

59

548

2012

28

312

Total*

245

2409

Source:  South Asian Intelligence Review

According to another report compiled by London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) states that 2,496 and 3,202 persons had been killed in US predators in Pakistan since 2004. Among them were 482 to 832 civilians, 175 of them children. Significantly, President Obama, on January 30, 2012, had claimed that US drone attacks in Pakistan had “not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.”

Nevertheless, the impact of the drone attacks within Pakistan has, however, been politically devastating for U.S. A Washington-based PEW Global Survey revealed that about 74 per cent of Pakistanis now consider the US an enemy, up from 69 percent last year and 64 percent three years ago. In this regard survey opined that Obama Actions in Afghanistan and world over are exceedingly low regard by Pakistanis, due to the civilian casualties in drone attacks.  Probably, CIA doesn’t pay any heed to US foreign state office. Recently, on July 3, 2012, Pakistan agreed to reopen its border to NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered an apology for the loss of life in NATO’s aerial attack on the Salala border check-post in FATA on November 26, 2011, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

 But on July 6, 2012, drone strikes took place just two days after the first NATO truck entered Afghanistan through Pakistan after a break of more than seven months, reaffirming the US intent to continue with drone attacks, ignoring Pakistani objections and resentment over the issue.  CIA actions of going for drone strikes and ignoring foreign officers’ concern simply would be taken as there are some elements in US intelligence elite that dislike any improvement between in Pak-US relationship.  Indeed, discontinuation of the drone strikes was one of the major preconditions Pakistan had articulated for reopening the NATO supply routes.

American and her allies should know that Pakistan has repeatedly asserted that unilateral drone strikes have proved counterproductive as it results in arousing anti-American feelings among the masses with increase sympathy of the terrorists. Besides, under-mining Pakistan’s sovereignty and image of Armed Forces, it is a complete violation of international law and UN Charter. Moreover, public aspirations and desire, Pakistan’s political; military and intelligence leadership has always been on the same page with regards to non-acceptance of drone strikes.  American leadership should know that ISI Chief’s visit to USA has been planned after the Government of Pakistan’s approval. It means that there is no difference between political and military top brass now in Pakistan. Head of ISI should convince and ask his counter parts to stop drone attacks strikes and US should provide strategic and technical intelligence input obtained through drones/ Unmanned Arial Vehicles so that Pak can take action against the terrorists.

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