Myth broken that drones strike at the heart of terrorists in Pakistan
On Monday night heavily armed Taliban fighters freedsome 300 inmates from a large prison in Pakistan in
a large scale attack. Police said up to 40 gunmen wearing police
uniforms launched a surprise attack on the facility which holds
around 5,000 prisoners in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, some 320
km west of Lahore.
RT:Drone strikes have increased six fold under US President Obama. The new Prime Minister has called for an end to these attacks, your high court even declared them illegal. Why hasn’t anything changed? We are still seeing drone strikes carried out on Pakistani soil since the elections.
Sultan Hali: Unfortunately, it seems that the new government which had resorted to a lot of rhetoric, especially during the electoral campaign, had promised that it will bring to an end the controversial drone attacks, but it seems there has been a reality check given to the new government by the Americans that the aid which comes through the IMF, through loans and other things will be stopped unless the government of Pakistan toes the line. Therefore it appears to be business as usual. Although the number of drone attacks have increased with the new government coming in there have been only a number of protests, but there has been no severe stands taken by the US government that the drone strikes must stop. John Kerry is likely to visit this week, and maybe it is taking up his time, but I personally have very little hope for that because if something had to be done in a concrete manner, it would have been done. The worst thing is, the new government taking over has been only 50 days but the terrorist strikes have increased. The myth is broken that the drone strikes actually strike at the heart of the terrorists, but the amount of collateral damage that takes place has not only multiplied but it has resorted into many more human lives being lost because of terrorist strikes. And if you notice, the other day a major jail break took place in the city of Dera Ismail Khan and a number of terrorist have escaped. A similar jail break had occurred in the city of Bannu last year out of which there were very harden criminals and terrorists went on and attacked air force and air bases. Therefore, I personally think, if the drone attacks have to come to an end Pakistan will have to take a unilateral stand with the United States for its sovereignty. Until that happens it will be business as usual.
RT:There is ample evidence showing tacit Pakistani consent, even active cooperation in the drone program that contradicts the official posture that violates the country’s sovereignty. What do you make of that? Is the government itself not serious about ending these strikes?
SH: My personal view as a military analyst and as neutral
citizen of Pakistan I think the government is at a total loss. It
has no clear control of what is going on. Of course it has
inherited the problem but during the previous two governments
there was definitely tacit approval provided to the United States
of America. It was a “wink and scream” policy that they even
provided them with intelligence. Once the drones strikes took
place publicly they said that we are going to make a UN cry, this
was revealed to WikiLeaks, this was revealed by a number of US
senators who went on the record. It was hoped that the new
government would probably change this, but it has not only failed
to change, it is yet to draft a formal national security policy
which includes the drone attacks. Unless it does that, I am
afraid that it is at sixes and sevens.