The drone debate

Illustration by Faraz Aamer Khan

During a meeting in Washington, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik asked the United States for drone technology stating that it would be used responsibly.

“If we are given drones, we will use them responsibly as we used the F-16s,” said Malik, as the US media reported on Sunday that Pakistan appeared to be changing its position on the strikes.

Malik told reporters he had conveyed Pakistan’s concerns over the drones to senior US officials, although he did not say if he asked them to stop the strikes.

Like Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, the interior minister also said that although Pakistan had no objection to using drones against militants, it disagreed with the method.

Opinion varies on drone strikes conducted by the US – where several agree that this is the only way to get rid of militancy, critics argue that this is a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and it should be the Pakistani military who should be conducting these operations instead.

In your opinion, should Pakistan be given drones to combat the terrorists in the tribal belt? Will the anger over foreign intervention cease if such attacks were conducted by our own military?

Would Pakistan be able to ensure no civilian deaths occur if it conducted these raids in those areas – and if so, how?

According to the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira’s statement on Monday, the Pakistani government has opposed the drone attacks since day one – however, this claim itself is contradictory, given the fact that our government has done nothing to stop them.

Although various official voices and some unofficial ones have been raised against these attacks conducted by the United States, fact remains, that Pakistan has taken no concrete step to unwind the drone program. Should Pakistan continue to remain silent then and let these missiles accomplish their mission or have we reached a point where some transparent decision needs to be made to appease the beleaguered masses?

And if the US is to continue these attacks, isn’t it about time that the Pakistani government acknowledged their consent blatantly to the public?


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20 Responses to “The drone debate”

  1. saythetruth10 says:

    Militants or no Militants the bottom line USA is carrying these drone attacks inside Pakistan. Nobody is checking who they are after and who are the killing. USA is the Judge and the Jury and Pakistan government has given a wink to the USA keep on doing it and we will protect but don’t mind our protect it is to show to our people that we disagree with USA but in reality we agree with the attacks. This double standard of USA and Pakistan continuously creating more militants. It is said to see the so called USA the champion of human right when it comes to Muslim countries are the biggest violates and it seem like nobody cares. Based on all the studies done by the independent agency drone kill people easily but effects of are negative and increase militancy. USA can live in dream land that one day they will eilimante the militant but harts and minds are win by love not by drone.

  2. gaurav, India says:

    Can the Pakistan army try to arrest or confront miltants on the ground? If they do that, drones will not be needed at all. The law of the land should prevail in tribal areas, these so-called groups should adhere by government’s writ. Unfortunately, I believe the army does not want to take these fundamentalist groups head-on. Can the Pak army do it? or further does the Pak army have the will to confront these groups?

  3. Asif says:

    If americans accuracy rate of drone attacks in less than one percent do you think Pakistani’s can do any better? the drone menace should be disabled all together.

  4. El Cid says:

    A Drone entered Israeli Air Space. Israeli Air Force tracked it. Shot it down at will. That is how a self-respecting vigilant nation–free, brave, alert, aware–protects its citizens and defends itself. No grumbling, no complaining, no crying, no screaming, no tears, no graves dug, no questions asked. Just a precision heat seeker from a F-16 into its hind. All done. Next…!

    [PS: Arabs with all their treasure, nor Palestinians with all their courage and brains have viable Drone technology. Iran, has both, but yet no defense satellite in orbit…cannot operate Drones a thousand miles away. Guess whose Drone IAF shot down? Who is it that dares not raise its voice against its Overlord?]

  5. Ajaya K Dutt says:

    Drone are Unmanned Air Crafts. If Pakistan chooses to strike at the Militants, they have one of the best aircrafts to do the job. Drones are slow and cannot escape out of fighter Aircraft. If Pakistan does not want drone attacks then they do have these fighters to blow out the drones out of sky. I do not understand what they want, and what they donot.

  6. adam memon says:

    Drrone strike will not solve the problem.Route cause is poverty..If person have no job how he will not survive.Naturally he will take sleeping pills.To get rid of sleeping pills beating is not alternative rather than more and more development.We have negelated these people and we must realize.

    • ANDY FR DC says:

      There is widespread poverty all over the world. Only in Pakistan does that translate into Terrorstan . I wonder why ?

  7. Saeed says:

    Drones by any other name would be just as deadly. It is time for saner elements of society to evaluate the whole conundrum that faces this country. Specially our relations with other countries vis a vis our own interests. Not a master and slave relationship of Musharraf and now continued by this so called democratic setup. Economic depravation, disenfranchisement, oppression, inequity, hopelessness, non governance and a selfish greedy power elite, all have led us to this path. Drones are not the primary solution, kidnapping, torture and extra judicial killings are also not the solution, but part of the problem. Address these first Mr. Interior Minister before asking for technology that we hardly understand. Get the people their basic requirements of electricity, water, food, health and education before placing your begging bowl for genocidal hardware. That is not the solution, but then one cannot except any thing better from you and your government.

    • Cyrus Howell says:

      The primary solution is running away from a failed Pakistan to a richer more economically developed nation and let Muhammed Ali Jinnah’s dream rot. He misread human nature.

  8. Eddie says:

    Sounds like a good solution to give Drones to Pakistan govt! the Taliban are a common enemy of the people in Afganistan and Pakistan. Pakis should have the ability to attack these enemies in their remote locations near the boarders.

  9. Iqbal says:

    Drone strikes should not kill civilians… Collateral damage is to be minimized

    • Cyrus Howell says:

      Civilians are not specifically targeted, but it is a war against Muslim extremists. Either for the US or Pakistan. Either way it will be Pakistan’s problem when US forces leave Afghanistan because the Taliban do not recognize Pakistan’s claim to their land.

      • Saeed says:

        No of course the children are not specifically targeted. But then that is the price one has to pay for “democracy” right ? (in the now famous words of Ms.Madeline Albright the US Secretary of State). Once again the US will abandon this area leaving behind turmoil, chaos and a destabised region, and make it a Pakistan problem. Thank you Sir, for reminding us of the failed and destabilizing policies of super powers, leaving behind the Al Malikis of the world to protect their vested interests.

        • Concerned says:

          Why grumble about the US abandoning the area? Pakistan certainly has not encouraged the US to stay. As to civilian casualties, the only thing that is clear is that no one who is taking about the casualty levels knows what is really going on because no one has actually been allowed into the area to conduct an unbiased (or even biased) investigation. Is that because the Taliban don’t want people to know how effective the drone strikes are? This is the greatest mystery. Pakistan is a nuclear armed nation that cannot control it’s own territory.

  10. Mikal says:

    No matter who is firing the missiles the drone strikes have to stop. They are serving as lightening rods around which militants are recruiting many a prospective peaceful citizen of Pakistan. However, in cases of extremely high value targets then it should be the Pakistani government that carries out these strikes as opposed to the US government. Ultimately, the solution to militancy and terrorism is not through military means alone. Indeed, a combination of military pressure and negotiations are the only long-term solution to these types of issues.

  11. Dr.Kamar Afghan says:

    Americans don’t pay a hoot to the Pakistan government no matter your parliament passes resolutions,have all party conferences and beg them on your knees.It has been obvious that
    the drone attacks had been agreed by Musharraf and this elected government .They have made crystal clear time and time again .It is high time the federal government stop this double standards firstly making statements against the drones and concede to people of Pakistan that all this has been pure lies what Musharraf and Zardari have been telling the public.

    • Iqbal says:

      Musharraf was not elected… he usurped power…. if he agreed to something, it was not for life time… democracy should reverse the decision

      • Sri1 says:

        Not in democracies where foreign policy has never been in the hands of civilians. Till that time,
        unilateral, knee-jerk, short-term policies accepted by a few will dictate the state’s internal and
        external decisions. on Facebook on Facebook