By Zaheerul Hassan
Public sentiments against CIA drone attacks ever since have been reached on its climax in Pakistan. According to the responsible sources since 2004, CIA has launched 236 drone attacks in which more than 1500 people including kids and women have been killed. Out of these stated 236 attacks, 118 were in 2010 and 22 carried out in just last four months. The issue of drone attacks remained controversial since immense of War on Terror because of its lethality against the people. The matter of drone attacks further become problematic between Washington and Islamabad when CIA drone hit Ditta kheil just after the release Raymond Davis. In fact, military leadership expressed their severe concerns over the US spy network in FATA. The relations between two allies of war on terror started deploring and still under turmoil despite exchange of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, chief of Pakistan’s major intelligence agency, country’s senior diplomat, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visits to Pakistan and U.S.
Raymond Davis case totally exposed the CIA activities and also uncovered that probably three types of drone operations are being carried out in Pakistan, firstly Pentagon sponsored, secondly combined Pakistan and U.S. militaries’ sponsored and thirdly CIA at her own select and fired the target.
Thus, we can say that drones attacks carried out in consultation of Pakistani authorities against those militants who are really working against state and public interests. It has been observed that CIA interests seem to be quite different from Pentagon interests. The target chosen for hitting always caused severe damaged to Pakistan interests and remained objectionable in political military circle. In this context, Islamabad rather banging open CIA drone attacks always asked U.S. transfer of drone technology to Pakistan for elimination of militants operating on its western front. But CIA probably has its own interests which conformed and concise with Israeli and Indian interests. The documents, equipments, instruments, cellar sims, pictures of sensitive installations recovered from CIA spy Raymond proved that CIA involved in malicious activities against Pakistan. On this, Pakistani Army and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) took serious stock of the situation and suggested government to ask U.S. to wrap up their spy network from the area and declared clearance of intelligence agencies mandatory for any visa extension of US citizens living in Pakistan. It would not be wrong in saying that Pakistani Intelligence Agency (ISI) uncovered the covert agenda against Pakistan while cornering the world top most agencies CIA.
However, U.S. officials and her intelligentsia as usual keep on fomenting negative propaganda against ISI and undermined Pakistan’s security forces sacrifices in war on terror. In this regard, just few days back Pakistani renowned print media interviewed Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in which he alleged ISI for helping and protecting Haqqani network in South Waziristan. Mullen’s statement appeared just after the visit of Gen. Pasha to Washington, which off course aggravated the already tense situation between CIA and ISI. Pakistani political and military top brass showed serious concern over Mullen’s statement and rejected his criticism and declared it as \”negative propaganda\” against ISI. Mullen probably forgotten that Pakistan is passing through worst type of economical crises and facing horrible terrorism of her history just because of foreign sponsored militancy and Global War on Terror. In this war over 3300 civilians, thousand of security forces’ personal have scarified their lives apart from material losses suffered by Pakistani nation in war.
Credible sources also revealed that although Mullen met privately with Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, but no detailed statement was issued about their talks. American Chief, who used to be famous for having cordial relationship, but due to his recent comments regarding ISI has been given cold shoulder,. In short, government, Pakistan Army Chief, ISI and political leaders like Imran Kahan and Mukhdoom Hashmi responses over drone attacks are the true reflection of masses’ sentiments. in this regard Pakistan Army Chief while addressing the cadets on April 23,2011 at the occasions of their passing out parade without making any reference to Washington’s concerns expressed that is fully aware of the internal and external threats faced by the country. He mentioned that, “in the war against terrorism, our officers and soldiers have made great sacrifices and have achieved tremendous success,” He further revealed that the terrorists’ backbone has been broken and Inshallah (God willing) we will soon prevail.
Pakistan famous cricket hero-turned-‘politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) staged a two days protest , thousands of people gathered in the Bagh-e-Naran of Peshawar and demanded the stoppage of drone attacks and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. Because of prevailing and growing anti American sentiments Pakistan suspended delivery of supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan via its land border for three days as campaigners began a sit-in on the route.
Thus, if U.S. is serious in long term strategic relations with Pakistan then she has to redefine the drone attack policy since it damaging Pakistan efforts elimination of terrorism and blemished the image of America. Pakistan should be provided unmanned aircraft for aerial surveillance and to combat terrorist activities all along the western borer. However, toning down of prevailing tense situation between two allies, is rest in immediate discontinuation of drone attack policy since masses are rightly angst because missile attacks were doubled last year, with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010, compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009. The foreign office should raise its voice against increasing CIA activities in Pakistan. The leader of opposition should play his role in providing moral support to security agencies in fight against terrorism instead criticizing them and their commanders. At the end, I will again emphasis that U.S. should revive her policies and leave since staying against the wishes of the masses the region ultimately would become difficult for her. American leadership should also realize that her policies are also damaging the democracy, which will indirectly support the non-state actors in Pakistan.
The writer is defence and international relations analyst can be approached through Zameer36@gmail.com