Drone strikes and national interest

Published May 29, 2013 05:03am

TO much amusement, a very weird kind of situation exists regarding drone policies in America’s top echelon. President Obama’s speech at the National Defence University in Washington regarding drones was a mundane one.

He didn’t explain the legality of drone strikes in Pakistan. In fact, he and the US have nowhere any legal view to back up their drone policy.

These drone strikes have put both countries’ relations in a straightjacket. Now these strikes are not against high-value targets but rather innocent civilians of tribal areas are being ruthlessly killed. And even their funerals have not been spared by these drones.

Following the elections in Pakistan, the US has announced that drone strikes will continue. Now the newly-elected government must take steps to get rid of US drones. It is, on the one hand, violation of our sovereignty and, on the other hand, killing of our own innocent civilians.

Pakistan can make use of the legal clauses of international law in restricting the spectre of drones. Pakistan can evoke Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter, which says that the use of force or threat against any state is unlawful.

But there are three exceptions to this clause in the context of Pakistan. One, the US can make an argument that they are facing a potential threat from the militants in the tribal areas. Second, there is consent from Pakistan, and third, Pakistan is avoiding taking action against the militants.

The first and the second argument is not valid, so to speak. But regarding the third one, if terrorist would be killed, then the matter would be different. But, unfortunately, it is apparent that only innocent civilians are being killed.

In the recent past, a Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, and his 16-year-old son, both US citizens, were killed in a US drone strike. Such killings of innocent civilians are an open challenge to the world.

Keeping in view the above arguments, it is necessary for Pakistan to defend its frontiers and the people. It is our due right, both internally and externally. If in response to this the US tries to impose sanctions on Pakistan or use soft power, we can live without the US just the way we lived in the 1990s and just as Iran, Cuba and North Korea are living. Although, for this action, we have to bear some brunt as national interest/territorial sovereignty is the number one choice for any respectable nation.

MUHAMMAD IBRAHIM Islamabad

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Comments (8) (Closed)


HNY2013
May 29, 2013 08:03am
Let's see what's the reaction of the new govt after the latest drone attack in wazaristan ......the world is watching who is respectable
lodhi
May 29, 2013 08:09am
wHAT ABOUT THE TERRORIST LEADERS WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED BY DRONES.THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO GET RID OF THEM.
Agha Ata (USA)
May 29, 2013 12:19pm
We don't want US to kill our terrorist leaders. We want to kill them ourlselves. (If we won't, or if we can't, that is a different matter)
Syed Imam
May 29, 2013 01:07pm
Drone strikes must continue. If TTP and AQ leaders are not targeted than Pakistani citizens, mosques, shrines, schools and markets are bombed causing deaths and destruction at a larger scale. Are people that blind to see who is our real enemy? Thanks America for geting ud of these murderers.
amna
May 29, 2013 07:21pm
Its really sad to see that we allowed these Drones ourselves, why are we blaming US. They will exercise their policies. The point is since we are in their debt, we cannot be in a position to stand up for ourselves. What are our leaders for if they cant defend their own country!. These Drones aren't killing terrorist or civilians, these are creating more terrorists and more hatred for america. Their main impacts are on children and the mental traumas they are going through, the families they will not have. Drones isnt eradicating terrorism,its creating more and more extremists then why have we allowed this to continue?
Goldy
May 30, 2013 03:33am
Why blame only the drones when Pakistani jets bombed militant hideouts in Central Kurram Agency on Thursday, killing at least 17 militants and injuring several others. How do are both different???
malole
May 30, 2013 07:45am
Why are all these women so anti american and of course anti drone? Cant they see the reality? If we cant get rid of our dirty laundry someone else would.
Saqib Azam Malick
May 30, 2013 07:42pm
Are American are always right, not, they have lost the war in Afghanistan and now loosing every where...