Dawn News

No option but drones

THIS refers to a report issued by academics and legal experts at Stanford and New York Universities’ law schools on the viability of drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Before commenting on the report, we need to understand its standing: it was commissioned and funded by a UK-based charity, Reprieve, which is on the forefront of the campaign against drone attacks.

Also the study researchers were unable to physically visit the tribal areas, obviously for security reasons, and were limited to Islamabad and other urban centres interviewing the possibly per-screened victims’ relatives and other people.

There is no doubt that drone attacks are causing collateral damage while killing innocent people, including children. But then what options are available to eliminate Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists who now rule the Pakistani tribal areas.

The Pakistan army is neither trained nor equipped to fight such guerilla war in the rugged mountainous lawless tribal areas (they are trained for ground war); they have tried their capabilities in South Waziristan but even there they are not getting anywhere.

They clear one area, only to find that militants have moved to another location, and this cat and mouse game continues.

Pakistan has clearly declined any foreign troops on its soil. The only option was for tribes to take on the militants in their areas.

But such anti-Taliban lashkars have failed to make any dent; they complain of lack of support from Pakistan military, also the Taliban have waged a brutal campaign to eliminate lashkar leaders.

Tell us what options are there on the table -- military campaign at ground not going anywhere, tribal lashkars are being defeated by the Taliban, drone attacks are counterproductive as cause resentment among the local population invariably resulting in increased militancy.

Wish the academics and researchers from Stanford and New York universities could have suggested how to get Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US and other neighbouring countries out of this dead end.

MASOOD KHAN Jubail      Saudi Arabia

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Comments (7) Closed

Oct 14, 2012 08:08pm
Firstly, it's sheer violation of International Law, and shameful attack on our sovereignty and then killing of innocent people. There is always peaceful solution to problems like this if someone is willing to seek!
Oct 14, 2012 10:39am
This all seems so real. I had been seeing at facebook, the rightists talking abt conspiracy theories, relating malala's attack to US propaganda of justifying its drone attacks and taking public consent of military operations in n.waziristan. And after reading this letter, and some editorials of dawn, i must say im beginning to tilt towards the 'conspiracy theories' of conservatives.
Oct 14, 2012 02:58am
Do we need Standford and New York law schools to tell us that we need to get rid of pro-violence mindset from our society? It is not a simple thing to exercise as there are complex societal, economic, religious, historic, and cultural factors to be dealt with. Yet, the simple fact is that criminal activities are criminal and we must not lose sight of the prevailing laws and Constitution of the state.
Cyrus Howell
Oct 14, 2012 12:01pm
People living in those areas are more likely to be killed or victimized by Taliban than they are drones. If a family member was killed by Taliban would you get revenge or would you be too afraid?
Oct 14, 2012 05:23am
Would you be saying the same thing if your family lived in the areas affected by drones?
Oct 14, 2012 02:48am
You are the first Khan advocating drone attacks. I am looking for another one.
Oct 14, 2012 10:52am
Pakistan Army has repeatedly emphasized the need of a political process after they clear a certain area but unfortunately no political party even those belonging to that area are willing to go there. why don't US like us to talk our way through these militants or talibans after all we were in peace before. Secondly killing innocent beings (except 1 or 2 militants) in such like attacks entices relatives to take up arms against the state. You kill 1 and produce 10.