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— File Photo
— File Photo

WASHINGTON: The United States needs to hammer out a new drone deal with Pakistan as the Nawaz Sharif government is unlikely to continue the current policy of plausible deniability, says a US think-tank report released on Wednesday.

The report by Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, says that the new deal will have to be sensitive to Pakistan’s concerns and objectives.

“This will likely mean that Washington will face new constraints in its counter-terrorism operations. But managed with care, a new agreement could put the targeted killing campaign against Al Qaeda on firmer political footing without entirely eliminating its effectiveness,” he argues.

The report claims that before launching the first drone strike in June 2004, the United States sought personal authorisation from then president and army chief Pervez Musharraf. For several years thereafter, the Pakistani army claimed responsibility for all drone strikes, publicly denying American intervention.

The PPP government and the army under Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — continued to green light the drone programme.

But this arrangement is unlikely to survive much longer in its current form because the new government will not want to continue it, says the author.

In September, Pakistan will have a new president and a new army chief and if Washington continues the strikes without a new deal, “one can imagine Sharif’s new army chief threatening to shoot US drones from the sky”.

And at that stage, “Washington would likely pull the drones from normal operation rather than play a high-stakes game of chicken.”

While discussing various options for a better understanding between the United States and Pakistan over the drones, the author says that in a new arrangement, Washington will be required to seek Islamabad’s pre-authorisation for specific targets and zones for strikes.

The two sides should also draw a list of potential targets and establish a mechanism for reviewing claims of civilian losses. The arrangement should include provisions for providing appropriate compensation, as the United States has done in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Comments (8) Closed

muzammil ullah khan Jul 18, 2013 07:36am

Seems quite workable as long as it targets Pakistan Taliban leaders along with Al Qaeda people. Pakistan should not have any reservations on this as both America and Pakistan have a common enemy in Al Qaeda and Taliban.

collin bingle Jul 18, 2013 08:16am

One of the things that surprise me always is that one day a news would appear in the news paper and the next day some very senior official will condemn it. this results in the lack of trust on your news paper. Dawn should serious check the validity of info before it is published on your paper. Last time I read that there is some kind of deal going on between pakistan and usa on nuclear technology for clean energy. Next day newspaper american condemned the news. This time, is it really true that the new policy is to be made by USA? If it is true this time, then it is the job Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to make an open deal with USA but after consulting the public opinion. Why USA killing people inside pakistan? What is the reason for this international interference? Why not the job done by army? Why not by ISI? and if they take this huge chunk of money each year from the government, and cannot protect you from enemies within Pakistan, how are they gonna keep you safe in case of a fully fledged war? Do you really need ISI and army even if they failed to provide what you need? Shame on them

kashif Jul 18, 2013 09:17am

crap...all there complex words are usual style of US govt. giving explinations which mean nothing. There is still a mechanism from day one, but US never followed that. NOW, Nawaz want to re-deal with as he was not there when drone started back in 2004. bottom line is, drone will continue more Innocent people will die; Nawaz and COA will make more money for revised deal.

Omer Jul 18, 2013 09:56am

I understand that the country deems this program as a necessity, however, the only reality is that since Pakistan is the borrower of money, they don't have any other option but to continue. The President, if sincere, should halt this program immediately. None of the Pakistani nationals are in favour of this program where the US is actually admitting loss of innocent civilian lives and talking about compensation. What kind of a deal is a deal where one party says we'll bomb you and kill civilians too therefore, lets just talk about what we're going to do once we have killed innocent civilians.

Lim Matthew Levi Jul 18, 2013 10:35am

Pakistan's government would continue to allow the drone's strike on Pakistani soil in private while denying it officially. Remember Pakistan owes US, IMF and World Bank billions of dollars in loan, interest on the loan and late interest payment for the outstanding loan. Taliban group would continue to struggle for independence till the Afghanisan government is totally from the interference of the US and western Europe government.

A new drone is good business for the military industries belonging to the US and western Europe. The bsuinessmen would develop the new drone based on the past 12 yrs of aerial operation in Afghanistan.

This is called War is good for the economy of the United States and western Europe especially in the light of declining military budgets in these countries in the next few years.

Raza Jul 18, 2013 10:51am

Strict actions must be taken against drone attacks, thats it.

akram Jul 18, 2013 01:32pm

Nawaz Sharif should stand his ground and insist Pakistan gets the American drones, if not then the program should be halted. Eventually the US will realise its in their interests to give Pakistan the drones, despite indian objections to the contrary.

Pakistan appears to be half way there on its own anyway with the Burraq indigenous drone.

Eagle Jul 18, 2013 01:35pm

Now Mian Saab need to show some balls. We are at the verge of getting out of this nightmare.