ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government claimed Wednesday that more than two thousand suspected terrorists have been killed in 317 drone strikes in the past five years while only 67 innocent civilians have died in these attacks.
Surprisingly the official data also claims that no innocent civilian was struck by the drone strikes since January 2012 while more than three hundred terrorists were targeted in the strikes.
The official data negates the claims by local political and religious parties that US drone strikes in Pakistan have mostly killed innocent civilians, including women and children.
The Ministry of Defence furnished a written reply in the Senate today detailing the number of US drone strikes in the past five years.
According to the official data, this year has witnessed the lowest number of drone strikes which are 14 as compared to 2010 when the US hit Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas 115 times through drone attacks.
However, Pakistani government and political parties across the board have termed these strikes counter-productive and have repeatedly called for stopping the strikes.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to the US last week also called upon President Barack Obama to end these strikes but the US has reportedly made no commitment to end the unmanned drone operation.
Defense analyst and author Zahid Hussain believes that the number of drone strikes in Pakistan may reduce, but it is highly unlikely that the US would consider putting an end to the drone program.
A UN expert investigating drone strikes said earlier this month that the Pakistani government told him that at least 400 civilians have been killed by the attacks in the country since they started in 2004.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, based in London, has estimated that at least 300 civilians have been killed by drones in Pakistan since 2008. The Washington-based New America Foundation put the figure at 185 civilians. These estimates are often compiled based on media reports about the attacks.
Amnesty International recently released a report on drone strikes in Pakistan, accusing the US of indulging in war crimes by targeting innocent civilians through armed drones.