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Romney or Obama: Pakistan Leaders will Pay Price for Continued U.S. Drone Attacks (The Frontier Post, Pakistan)


"Only a few high-value militants have been killed, while innocent civilians are mowed down. On the basis of objective surveys human rights groups have carried out, this tragic loss is intolerable and colossal. ... if leaders across Pakistan's political spectrum are not colluding in this adventurism, how is it that the drones are able to conduct their attacks without ever being intercepted or challenged?"




October 26, 2012


Pakistan – The Frontier Post – Home Page (English)

American and Pakistani peace activists demonstrate against U.S. drone attacks in Islamabad, Oct. 5.

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, PAKISTAN: Who does Pakistan want in the White House?, Oct. 24, 00:08:24RealVideo

What is the impact of the public's anti-drone marches and protestations by the ruling establishment? There has been no letup whatever in U.S. drone attacks on our tribal areas. Just days ago, North Waziristan Agency was struck again, killing three people and wounding many more. Neither is there is any foreseeable possibility of an end to CIA drone adventurism in Pakistan, even if Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney makes it to the White House.


In Monday’s foreign policy debate with President Barack Obama, Romney made it unambiguously clear that he would continue the incumbent’s policy of drone incursions. Indeed, given the CIA’s reported plans to beef up its drone fleet, there is every chance that in the coming years, these assaults on our territory would be stepped up, not slowed down.


It would be unwise for Islamabad leaders not to be fully aware of the dire repercussions U.S. drone adventurism hold for Pakistan's national cohesion and solidarity. Although the American warlords persist with the fabrication of saying that they only kill militants and that the collateral damage is minimal, the global human rights community continues to issue shrill warnings of the falseness of such claims.


Only a few high-value militants have been killed, while innocent civilians are mowed down. On the basis of objective surveys human rights groups have carried out, this tragic loss is intolerable and colossal. And it is not just rights workers at the U.N. who have joined in the outcry. Even American university researchers have spoken up. And their conclusions are indeed devastating: compared to a handful of high-value militants, twice as many civilians are killed in these drone strikes.


The establishment in Islamabad should not underestimate the dire impact of this civilian holocaust on our national solidarity, particularly when the general impression, which is not wrong, is that our leaders, across the political spectrum, are very much aboard with this American adventurism. For one thing, it is not just people in the tribal areas who are convinced that the noises against drone incursions emitted by our civilian and military leaders are for public consumption only, but the rest of the country as well.


And it wasn't only the revelation of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks or official leaks in the American media that convinced them of this. The freedom to operate in our airspace that drones enjoy to carry out their assaults are just as responsible. The common reasoning goes like this: if leaders across the political spectrum are not colluding in this adventurism, how is it that the drones are able to conduct their attacks without ever being intercepted or challenged? These convictions have been further reinforced voices often heard in our military that our air force lacks the capacity to shoot down the intruding drones, and that even if it was to try, consent from the political leadership would be needed to do so.

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Second, no one in the establishment should live under the illusion that the killing of our civilians comes without consequences. Under the contrary, they will be severe. Not only the aggrieved families feel the pain of the loss of life and limb on the part of their loved ones. All Pakistanis are outraged at this holocaust. If people in the establishment are under the impression that such outrage is directed exclusively at the Americans, they are badly mistaken. It is just as directed against the Pakistani state and greatly endangers our national solidarity and integrity.


If anyone in Islamabad's halls of decision making wishes to het an inkling of the truth of this, they need only to observe hostility with which residents of North Waziristan react to even a mention that our military is preparing to launch an operation in the agency. They have even gotten to the point of threatening to migrate to Afghanistan en masse to seek Afghan government support for coping with such an eventuality. And this is the tribal agency in which residents bear the brunt of U.S. drone adventurism, living under constant fear of America's murderous incursions. Given this, the level of the outrage against the Pakistani state can be well imagined.


The establishment had better think long and hard about how to dissuade America's warlords from continuing this drone adventurism and explore viable alternatives for decimating terrorists who pose no less an existential threat to us.



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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Oct. 26, 4:32am]