JUBAIL, SAUDI ARABIA: WikiLeaks is back, this time with explosive revelations. For one, it exposes the double-talk that Pakistan has been employing on this issue. According to one particular cable dated November 24, 2008, then US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, wrote that drone strikes were “being carried out at their own [Pakistani’s] request” but that Islamabad was “politically weak” to inform its own people of the truth. As per several cables released this week, the military requested the US to assist it in its fight against militants by asking for drone attacks. “Operating zone corridors” for drone strikes in FATA were jointly discussed and approved. Even video feeds from Predator drones were to be shared by the Americans with the Pakistani army.
Numerous cables document Pakistani military and civilian leadership support for drone strikes while Pakistani government officials asking for drone technology to be placed in their hands. The issue which was conveyed to the Americans was not of accuracy of the strikes but of managing public perception.
I think the time has come for Pakistan to tell its public the truth: We have got enemies (our own militants assisted by numerous groups and people from Central Asia and Middle East) in our tribal and adjoining areas. If we can’t get them on ground, then we have to ask the Americans to remove them. We can’t continue with this double-talk any more. We need to prepare our public to face the truth.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011.
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