Pakistan not pushing for end to US drone strikes

Published: July 6, 2012

Authorities are instead seeking control of human intelligence on ground for target specification of their choice. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Contrary to public posturing, Pakistani authorities are not pushing the US to halt drone strikes inside its tribal regions and are instead seeking control of human intelligence on the ground for target specification of their choice.

“This is the maximum they have been seeking. Nothing more,” said an official privy to talks held this week between civilian and military leaders from Pakistan and the US that culminated in breaking a seven-month deadlock on the resumption of Nato supplies.

The demand of seeking control of human intelligence vital to guide drone strikes is in sharp contradiction to a resolution passed by parliament earlier in the year, calling for cessation of attacks by the pilotless planes operated by Americans to hit top al Qaeda operatives.

Officials said both political and uniformed leaders are on the same page when it comes to an opinion on drone hits but military high-ups and intelligence operatives are keener to have the remote control in their hands.

“They know the US will never step back as they have been saying … so the idea is that it is better to have something that suits you than losing it all,” one of the officials said, explaining the reasons behind the contrast in private and public positions.

There have been reports in the past that Pakistani military authorities are worried about the killing of activists from groups that do not create problems inside their country and focus their energy on across the border.

Although the military usually denies this notion, a spokesperson was not available for comments on this information.

Control on human intelligence, or Humint as it is technically called, would give Pakistani secret outfits a chance to select targets of their choice to be hit by drones, such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Pakistan’s leniency is evident from the fact that despite all the hostility in its relations with the US after last year’s Salala attacks, drone strikes restarted in January or within two months of the incident.

Last week, both countries managed to remove a key irritant troubling their ties by agreeing on reopening land routes through Pakistan for supplies to international forces stationed in Afghanistan.

But several crucial issues remain unresolved, with drone strikes at the top of factors that continue to generate a hostile reaction by political parties and a cluster of religious groups opposed to the country’s war on terror role.

Pakistani civilian and military leaders have been telling countrymen they want a complete end to drone strikes responsible for killing more innocent civilians than active al Qaeda associates.

But their behind-the-scenes positions are quite different, said an official who spoke to The Express Tribune.

The fact is that the drone campaign serves Pakistan’s objectives because top al Qaeda affiliates and its local associates are the targets in most cases.

“That is where they like it. It is doing their job with minimum efforts and energy, and more importantly they don’t have to face the blame,” said the official.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Sky
    Jul 6, 2012 - 9:41AM

    Once ground intelligence has been established, Pakistan can use its super sonic jets ( to surprise the militants ) instead of drones. That should be a viable option. What was the world like before drones? If its in pakistans interest to get rid of TTP and others then just do it , by hook or crook.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jul 6, 2012 - 9:55AM

    @Sky:
    Please explain how PAF jets flying at supersonic speeds can hit any precise target on the ground? The only militants killed will be those who happen to die from laughing too hard at this suggestion!

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  • Jul 6, 2012 - 10:19AM

    Its notable despite the blind support to the Military and similarly extreme opposition to the Drone strikes by the Right-Wingers of Pakistan, it is the military which wants Drone strikes.

    Please do not blame the civilians, who are powerless.

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  • Mirza
    Jul 6, 2012 - 10:21AM

    The whole world knows that NATO is doing a big favor to Pakistani civilians by targeting the terrorists using drones. All that artificial outrage was to fool the naive public and nothing more than that. The cooperation with the US and NATO was started soon after 9/11/2001 and no matter who rules Pakistan the deal was cut by Gen Mush. As the time goes the whole truth would come out. Just like Ajmal Kasab was not even a Pakistani when the news broke or OBL was already dead before the US killed him.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 6, 2012 - 12:15PM

    How can Pakistan push for end to Drone Strikes, when they have endorsed them ? This may be behind the scene, and all the noises being made in public arena is only for the consumption of the locals !
    Pakistan is well aware of reality, that they simply are not capable of cleaning up the mess in their own back yard, which incidently was created by themselves in their short termism to gain leverage in Afghan Affairs, but it has backfired with vengenance and they simply can not deal with it, hence all the No Go Areas across the country and within its Borders!

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  • Socrates
    Jul 6, 2012 - 12:40PM

    Militants only die if they do not work for USA. Anyone who works against the wishes of USA is a Militant and a Terrorist by definition and has to die a violent death !
    Have you people forgotten, Sadam, Osama, Gadaffi, and hundreds and thousands of Muslims across the Globe?
    The PAF can stop the drones in a couple of days. If they want to.

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  • Aarvey,india
    Jul 6, 2012 - 2:16PM

    @numbersnumbers:

    I didn’t know that militants/ terrorists could even laugh.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2012 - 2:58PM

    “Pakistan not pushing for end to US drone strikes”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Much pushing and pulling.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 6, 2012 - 2:59PM

    @numbersnumbers: “to die from laughing too hard at this suggestion!”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I thought Laughter was the best medicine!

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 6, 2012 - 4:24PM

    Why are Pakistan’s rulers so determined to embarrass the 180 million people, on World Stage by repeatedly making absurd comments ?
    Thsi trick will only work until people wisen up and gain literacy and understand as to how the rest of Global Community manage and work !

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  • G. Din
    Jul 6, 2012 - 4:25PM

    @Socrates:
    “The PAF can stop the drones in a couple of days. If they want to. “
    No, they cannot unless they are suicidal. They know it, you don’t!

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  • Cautious
    Jul 6, 2012 - 9:40PM

    “Pakistani authorities are …are
    instead seeking control of human
    intelligence on the ground for target
    specification of their choice”

    Doesn’t anyone find it odd that Pakistan (who rants about sovereignty all the time) has to depend on American intelligence assets to determine whats going on in the tribal territories? There is little (if any) chance that American would turn over this critical intelligence resource to the ISI who the American’s view as a corrupted/infiltrated organization.

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