WikiLeaks: Gilani open to drone strikes on 'right people'

Published: December 1, 2010

Documents reveal that Gilani said the government would protest the attacks in National Assembly, then ignore them. PHOTO: EPA

More cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani allowed drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan, saying they would protest the attacks in the National Assembly and then ignore them.

When Interior Minister Rehman Malik advised the US to hold off “alleged Predator attacks until after the Bajaur operation”, Gilani brushed off the remarks saying:

“I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”

The statements were reportedly made during meetings with unnamed US officials in August 2008. The cables also show bureaucrats supporting drones viewing them as a viable solution to loosening Taliban’s grip over the Tribal belt.

US forces inside Pakistan

In another shocking revelation, embassy cables reported that small teams of US special forces have been secretly embedded with Pakistani military forces in the tribal belt helping to coordinate drone attacks and to hunt down Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.

One memo quoted by the Times said that 12 US Special Operations soldiers had deployed with Pakistani troops near the Afghan border.

A report in the Guardian quoted the job of the special forces to be “to provide ‘intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance’ support – ISR in military jargon – ‘general operational advice’ and to help set up a live satellite feed from American drones flying overhead, presumably CIA-operated Predator and Reaper aircraft. The memo said that the forces had been deployed since 2008 but were limited to a training role. It said that the permission for the active combat deployment “almost certainly” came with the personal consent of the army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.

US presence in the country has been a sensitive issue in Pakistan. Earlier, reports of US military presence in areas around Quetta had drawn condemnations from opposition parties and the public. The Pakistani government and the United States embassy however had denied reports about the presence of US forces in Quetta.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • anonymous
    Dec 1, 2010 - 1:10PM

    Drone attacks on the extremist hideouts benefit firstly Pakistan, and the west in general if care is taken to cause minimum civilian loss. Our terrorists were for the first time so named by Zardari – a very brave decision considering he has a parliament to answer to unlike authoritarians who yet did not take on this menace as required in the national interests; having said that, is it not time we agree our forces that are doing a magnificent job in KP, to continue in the same vein, ought to team up openly with the Americans whether on our soil or drone attacks? After all, a joint effort could only benefit our country. Why then the double standards? Why then the hatred aimed at a western regime, without its help we would economically be on our knees? Why can we not reconciliate with a past wracked with policies that did not favour Pakistan, yet under a democratic system, our chances to improve are so much better.. and treat our allies as such whether ensuring through bilateral or multi-lateral agreements for full cooperation on various fronts from which Pakistanis at large could benefit immensely? After all a stable Pakistan is not only of interest to the region but the world at large.Recommend

  • ABDUL NASIR SAGGU
    Dec 1, 2010 - 1:17PM

    very faithful Recommend

  • Salman
    Dec 1, 2010 - 1:46PM

    2 right ppl and 20 innocent ppl as free bonus for drones :D
    Damn! drons fires bombs not laser guided bullets that will hit only the RIGHT PPLRecommend

  • KM
    Dec 1, 2010 - 1:52PM

    If somebody understand what AXING YOUR OWN FOOT means? Why blame others, when we have our own Pakistanis who sell so cheaply.Recommend

  • SK
    Dec 1, 2010 - 1:57PM

    Nothing is surprising anymore- actually the way I look at it, if US, UK and other planners of this world didn’t have so called ‘Leaders’ forced on us, how would they achieve their bigger and long term goals. We as Pakistani nation, going down the drain, is just collateral during the process and our ‘Leaders’ are the ones who are actually responsible for current state of affairs.

    We MUST come out on roads and be prepared to make things better for our next generations, until then everything else is just hot air.Recommend

  • hina
    Dec 1, 2010 - 2:31PM

    lol nothing new or shocking!Recommend

  • edgarm
    Dec 1, 2010 - 2:36PM

    Its time that all of us in South Asia – Afghanistan/Pakistan/India/BanglaDesh/SriLanka
    1- get rid of all these americans / brits from our soil
    2- get rid of all terrorists , by what ever name called
    for our peace and prosperityRecommend

  • Dec 1, 2010 - 3:16PM

    Wikileaks documents show civilian deaths in Iraq – True

    Wikileaks documents show civilian deaths in Afghanistan – True

    Torture in Bagram – True

    Torture in Guantanomo – True

    Karzai offers sanctuary to Baloch nationalists – True

    America has designs on Pakistan’s nuclear policy – True

    But

    Military supporting drone strikes – Conspiracy against Pakistan

    Military missallocating foreign aid – Conspiracy against Pakistan

    Maulana F Rehman asking US Ambassador to make him PM, his vote is for sale – Conspiracy against Pakistan

    Military involved in extra-judicial killings – Conspiracy against Pakistan

    Going by the feedback Wikileaks is receiving, on the first day it was accurate when it claimed that the US wanted to remove enriched uranium….what were the exact words: “God bless wikileaks”. And today, the same documents are a conspiracy to malign Pakistan. Talk about baking your cake and eating it too.Recommend

  • barlas
    Dec 1, 2010 - 3:24PM

    pl. open your eye……….Leaders……..Recommend

  • Gulshad Ahmed
    Dec 1, 2010 - 3:26PM

    What shocking in it? It is not news. News is something new. But everybody has seen it. What rubbish is this! Every Pakistani knew it already. Shame on you wikileaks.Recommend

  • Ahmad Jehangiri
    Dec 1, 2010 - 3:54PM

    A country which cannot protect its sovereignty, integrity and independence must cease to exist. Alas, We are not more independent. Recommend

  • Indian
    Dec 1, 2010 - 3:59PM

    I think its embarrassing for Pakistan to even compare itself with India. You guys belong where you are – with AfghanistanRecommend

  • SAZ
    Dec 1, 2010 - 4:16PM

    cable 09ISLAMABAD289, ZARDARI’S PLANNED APPROACH TO HOLBROOKE:

    Zardari told the Ambassador “not to worry” about his relations with Prime Minister Gilani. Ambassador said she was not worried, but she believed that the Embassy (and many others) had not been paying enough attention to the PM, and we were going to try to rectify that. The PM was lashing out because everyone saw him playing second fiddle to the President. However, as a longstanding political leader and Sufi saint, he served a valuable role in the Pakistan People’s Party.

    Sufi saint!!! Ha Ha Ha Ha……………………………………. Ha Recommend

  • Yousaf
    Dec 1, 2010 - 4:20PM

    wah Shah Ji.. Bagal main churii Mounh main Ram Ram..!!Recommend

  • Rizwan T Khan
    Dec 1, 2010 - 4:36PM

    Whats new in this news? We all been saying this and know it since day 1.Recommend

  • Farhan
    Dec 1, 2010 - 4:59PM

    @Indian: you are right. We can’t compare ourselves with India because we are far ahead. That’s why you come to our media websites for real news because all your media gives you is bollywood masala. Our media websites are flogged with comments and participation from Indians which seriously shows they don’t get a say on Indian media websites that have nothing substantial or serious to offer.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Dec 1, 2010 - 6:20PM

    Whiteman/blackman/Yellowman will keep on making fools of us South Asians because we place more trust in them than in our common gene pool cousins.Recommend

  • Usman Mirza
    Dec 1, 2010 - 6:45PM

    There was a very interesting article in the papers by a reporter who “actually” went into North and South Waziristan and interviewed people.regarding the drone strikes.

    The people apparently said that they were very happy as the drone strikes were quite accurate and hit a specific house / car and did not affect general populace as much. The alternative according to them was massive shelling and bombardment by the army through tanks artillery and mortars which was not very accurate and more akin to carpet bombardment which affected everyone.

    From that perspective the common people living in those areas preferred drone strikes. I tend to agree with this assessment as Americans are not firing blind, they choose targets with care and while yes sometimes innocents do get killed, the number is certainly far less then if our army went in with their strategy of “softening” the target through massive bombing.

    Also the people who keep screaming bloody murder about drone strikes, I mean how many of them actually live there or even for that matter have even ever been to these areas ?Recommend

  • jahan ara
    Dec 1, 2010 - 6:51PM

    Gilani is true to tradition. His ancestors have been welcoming “guests” not only alien from Alexander the Great, through Pathans, Moguls and British, but even Sikhs for good measure. The alien armies were hosted and entertained until they were ready to move onwards to Delhi. In 1875 his compatriots marched with British army against the fighters for India’s independence. Give them money and take everything. Recommend

  • Dec 1, 2010 - 6:57PM

    Drone attack is just an excuse, All that is a way to enter Pakistan….Recommend

  • Ali Afzal
    Dec 1, 2010 - 8:04PM

    “Politics: “Poli” a Latin word meaning “many”; and “tics” meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.”

    Politicians are the same all over.
    They promise to build a bridge even where they is no riverRecommend

  • Moazzam Salim
    Dec 2, 2010 - 11:41AM

    It a vivid example of what these politicians think about the Parliament. We often hear people from PPP that the Parliament is sovereign but in reality they do not believe what they say. In reality Parliament draws its power from the political parties who have the majority and in turn these parties draw their power and direction from their leaders. It would therefore be naive to think of Parliament as even remotely sovereign. Zardari and Co have made it into a platform for advertising and showmanship. I am not surprised that the PM said that he knows how his party came to power and who are his real masters. And if he has to act a little and deliver certain dialogues just to apease the masses then so it be. Recommend

  • J.Oberoi
    Dec 27, 2010 - 6:34PM

    Yet another case of duplicity has been outed today. Apparently, stone-throwers in Kashmir get Rs.400 a week each Friday for doing their job. Guess where the money comes from? So much for ‘freedom fighters’ in Kashmir !! Recommend

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