Pakistan is reported to have intensified air patrols over tribal areas, especially North Waziristan, putting the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) at a higher alert level.
BBC Urdu quoted air force sources as saying that some orders were issued at the “highest level on an emergency basis, including cancellation of leaves of all personnel involved in air reconnaissance”.
They added that leaves of all personnel stationed at air bases and air headquarters have also been cancelled and workers at sensitive installations have been asked to ensure presence of all personnel on Saturday and Sunday.
Sources also said that some operational changes had been made but they had been kept secret, but they believed that they were related to round-the-clock active reconnaissance in tribal areas. They said that these administrative and operational changes were part of Pakistan’s move to quickly respond to drone threats over its territories.
The spokesperson for the Pakistan Air Force has declined to confirm or deny the reports.
However, he said that the air force chief had given his viewpoint on drone strikes a year ago, which was still valid in view of the current developments.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2011.