Drone attacks linked to ‘trust deficit’ with US

Published: January 28, 2012
Speaking at Davos forum, prime minister criticises resumption of drone strikes. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

Speaking at Davos forum, prime minister criticises resumption of drone strikes. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

DAVOS: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani used the platform of the World Economic Forum on Saturday to condemn the resumption of US drone strikes in the country’s tribal belt and bemoaned the ‘trust deficit’ between Islamabad and Washington.

Speaking a day after over 100,000 people massed in Karachi to protest the strikes, Gilani said they only served to bolster militants.

“Drones are counter-productive. We have very ably isolated militants from the local tribes. When there are drone attacks that creates sympathy for them again,” Gilani told reporters in Davos.

“It makes the job of the political leadership and the military very difficult. We have never allowed drone attacks and we have always maintained that they are unacceptable, illegal and counterproductive.”

Gilani went on to add that Pakistan now wanted to agree to new rules of engagement with the United States.

“The unilateral action taken in Abbottabad, that was not liked in any quarter … We need assurances that such a unilateral action will not be repeated in the future. There is a trust deficit.” The prime minister said it was in both countries’ interests to cooperate as partners and Pakistan had paid a high price at the hands of militant groups.

“We want to work together and we are fighting against militants and terrorists. We have paid a huge price for that.”

Dispelling coup rumours

When asked if there any chance of a military coup in Pakistan, the premier said there won’t be any military coup in the country, as the army is keen on achieving democracy and stability.

“I don’t think there will be ever a military coup in Pakistan now,” Gilani said.

“There is no intention from the military to have a coup in the country because they also want stability in the country, they want democracy in the country and they want to strengthen the country,” he said.

Separately, Gilani told reporters his government has been pursuing a policy of reconciliation with other political forces in the country.

Relations with neighbours

When asked by an Indian journalist what the repercussions may be of another Mumbai-style attack, Gilani candidly interrupted the journalist and said “ifs and when do not make a story,” adding that Pakistan had resumed comprehensive dialogue with India.

“We are in the process of normalising trade relations with India which will benefit the people of both the countries.”

The premier also spoke of the importance Pakistan attached with its relations with Afghanistan, adding that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the strategic interest of Pakistan.

“We see Pakistan as a factor of peace, stability and development in the region,” Gilani said. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Jan 28, 2012 - 4:54PM

    In public, Pakistani leaders always insist they are against drone strikes, which are deeply unpopular in the country

    Drone’s are unacceptable to the majority of nation, thats why they don’t wanna admit publicly that these strikes are being carried out by the permission of Gov. and Military establishment, So trolls please spare us with ur lame thoughts that Drone’s are the only solution to eliminate terrorists and people of Pakistan supports it


  • Jan 28, 2012 - 5:03PM

    In public, Pakistani leaders always insist they are against drone strikes, which are deeply unpopular in the country

    Drone’s are unacceptable to the Majority of Nation, thats the reason Gov. don’t dare to admit publicly that these strikes are being carried out by it’s permission,

    So please spare us with ur lame thoughts that these Drone’s are supported by the people of Pakistan and thats the only way to eliminate terroristsRecommend

  • It's (still) the economy, stupid
    Jan 28, 2012 - 5:07PM

    I am hesitant to comment as there is a strong possibility that he will retract his statement before the ink dries. When there is flood Pakistan has no shame in asking international community for financial help. Similarly, if Pakistan has home grown insurgency problem than she should not have any shame in asking help from the international community to provide assistance in restoring law and order. Drones are part of international help in restoring law and order in Pakistan a part of the international community. Pakistan army claims it is too busy on eastern border and can not spare men to western border. Iran, Afghanistan, India and China all our neighbors are complaining of law and order at their border. Drone is a god send free help. If I was PM I will send a note to USA saying job well done thank you now we can focus on economic growth for Joe average Pakistani.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 28, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Unless US will not leave its double standard policy with Pakistan, relations will not become normal.


  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 28, 2012 - 5:20PM

    Why does Pakistan always have “Trust Deficit” with everyone??? Perhaps its time for them to look at themselves first and their acts and actions.
    Furthermore there is also this “Trust Deficit” between the Govt and its People in this Country !


  • Jan 28, 2012 - 5:20PM

    @It’s (still) the economy, stupid:
    If that’s the US should give drone technology to Pakistan and Pakistan should keep insisting on it,


  • J Oberoi
    Jan 28, 2012 - 6:00PM

    @Colonel: No Mr.Colonel. Drones are not the answer. The answer would be Pakistan’s own attempt to rid itself of terrorists. I’ll leave you to judge if that is happening.
    But is Davos a place to raise such issues? It is a world economic forum and bilateral recriminations must be kept in bilateral forums.


  • J Oberoi
    Jan 28, 2012 - 6:02PM

    So it would suddenly be okay if you guys used the drones to hit the terrorists? It is this kind of hypocrisy that paints Pakistan in poor light. Guess where your first targets would be !


  • Cautious
    Jan 28, 2012 - 6:17PM

    @Colonel. I agree drones are not the only solution to terrorist – but Pakistan has little control over much of it’s territory and that is perceived as providing sanctuary to terrorist by the rest of the World – the American’s won’t allow terrorist to use Pakistan soil as sanctuary to attack their soldiers. You find a solution to getting rid of the terrorist and the drones will go away.


  • Jan 28, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @J Oberoi:
    the targets which US have been hitting are given by Pakistan’s ground intelligence, so if Pakistan gets that technology it would ease the pressure on Gov. and more effectively this program can continue


  • Jan 28, 2012 - 6:19PM

    @J Oberoi:
    Media persons must have questioned him about drone operations and he responded to them.


  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 28, 2012 - 6:31PM

    the targets which US have been hitting are given by Pakistan’s ground intelligence, so if Pakistan gets that technology it would ease the pressure on Gov. and more effectively this program can continue

    Are you sure??? Pakistan has always been very selective as to what assistance it provides to anybody ! In regards to obtaining the technology, well can Pakistan be trusted???
    After all the track record of Pakistan is pretty poor, and after all there is this Trust Deficit too !!
    US has learned too much about Pakistan in 2011, to ever consider them as realiable pertners in anything.
    Anyway PM should have known better, this is an Economic Forum, not an relationship and foreign policy one! Has he managed to secure any Aid?? I don’t think so !
    Why was he there anyway, its not the case that Pakistan is shinnong example of managing Economy or showing growth rates !!!!


  • Jan 28, 2012 - 6:37PM

    whats the measurement of track record according to ur point if view???


  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 28, 2012 - 7:11PM

    Ever heard about Pakistan’s Proliferation activities, with Libya, North Korea, Iran etc……
    Does it ring any bells yet???
    Drone Technology too is very special as only US at present actually has it in operational capacity !


  • Thoughtful American
    Jan 28, 2012 - 7:24PM

    Unhappily from an American perspective, whenever information has been given to the targets, the targets have been alerted. Overtime, the US is losing faith in the honesty of Pakistan and this is leading to the “trust deficit”. Pakistan needs to give up its support of terrorists and join the US and the world community in fighting this threat.

    As such the US will probably not be open to trade or aid with Pakistan over time. And trade with China is going to eventually destroy the local Pakistani industries. Eventually, Pakistan will need to change.


  • Parvez
    Jan 28, 2012 - 11:33PM

    It would be a good idea to first address the trust deficit between the people and your government.


  • Rahman
    Jan 28, 2012 - 11:55PM

    Trust deficit, now that is a relatively new term recently doing the media circus. Not the words just the context!!

    any leader of a ‘free nation’ would be inane enough to use that logic to describe their helplessness on the drone strikes. You Mr. Prime Minister, are the leader of this country, in case you were wondering. You are the one who is supposed to provide these hapless compatriots with answers not shoulder shrugging. If you cannot, then just say so, and retire to your ranch.

    We all know who gives these nods, but why highlight them with your comments, so just relax and serve out your term, it is not like that we expect you or anyone else around to challenge these axiomatic truths. Reminds me of the following brilliant quote from the film Moneyball:

    “It is unbelievable, how much you don’t know about the game you have been playing all your life.” Recommend

  • American
    Jan 29, 2012 - 4:44AM

    …so you can pass it to China, Iran, and North Korea ?
    To reduce trust deficit, you must first become trust worthy…


  • Climp Jones
    Jan 30, 2012 - 12:08AM

    Pakistan was, is & continues to be a ‘lost cause.’ No need for the US or Afghanistan to lose sleep over Pakistan fretting over a few drone strikes. Domestically Pakistan is such a mess it needs all the external interference it can muster to keep its local population off balance. Once the external meddling ceases Pakistan will turn on itself with such a vengeance that everything prior to that will pale in comparison.


  • Devin Leonard
    Jan 30, 2012 - 3:39AM

    The Pakis areso full of BS. Our drone strikes are HIGHLY effective in killing Al Qaida/Taliban leaders and fighters. And they should contune


  • My2cents
    Jan 30, 2012 - 5:24AM

    I see Gilani is sticking with the script provided by his army handlers Recommend

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