Drone strikes: UK admits to funding opinion poll in Pakistan

Published: May 20, 2013
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It appears to be the first time the British government has revealed it has carried out opinion polls on drones.

It appears to be the first time the British government has revealed it has carried out opinion polls on drones.

Britain has been forced to admit that it has been funding surveys in Pakistan’s tribal regions that reveal US drone strikes are causing resentment among local tribesmen, according to a report published in the Guardian newspaper.

In an answer to a parliamentary question, Foreign Minister Alistair Burt confirmed that the Foreign Office had ‘supported’ surveys which showed the proportion of respondents in the tribal areas who believed drone strikes were ‘never justified’ had risen from 59% in 2010 to 63% in 2011.

It appears to be the first time the British government has revealed it has carried out opinion polls on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan – a programme on which it has refused to comment publicly.

Previously, British ministers have said: “Drone strikes are a matter for the United States and Pakistan.”

However, there have been claims that the UK government has been complicit in the programme, sharing locational intelligence with US agencies to help them target the strikes.

“The UK should not need to carry out polling to determine that a campaign of illegal killing is wrong,” said Kat Craig, legal director for the charity Reprieve, which campaigns for human rights around the world.

“But what this does show is that even British government surveys find that the drone campaign is increasingly unpopular.

“Ministers must come clean on the role that UK intelligence is playing in supporting drone strikes, put a stop to it, and put pressure on the US to end its campaign.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • anwar
    May 20, 2013 - 9:40AM

    Clearly the surveys were done to check on the effectiveness of the strikes not with a purpose to establish that their military could be wrong in strategy

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  • Amir
    May 20, 2013 - 11:25AM

    Still apprx 40% agree to it…..astounding isnt it? Should also ask these 40% why they agree to it?

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  • May 20, 2013 - 2:12PM

    I dont see even 10% agreeing to the drone strikes because no one welcomes such brutalities as most of the innocents become the victims

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  • May 21, 2013 - 4:40PM

    Drone strikes are illegal because they infringe on the soverignity of Pakistan as per the United Nations Charter. But Drone strikes have Killed many Terrorists who have bloods of thousands on their hands. Human Rights activisits always have the habit of axagerating the issue. It is Human Habit to force their opinions. Thus the killing of Children and women have also been Exagerated. 90% of the killed has been either terrorists or their supporters. Acccording to international or national laws any body who supports a Terrorists also becomes a Criminal by the act. Best solution would be to hand over the Drone technology to Pakistani Army. Instead of wasting the lives of thousands of Pakistani Soldiers and even actions of the army it is better that Better solution may be sought. Drone strikes are a new type of Precision war fare which will remain and better it will be to use it than to condemn it. World will never be an Ideal plac and Justice will always be the VICTOR’s JUSTICE as we are seeing in Pakistani Courts when they free the 99% terrorists because of fear of repercussions.

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