Search for alternatives: Pakistan to seek drone technology from US

Published: July 8, 2013
The government have no intention to adopt any confrontational approach on drone attacks, says an official. .PHOTO: FILE

The government have no intention to adopt any confrontational approach on drone attacks, says an official. .PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government will soon formally request the United States to transfer drone technology as part of the diplomatic efforts seeking an end to the stalemate over the CIA-led campaign in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

A senior government official, who is engaged with the US on the subject, told The Express Tribune that preliminary discussions between the two countries to find alternatives to drone use have already started.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue, disclosed that Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the proposal in their recent meeting at the sidelines of Asean Regional Forum in Brunei Darussalam.

It is unclear, though, whether the US will heed the call – the previous government made similar unsuccessful requests at several occasions.

According to the official, however, the new administration is confident its efforts will yield a ‘positive outcome’. The government is upbeat due to the fact that unlike the previous administration it does not have any secret understanding with the US on drone use, he added.

The official said the formal proposal seeking the transfer of drone technology will be made during the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry is due to travel to Islamabad by the end of this month. According to another official, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also table the proposal before the heads of political parties, who are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the country’s national security policy.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles by the US to take out what it believes are high value targets associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban in the tribal regions has been the source of friction between Islamabad and Washington.

Although, reports indicate that top al Qaeda figures and other hardened militants were among those killed in a recent drone strike, Islamabad has publicly condemned such strikes as a violation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also recently warned that the continued US drone attack could lead to direct standoff between Pakistan and the US.

However, another official, who advises the government on foreign policy issues, attempted to play down his statement.

“There is no doubt that the government is against drone attacks but we want this issue to be resolved through diplomatic means,” the official said. He also indicated that the government had no intention to adopt any confrontational approach on drone attacks.

“We will have to find a solution to this drone use through mutual understanding. Shooting down drones is not the answer,” he argued, referring to demands for an aggressive approach to stop US drone attacks. The official said the government would not only seek transfer of drone technology but also address US concerns on ‘terrorist hideouts’ in the tribal areas.

When contacted, a foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed that Pakistan was seeking the transfer of drone technology from the US to deal with terrorist threats in the tribal belt.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • hasan
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:00AM

    instead of cleaning the cockroahes on ground, our country protect them from active cover from who we all know. How do you expect US or any other country buy this logic? Why would they sell something, when we are most unwilling to clean the mess ourselves? Further, no one will give us this tech, since that means chinese copycat junkies will immediately start making copies of them. I doubt we will be getting any good quality weapons in future, and will be stuck with low quality chinese junks, which even chinese forces laugh at and have outrightly rejected without trials, best examples are JF17 and Khalid junk tank. chinese have made the profit they wanted and moved on.


  • NA
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:17AM

    This is like the 10th time I’m reading this over the past 5 years


  • Rao
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:24AM

    During the previous administration, request has been made to transfer drone technology from US to Pakistan. US has asked many of its allies to sell or transfer their technical know how to Pakistan. Drones are being used by some 50 countries in the world. It is not a big deal.
    Know let us face some harsh truths here. Predator drone technology is one of the most advanced one in the Us aresenal. Americans have not shared Taft with even their best of allies like UK or Germany. Only a raving mad and idiot among US politicians, technocrats or military general would ever think of passing on such super secret weaponry.

    Pakistan has not so good reputation about secrecy. Remember, Dr. khan sold nuclear seperation technology and machines highest or lower bidder for profits. Can anybody trust Pakistanis in the near future ?

    Then why Paks need this anyway? Remember, they will use it against Indians in Kasmir, Afghanistan and will make a hefty profit by selling them.

    Requesting US and getting rejected is a very skillful ploy to blame US and black mail USA to get more $$$$$$$ aid. That is all.


  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:33AM

    This seems to acknowledge the superior power of drone technology and Pakistan is envy of these national birds. Assumption is Drone technology in the hands of Pakistani will cause less collateral damage than in the hands of Uncle Sam. The difference will be in the selection of targets. Guests will be spared under Pakistani drones.


  • sid
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:33AM

    did honey bee china refused???????????????


  • The Khan-Waterloo,Ontario
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:34AM

    Keep the drone technology.
    Right now, at least when US runs these, we are spared the full backlash. Once we get it, we will get bombs left right and center


  • truthbetold
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:35AM

    Fat chance.

    Obviously, the Chinese have asked Pakistan to press the US for the drone technology.


  • Jibran
    Jul 8, 2013 - 3:55AM

    You got to be kidding me. Do these “senior government officials” really believe that Pakistan is credible enough to be trusted with such advanced weapons.


  • FYI
    Jul 8, 2013 - 4:26AM

    First of all the USA will never give Drone Technology to Pakistan even if it wants to pay for it.
    Secondly, if USA gives Drone Technology to Pakistan, it will lose multi billion dollar defence deals with India and India will return back to Russian Federation & Israel for its defence needs.
    USA will have to think a thousand times before saying YES or will just think twice before saying NO.
    Moreover USA is planning for a Drone Base in the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It will not anger India as it might lose that strategic location which India has.
    The entire oil trade of China passes near the Indian Union Territory where India maintains a Naval / Army and Air Force Base.


  • Jul 8, 2013 - 4:47AM

    I doubt the United States will transfer the technology to the Pakistani army anytime soon. The US will carry out drone attacks whenever they think it is appropriate, but we can see a downward trend in the number of drone attacks carried out by the USA in the recent months because their need is diminishing and will keep diminishing.


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 4:47AM

    “find alternatives to drone use have already started.”
    “The official said the formal proposal seeking the transfer of drone technology will be made during the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry.”
    Clearly the alternatives to drones are more drones!


  • Gratgy
    Jul 8, 2013 - 7:43AM

    Pakistani drones will be equipped with the latest halal technology which will make it impossible to kill an innocent human


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 8:10AM

    @Jibran:”really believe that Pakistan is credible enough to be trusted with such advanced weapons.”
    Pakistan is the front line US Non Nato ally in the War on terror and is truisted the world over.
    ( ok thats in jest……dont take me literally)


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 8:16AM

    @sid: “did honey bee china refused???????????????”
    Pls address your query to the China Cell c/o PM Residence.
    It will be responsded to within 24 hours.


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 8:21AM

    @FYI: “First of all the USA will never give Drone Technology to Pakistan even if it wants to pay for it.”
    After the 18 Billion Economic Corrdor deal with China Pakistan may just pay for the drones….and more over there will be need of drones to protect the Chinese working over the corridor.
    Pls try to understand.


  • Ricky
    Jul 8, 2013 - 8:36AM

    How could Pakistan find high value targets for its drones? We cannot find OBL and his whole harem in our army base, so how could we find any other single person? Pakistan has to arrest a few of these leaders and top terrorists to establish some credibility to start with.


  • Fared I
    Jul 8, 2013 - 9:07AM

    Servants can’t demand. They Beg or Request… Understand that we are a Nation of Beggars. We expect te whole world to pour aid and donations into our ever outstretched hands. We can never command respect of the civilised world. First we have to rise onto our own feet before we start to walk with our chin up!


  • Eric Kumar
    Jul 8, 2013 - 9:28AM

    First of all I don’t believe Pakistan is going to ask US to transfer them drone technology. I strongly believe ET reporter has made up the story.Considering the cozy relationship Pakistan has with China , forget it if US will equip Pakistan with drone technology . In fact Pakistan should now ask Chinese to help them in this science.
    Do you think Americans are naive or stupid enough to think Pakistanis will kill terrorist. Pakistanis army if it wants can easily do that but the whole world is aware of the fact that Pakistan’s army and Elqida sleep in the same bed. So please stop dreaming to get technology.
    The latest trip which Prime-minister Sharif took to china and Pakistan handling over the Gawadar seaport to Chinese is a very strategic gain Chinese has accomplished. US and India are not happy about it. it brings Chinese very close to strait of Harmuz. So forget about USA equipping Pakistan with any technology which Cinese can hand on.

    It is good Pakistan and China are getting closer to each other. Holy bible says in the book of Proverb ” It is good to be closer to a neighbor than to a far relative because in time of need next door friend in better”. In politics every thing goes. Considering the overall picture Pakistan should start depending on Chinese being a next door neighbor. Pakistan always can run to ask for sugar or Onions and of course in this case ask them for drone technology.Recommend

  • SM
    Jul 8, 2013 - 9:28AM

    The only reason the USA does not listen to pakistan is because they know we are too soft. If the PAF was to shoot down one drone, and it can, the USA would know we mean business and would back off. The USA is a typical bully. We just need the guts to warn it once and see how it backs off.


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 9:30AM

    “Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz ”
    Isnt this the bright spark that propsed to Afghan Govt to divide the country into Taliban and Govt run parts?


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 9:34AM

    “address US concerns on ‘terrorist hideouts’ in the tribal areas.”
    The Pakistani Ambasador to UN has already stated that Pakistan has no terrorist hideouts.
    The problem is that US does not pay attention to what is said in the UN.


  • Raj - USA
    Jul 8, 2013 - 10:16AM

    During President Clinton’s term US fired some cruise missiles from its ship on the Afghan/Pakistan border area to target some terrorist training camps. I think it was a joint Al Quaida and LeT training camp. One missile that landed in Pakistan area did not explode and Pakistan sold it to China for $2 million and China was able to reverse engineer it and make its own cruise missiles. Similarly, when one of the stealth helicopters crashed during raid on Osama, Pakistan allowed China to inspect the damaged the helicopter although US had specifically warned Pakistan not to allow China access to the damaged helicopter. China even scrapped off some of the paint from the tail to reverse engineer. John Kerry had to visit Pakistan personally and take back the damaged tail portion of the helicopter. This is the record of Pakistan.


  • Anoni
    Jul 8, 2013 - 11:53AM

    For one thing we should ask Gentleman Kerry is for Knowledge transfer. This is perhaps what is need more that the weapon that are useless without it.

    This should be done through universities to get the capability to have home grown solution.

    Terrorism is a likely a virus that keep changes it’s line of attack.


  • Cynical
    Jul 8, 2013 - 12:41PM

    For those who are asking can PAKISTAN be trusted with drone technology.
    I havn’t witnessed Pakistan using small scale surgical strikes in Kashmir using American made F-16’s.


  • Reality
    Jul 8, 2013 - 12:44PM

    If they receive drone technology from US,the first thing pakistan do is to sell that technology to there all weather friend for few bugs.


  • Butt
    Jul 8, 2013 - 12:57PM

    Will Pakistan trade their nuclear armaments for the drones


  • Viv
    Jul 8, 2013 - 1:33PM

    At best the only place willing to sell Drones (plastic) to Pakistan would be Ebay Dot Com


  • Polpot
    Jul 8, 2013 - 4:26PM

    @ Eric Kumar: “the whole world is aware of the fact that Pakistan’s army and Elqida sleep in the same bed”
    Oh does Sharia pemit gay marriage? I always say that Islam is a modern religion.


  • Aarvey , India
    Jul 8, 2013 - 4:38PM

    I wish the search for alternatives included taking conclusive military action in N Waziristan against militants. Instead Pakistan is talking about transfer of drone technology. What a convenient request for an inconvenient problem.


  • Pakistani
    Jul 8, 2013 - 5:13PM

    Yah sure so that these super advanced technology can be hijacke by talibans so that they do not have to waste their men by suicide bombing. Instead, they will become the Devil Birds.


  • Rex Minor
    Jul 8, 2013 - 7:58PM

    Why not ask the Iranians?

    Rex Minor


  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 8, 2013 - 8:50PM

    Hello, what drugs are these guys on ? Can I also have some of these illusional dreams please!
    Face the reality, that you will never ever get your hands on this sort of technology, not even Chinese would have given it to you, if they had it !
    So bother asking for things that are not likely to ever happen ?
    I suppose the “shame factor” has gone out of the window, long time back !


  • Charlie Chapatti
    Jul 8, 2013 - 8:50PM

    Apparently the Pakistan Military have suggested to the US that they can make the drones invisible from ‘Nazar’ by tying a black rag on it. Pakistani version drones will also be painted in traditional ‘truck’ artwork and adorned with chains.


  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 8, 2013 - 10:05PM

    Why did the Americans not share any info, when they came for OBL ?
    The answer is pretty simple ! Hence the same applies here too !
    There is a very Real and Serious Trust Deficit with Pakistan and all its dramas and charades !


  • Rao
    Jul 9, 2013 - 12:05AM


    You mean to say bucks ($) and not bugs? Ah, I understand it is typo!


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