More drone killings on the cards


DESPITE repeated concerns expressed by international community and human rights organisations over loss of innocent civilian lives in drone strikes in different parts of the world, the US is bent upon further widening the scope of these killer drones. In a recent move, the Trump administration has given new powers to the CIA to launch strikes, giving more autonomy to Pentagon and intelligence agency to carry out attacks without White House nod and also removing the ‘near certainty’ requirement of no civilian deaths outside war zones. The new powers to the CIA should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind that more drones will be deployed to kill people without any distinction.
It was President George W Bush who had authorised America’s first drone strike in 2004 but then programme was rapidly scaled up by Obama administration provoking international condemnation and protests in countries including Pakistan where CIA attacks are believed to have killed hundreds of civilians. In fact these strikes tended to turn the civilian population against Washington. The unbridled use of spy planes is not only an open violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries but instead of curbing is fanning extremism and terrorism. Only last July, the American government itself accepted responsibility of killing up to one hundred and sixteen civilians in strikes in countries where the US was not at war. As undoubtedly the Muslim countries have to bear the brunt of the new US policy, we will urge important countries of Ummah to engage US administration and impress upon it to review the policy. Instead of operating on its own in total contravention of international laws, the US should assist the countries currently fighting against terrorists to cope with the menace. Military operation is not the only solution as over the years it has only made the world more dangerous place to live. Apart from giving dialogue sufficient chance, such steps are required that stop providing fuel to terrorist organisations.