S M Hali
PAKISTAN’S military, which went into a huddle with the civilian leadership, both political and bureaucrat, pondered over the issue of drone attacks and issued a statement that “Drone attacks are clear violation of international laws and open act of aggression damaging sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan.” With one voice they echoed that collateral damage caused by drone attacks is clear violation of international human rights.
The condemnation came in the wake of the drone attack, which tracked and eliminated the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour. Reportedly, the US sources were following the vehicle, which was conveying the Taliban leader from its point of departure in Iran but the assailants struck the vehicle with a hellfire missile released from the drone after it reached Noshki in Pakistan.
The US was fully cognizant of the impact the attack would have had on its still fragile relations with Iran so it waited for the Taliban leader to cross over into Pakistan, whose sovereignty is of little or no consequence to the US, before targeting Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
The Noshki drone attack shows a trust deficit of US on her allies, has spoiled peace process and reflects a clear impression of US betrayal on dialogue process. American double standards are significant as on one hand they demanded Pakistan’s support for dialogue and on the other hand targeted Taliban Chief with drone putting Pakistan in to a difficult position.
Collateral damage caused by drone attacks ignites violent and retaliatory sentiment among victims and perpetuate extremist wave.
Pakistan has rendered innumerable sacrifices in men and material and has always condemned such action which is a cause of regional instability.
The grave aspect of this attack is that the leadership of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has set up a parallel government in Afghanistan, roams about freely wreaking havoc in Pakistan but the US drones fail to bring the TTP in their cross hairs. Moreover, the US Congress has been very critical of Pakistan for not doing enough to eliminate the Haqqani network.
The US Congress has taken the extreme step of stopping funding for 8 F-16 fighter aircraft which was Pakistan was going to use in its war on terror.
The same drones, which tracked and killed Mullah Akhtar Mansour, can eliminate the Haqqani Network too but they are using it as a ploy to whip Pakistan whenever required.