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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pakistan claims drone strikes violate their sovereignty

Excuse the pun but Pakistan drones on and on about this issue. Parliament has even passed a motion that the attacks must stop. However they haven't. There was a pause after the U.S. killed a couple of dozen Pakistani troops on the Afghan border but that was all. They have resumed.
It seems obvious that at least until the pause there was tacit agreement within the Pakistani government and military concering the drone attacks. In fact Pakistani intelligence probably helped with targeting.
However, the issue seems to be taken more seriously now after two drone strikes killed at least 15 people in South Waziristan. The Pakistani government was quick to deny that it was involved. The government says it was not consulted at all with respect to any recent strikes.
The Pakistani government claims that they warned the U.S. to stop carrying out the strikes. The Pakistani ambassador Sherry Rehman said they told the U.S. this on March 9 after strikes that killed 13 people.
Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit that there was no question that the drone attacks violated Pakistan' sovereignty. He said:"Pakistan has been using all diplomatic channels to bring an end to the strikes that are damaging our efforts against militancy and terrorism. Voices are also being raised in the West against these illegal drone strike," But all that has happened is that drone attacks have resumed. Basit did not talk of shooting down the drones as an option.
By continuing the attacks the U.S. puts the Pakistan government in an almost impossible position. They must complain about them as a political necessity. However, they are dependent upon the U.S. for aid and have not shown any willingness to really confront the U.S. except by verbiage that makes them look more silly and ineffective by the day. They will pay come the next election. For more see this article.

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