Monday, April 30, 2012
U.S. ignores Pakistani demands and resumes drone attacks
The Pakistani parliament has passed at least three motions demanding the cessation of drone attacks. The most recent motion makes cessation of the attacks one of the conditions for normalizing relations with the U.S. and reopening transit routes through Pakistan to Afghanistan.
In every case the U.S. has simply ignored the motions. However this time there may be serious repercussions. The supply routes may remain closed causing huge extra costs to ship materials through alternate routes.
Reports claim that the recent drone strike killed four al-Qaeda linked fighters in a former girls' school in the North Waziristan tribal area. Of course this account is from security officials. Confirmation of what happened is often not possible or conflicting accounts emerge.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attacks. However such statements ring hollow after being constantly repeated but no attempts made to stop the attacks. The U.S. has failed to meet the demand that drone attacks stop or the demand that there be an unconditional apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani troops. The U.S. has said it regrets the incident but claims both sides were to blame.
A recent meeting between U.S.special envoy Marc Grossman and Pakistani officials was not able to work out some of the main stumbling blocks in relations. Nevertheless officials from both governments say they are committed to continue the talks. The Pentagon team has ten negotiators.
Pakistan's problem is that it is dependent upon U.S. aid to such an extent that it is difficult to deny the U.S. what it wants. The U.S. has already held back more than a billion dollar in coalition support funds. These funds are to reimburse Pakistan for costs incurred in fighting militants.The U.S. has made no payments since 2010. The Pakistanis claim also that the U.S. owes more than 3 billion. If the Pakistanis ever want to see their money they must play nice with the U.S. However, if they play nice with the U.S. and their demands are ignored the Pakistani people may rise up against the government or defeat them at the polls. For more see this article.