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Drones & Drones... By Col.(r) Riaz

22 December, 2013

There is a great deal of talk and much ado about the drones and almost everyone in the country seems to outdo the other in demanding them to be stopped. Some going to the extent of stopping the NATO supplies to compel and coerce the USA in abandoning the strikes. The cry was carried to the UN corridors where a unanimous resolution was passed the other day against the US drone strikes in foreign territories.

But will the US stop it? I don't think so. And, my next question is even at the risk of raking up the hornets' nest - should these be stopped? Like it or not, my most considered and rational answer is NO. Sensibilities apart, let's be realistic please, may I ask who are these drones being used against? Our friends or foes? Just recollect the horrendous, brutal and barbaric acts of their killing the innocent, old and children alike, all over and all p! laces, even while praying in mosques and other religious places!!! Can they be called friends of Pakistan by any stretch of imagination? Can Pakistan deal with them effectively and promptly on its own? Has Pakistan not asked for the drones and the drone technology to use them against the same very terrorists? If the drones are used by Pakistan will these not inflict any collateral damage? Is the collateral damage being caused by the present drones not bare minimum due to their improved target acquisition and precise navigational capabilities? And, the most important of all, if the strikes are stopped will it not allow complete freedom of movement and ample time to the terrorists to re-org and revamp, to plan, to move men and explosives etc. at leisure and execute more lethal and more horrendous attacks on the innocent and unwary Pakistanis all over the country? Or, do the PTI and other Taliban sympathizers think that the day drone strikes are stopped they will also stop the! ir nefarious activities the very same day?

As a matter of fact! we shou ld be thankful to the US for coming to our aid and spending millions of dollars on each drone strike which we can certainly never afford. At the same time Pakistan must continue intelligence sharing with the NATO and the Americans and carry out ground and air strikes of its own wherever feasible and possible to eliminate the terrorists and weaken their will and morale to fight any longer. Once that is achieved, talks could be held with them from a position of strength to redress their genuine grievances, if any. They must respect the writ of the government and not impose their own terms to negotiate.

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

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