Drones Now Haunt Nawaz Sharif
According to monthly report of Islamabad based organization the Conflict Monitoring Center (CMC), The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of United States has killed 24 and injured 10 people in its covert drone strikes in Pakistan during last month. The CMC monitors anti-state violence in Pakistan. The report says that unmanned airplanes violated Pakistani airspace and fired 11 missiles in four drone attacks in September 2013. All of these drone attacks were carried out in North Waziristan Agency of FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). Three of the four attacks surrounded Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to U.S. to attend United Nations General Assembly session. The CIA has kept alive its practice of carrying out drone strikes before, during or right after high level visits of Pakistani leaders/officials to U.S. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif criticized drone attacks in his speech in UN General Assembly and said that they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and international laws. However, the CIA responded with drone attacks on 29th and 30th September, just two and three days after his speech. A ‘welcome’ drone attack was carried out on September 22 when Nawaz Sharif left Pakistan for U.S. to attend the UNGA session.
The CIA using airfields across the border in Afghanistan has carried out nine drone attacks killing 72 people and wounding 25 since Muhammad Nawaz Sharif took oath as Pakistan’s Prime Minister for the third time. The first drone attack in his current tenure was carried out by the CIA on 7th June, 2013 which was his second full day in office as Prime Minister.
Nawaz Sharif became first Pakistani ruler who raised the issue of drone attacks at UN General Assembly level since 2004 when the CIA started its covert controversial campaign in Pakistan. Previous governments used to condemn drone attacks but ignored to raise the issue at international level.
Most of the victims of drone attacks in September 2013 were unknown suspected militants as per claims of the ‘unknown and anonymous’ security officials. However, Haqqani Network’s operational commander Sangeen Zadran was eliminated along with three Arab commanders of Al-Qaeda known as Abu Bilal Khurasani, Abu Jundal Khurasani, Zubair Al-Musi, and two local militants Arshad Dawar and Ajmal Dawar.
The observed a relative escalation in September in drone attacks as U.S. carried out four strikes compared to just one strike in August 2013.
In first nine months of the current year the CIA carried out 22 drone attacks and killed 156 people while 62 were injured. Pakistan has been paying the price of retaliation by militants who accuse Pakistani security forces that they provide tacit support to drone attacks. The militants also accuse Pakistani government to be part of U.S. covert war in the area because Pakistan is providing logistics to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.