Drone Story: The Bitter Reality
05 July, 2013
By Khan Zeb Burki
Challenging Pakistan sovereignty, satisfying US preemptive strike policy, the drone terrorism has turn Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) especially waziristan upside down. Life, property, and business of individual is not safe in the region where predator drone are hovering over heads of the people. The blind drone attacked schools, madrassas, hujras, markets and houses in the region where they smell suspected.
In the early phase of drone terrorism the then dictator Musharraf government denied the reports of American attacks on Pakistani people and state sovereignty. The first known drone attack took place in Dok village of South Waziristan on the night of 18 June 2004 in which Naik Muhammad along with five other including two children were killed. The responsibly of Naik's death was claimed by Pakistan government. The than military spokesperson, Major General Shaukat Sultan, while confirming his death said that "the army targeted Naik Muhammad on the basis of specific intelligence information", denying the reports that "the US military assisted the Pakistan Army in its planned operation to kill Naik Muhammad".
So Our spokespersons were here to claim responsibility of attacks in the tribal belt with confidence. This face saving practice continued for years and predator drone got free space to hover like birds in the air, which increases fear among the people in the region. Musharraf and his team did not tire of talking of real democracy in Pakistan. The so called real democrats were so enthusiastic that they even threaten and killed those who spoke of US involvement in war in Pakistan. So the people who had no right of freedom of expression under the black law; Frontier Crime Regulation, had perceived death threats. They had no option but to be salient victim of the situation. Those who dared to bring truth in front of people went missing or found dead. One of the examples is of Hayatullah Dawar. North Waziristan based journalist. Hayatullah was targeted for bringing the real picture in front of the world. He went against the then security policy of hiding drones attacks and he took photographs of what appeared to be pieces of a U.S. Hellfire missile at the scene. Days after he was kidnapped by unidentified man and after six month he was found dead on June 16, 2006. So he was mysteriously removed from the way.
He cast his life for exposing the truth of drone strikes. No one claimed responsibility of Hayat death but allegation persisted against security agencies. Until attack on Damadola Bajaur we were shouldering the responsibility of such attack on Pakistani soil. Here the question arises that why we were shouldering responsibility for drone? were our security agencies and Mussarraf government making money by killing its own people? Or was it in our national interest?
Musharraf might had fear of people uprising but had he not thought of its bitter consequences. This power hungry team put our security and sovereignty at stake and their policies on war on terror have damaged not only internal security but seriously turnished external image of the country. They might had not thought of counter productive consequences of the drone policy.
Was our national interest demand to kill the loyal people of the country that sided with Pakistan army in every battlefield for the integrity and security of the country, or we consider the tribal people not a citizen of Pakistan. Had the so called human rights champaign (USA) never feel that innocent people are dying in the predator drone?
Later on the truth was unfolded that American CIA is operating the drone strike in Pakistan tribal region. Before the people knew the truth of drone attacks we have lost hundreds of innocent fathers, mothers and children of the nation. We have created a group of revangers to fight back for satisfaction of revange. So who care of these drone victims because they are from the bad land always projected as terrorist hub by national and international media. The most outspoken are the our spokesperson labeling these innocents as terrorists. The drone strickers became proud of themselves that people are discussing them in Pakistan but not protesting against them, so they increased their presence.
You know we Pakistani became so bold and start protesting against drone strikes, passing resolution in the sovereign parliament and tries to insure USA that the attacks are counter productive. But we fail to tell American that it violates Pakistan sovereignty and it is not allowed under the UN charter of violation of sovereignty. Ironically, we were protesting against drone, flew from Pakistan territory, Pakistani Shamsi Air Base, and later it was closed for American drone. Thanks God our leader have closed down shamsi airbase and now drone are not flying from our country but are constantly intruding our air space. Helpless leader or making fool of the people?
Still the nation is unaware that either Pakistan has any agreement of drone with American CIA or the super power violates international laws on respect of sovereign states and human rights. Time will unfold the brutal reality.
The drone has welcomed the new government established in Islamabad and ensure its existence and happiness in Pakistan soil. So Nawaz Sharif, with a number of other challenges has facing the menace of drone terrorism. The people want to know the true story of drone and compensation of its innocent victims. The responsible of authorizing drone should be known to the people and due punishment is demanded for helping USA in killing our innocent tribal people. If we fail to stop American predator drone the situation may turn an other way that may threaten national integration.
The writer is an M Phil scholar and FATA Affairs analyst and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org