Islamabad, Jan 22: The best thing Pakistan could possibly do is finally admit to its complicity in drone attacks rather than propagandising against them in public while recognising the need for them in private, an editorial in a Pakistani daily has said.
Apart from the sheer distastefulness of such hypocrisy, it could allow the country to finally stop blaming outsiders for its woes and recognise its own role in this unfortunate situation, said the editorial in The Express Tribune.
US President Barack Obama, despite vowing to run the most transparent administration ever, has exempted himself from that standard when it comes to the war on terror. He has even managed to outdo the secrecy of his predecessor, George W Bush, expanding the use of drone strikes manifold while using the excuse of national security to shut down any public discussion or court challenges on their legality, it said.
Now, President Obama is trying to codify the use of drones and other methods of targeted killing by preparing a counterterrorism manual that will lay down the parameters of this controversial policy, it added.
Drone attacks in Pakistan, however, have been exempted from the guidelines. This is a clear case of expediency taking precedence over principle, it further said.
President Obama has made drone attacks in Pakistan the centerpiece of his anti-terrorism strategy but also wants to shield their dubious legality from scrutiny. It would be far better for both countries if debate about drones was as public as possible, the editorial said.
At the same time, Pakistan should resist using this new counterterrorism manual to paint itself the victim. First, there is the fact that, despite its public protests against drone attacks, Pakistan has secretly acquiesced to the use of drones in tribal areas, it stated.
Then, Pakistan also needs to recognise that the only reason drones need to be deployed is that it has refused to target militants by itself. Pakistan’s hesitancy to take on the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban has all but guaranteed the continuation of drone attacks, the editorial said. (ANI)