Four militants linked to al-Qaeda were killed on Sunday in a drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal agency of Pakistan. The drone hit a girls’ school, where the terrorists were hiding. The area borders Afghanistan and the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan believe they are attacked by militants based in the tribal region of Pakistan. Pakistan has virtually got no writ over the area and terrorists linked to different militant outfits have been operating in the lawless terrain at will. The terrorists have also been running their training camps in the region and also plan their attacks on the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan there.
Many discerning analysts based here in the United States believe that resumption of the drone strikes in the tribal belt of Pakistan may harm the ongoing dialogue process between both the countries. This drone attack was the first since Pakistan’s parliament demanded the United States to end such attacks. Pakistani officials believe that drone strikes in the tribal region of the country are counter-productive and have failed in eliminating high-profile terrorists. Analysts believe that the US is left with no other option but to carry out drone strikes, as Pakistan has denied carrying out military operation in the region despite repeated requests by top US officials.
In a brief statement issued for the local media today, Pakistan’s foreign office condemned the drone strike and called for an end to the practice. It is pertinent to mention here that according to a popular belief, the Pakistani government has secretly allowed the US to continue with the drone strikes in the tribal region. Wikileaks revealed that Pakistan’s Premier Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani had given his tacit support to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to carry out drone strikes in the tribal region of the country. According to Wikileaks, the prime minister assured the US that they would protest against the drone strikes in public but remain abstained from taking any hard position on the attacks.
It has been around eight years to the drone strikes inside Pakistani border. Now the Pakistani leaders appear a bit concerned about the campaign. The country’s parliament recently passed some guidelines for resumption of dialogue with the United States. One of the points of the guidelines is to stop the US from carrying out drone strikes as it is violation of the country’s sovereignty. Relations between both the countries went to the lowest ebbs after NATO troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in an air raid in November last year. The unilateral operation against al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden dealt another blow to the already strained relations.
US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman visited Pakistan last week and held negotiations with the top military and civil leadership of the country. Reportedly, the dialogue failed as the US plainly denied tendering an unconditional apology over the Salala check post attack. Analysts believe the US should exercise discretion and stop drone strikes in Pakistan to mend relations.