The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-operated drone strikes in Pakistan tribal areas against militants and terrorists are counterproductive and sheer violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, Pakistan's Presidentstated on Saturday, after meeting the U.S. Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman. The leaders also discussed some other issues of bilateral interests, but the talks remained focused on drone strikes in the tribal belt of Pakistan.
Pakistan believes that drone strikes are encouraging terrorists instead of eliminating them, as hatred against the U.S. is growing among the tribal people with every passing day. Spokesman for the president,told media Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is scheduled to visit the U.S. next week and would urge its officials and her counterpart to stop drone attacks on the Pakistani territory.
On the other hand, U.S. officials and the Obama administration believe that drones are very effective in eliminating terrorists and the collateral damage is minimal. A couple of months ago, President Barack Obama ordered to intensify the drone campaign in the tribal belt - the lawless Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan - to eliminate potential terrorists. According to reports, hundreds of potential terrorists and other high value targets have been eliminated so far in the region with the help of drone attacks.
In the tribal belt of Pakistan, CIA sleuths are also very active and provide very accurate information to them for drone strikes. The CIA believes that terrorists linked to al-Qaida and other terrorist outfits have made the area safe haven for them and are involved in cross-border terror attacks. It may be pertinent to mention here that U.S. officials suspect attacks on the U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan were carried out by terrorists based in Pakistan's tribal region that mainly consists of North Waziristan and South Waziristan. The U.S. has long been pressing Pakistan for a military operation against militants based in the region, but the powerful army of Pakistan is reluctant to initiate a full-scale military operation against the militants.
There may be several reasons for reluctance of Pakistani army. A considerable number of Pakistani army officials deem these terrorists as strategic assets and do not want to eliminate them. It is a fact that drone strikes and the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan by the U.S. Navy Seals have soured relations between the U.S. and Pakistan. Pakistani politicians and religious leaders condemn each drone strike, but at the same time, they all don’t want to spoil relations with the U.S.