Pakistani Prime Ministerwas elected partly on his promise to end US drone strikes on his country. However, he has done nothing but mouth useless denunciations of the attacks while President Obama promises nothing. Now after releasing $1.6 billion in aid to Pakistan, Obama receives his reward.
The Pakistani government has now reduced drastically its estimates of civilians killed by drone strikes. On Oct. 18, the Pakistani government delivered testimony to the United Nations rapporteur on human rights, Ben Emmerson, that confirmed that over 400 civilians had been killed in US drone strikes together with 200 others probably non-combatants, and many hundreds more who were not identified. Later an interim report was released. According to Reuters:
In an interim report to UN General Assembly released on Friday, Emmerson said Pakistani government records showed that drone strikes had killed at least 2,200 people and seriously wounded at least 600 since 2004. He said Pakistan had confirmed that "at least 400 civilians had been killed as a result of remotely piloted aircraft strikes and a further 200 individuals were regarded as probable non-combatants."
The day after Pakistan gave its figures to the UN, the Obama administration released $1.6 billion in aid to Pakistan. Among the top recipients of the aid are the Pakistani military and spy agencies who typically arrange for those reports that claim that so many suspected militants were killed in raids. As reported in The New York Times, new figures revise the civilian casualties sharply downward:
The Ministry of Defense released figures to lawmakers saying that 67 civilians were among 2,227 people killed in 317 drone strikes since 2008. The remainder of those killed were Islamist militants, the ministry said.
Only a few dozen of those killed have ever been conclusively identified as "terrorists"; the rest are mostly "suspected terrorists," and as we know every adult male is regarded in US counting as a "suspected militant."
Recent testimony by the son of a victim of an attack shows that the new Pakistani figures are almost certainly wrong since his mother was killed in 2012 while picking vegetables in her garden with her grandchildren. Amnesty International also issued a report that showed that in just two strikes in 2012 in North Waziristan, 19 civilians were killed. In contrast, the new official Pakistani figures claim that there were no civilians killed in strikes in North Waziristan in either 2012 or this year.
Apparently, Pakistani politicians will do anything for the US dollar, no matter how embarrassing.