This is apropos of Asim Zafar Khan’s article titled ‘Another chance to get it right’ (July 19). Some of our analysts and intellectuals seem more concerned about safeguarding US’ interests than Pakistan’s. Their analyses of the threats faced by Pakistan, of the possible repercussions of its foreign policy on the achievement of its strategic aims in the region, and the solutions presented by them to extricate Pakistan from the present self-created mess, all revolve around the same principle, that is, ‘keep the allies happy’. What is worse is that there is always a display of callousness by these intellectuals while discussing the utility of drones for the realisation of US’ regional goals in the war on terror. While citing the data presented by the New American Foundation regarding civilian death rate in drone strikes, Khan comments that civilian casualties have indeed decreased, if they have not stopped altogether. Since the US is now going to include smaller munitions in its drone war, Khan is optimistic that ‘fewer people will now be killed in collateral.’
In other words, it is no big deal if a few innocent tribesmen are killed in collateral when a drone attacks a wedding ceremony or a funeral procession. Things like ‘fair trial’ and ‘the right to defend oneself in a court of law’ are reserved for the Raymond Davises of the US, and the innocent villagers of our tribal areas should have nothing to do with these. No doubt, our civilian government and armed forces have not been honest to the nation and thus cannot be absolved of the blame of bringing Pakistan to the present state of affairs where its territorial integrity is at risk. But suggesting that Pakistan openly become a party to killing its own people is no service to this country. The people in the tribal areas are as much a part of this country as these intellectuals are.