Pakistan Condemns Drone Strikes as ‘Unlawful’

Renewed scrutiny has been placed on the drone war in Pakistan since Obama publicly admitted to it for the first time

by John Glaser, January 31, 2012

Islamabad issued another condemnation on Monday of Washington’s drone war in northwest Pakistan, branding it “unlawful, counterproductive and unacceptable,” after President Obama for the first time publicly acknowledged the classified program.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said: “Our position on drone strikes is clear and based on principle. We cannot condone the violation of our sovereignty.”

Obama acknowledged the extrajudicial execution campaign in an interview that streamed live on YouTube. “I want to make sure people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” he said. “For the most part, they’ve been very precise, precision strikes against against al-Qaeda and their affiliates.”

But investigative reports tell a very different story, namely that a large portion of the thousands of people killed in drone strikes since 2004 have been civilians. Furthermore, those militants that have been killed are mostly low-level insurgent operatives that are only known as such because the government said so.

Pakistani officials have been known to assist the CIA in carrying out drone strikes in the past, so Islamabad’s condemnation cannot be considered totally genuine. But the Pakistani people have been outraged by such constant attacks and have protested in the hundreds of thousands.

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