Over a week, US drones launch nine separate attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas, killing dozens of unnamed tribesmen. It was a resumption of strikes at a rate unseen since before last year’s Pakistani elections, where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to end the attacks.
The few drone strikes launched in the wake of the election were met with loud condemnations by the Sharif government. Today, the silence is deafening, and underscores a policy shift from the Sharif government.
Following the trend of the Mubarak and Zardari governments before them, Sharif is on the path of “tacit approval,” with growing speculation in the Pakistani press that the government is cooperating in the attacks.
Sharif joined the opposition to the drone strikes primarily because it was a politically winning issue, and it undercut Imran Khan, whose party was gaining huge support campaigning almost exclusively on ending the drone war.
Now, the Pakistani government isn’t even offering the weak criticism the Zardari government was in the waning days of their rule, and is risking growing public backlash from the attacks, which are as unpopular as ever.