In what officials are describing as further fallout from the Raymond Davis fiasco, the Pakistani government has asked the United States to remove some 335 operatives from the nation. They are also demanding that the US put its drone strike program “on hold.”
Pakistan’s government has faced increasing domestic unrest over the massive presence of CIA operatives and US special forces in the nation. This was compounded when Davis, who was ostensibly working for the US consulate in Lahore, murdered two Pakistanis on the streets, then demanded diplomatic immunity. He was released after the payment of “blood money” to the families of the victims.
The already controversial drone strikes came to a head in March as well, after a drone strike targeted a tribal jirga, killing a large number of civilians and tribal fighters loyal to the Pakistani government. The US insisted the attack was appropriate.
The demand to halt the drone strikes appears more serious than previous “formal requests,” which came as Pakistani officials were quietly endorsing the program. The current demands seem to originate within Pakistan’s ISI, which is likely in more of a position to require that such attacks stop.