Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken office, and unveiled his choices for his new cabinet today. His government is already facing a major crisis of confidence, however, as US drones attacked a home in Miramshah, killing seven.
It was the second US drone strike since last month’s election, and the first since Sharif’s swearing in. Sharif made ending the drone attacks a centerpiece of his campaign, and promised to work out a deal to end the strikes.
Today’s strike underscores everything that Pakistanis find wrong with the attacks. Officials say they have no idea why that particular house was attacked, and the identities of the seven victims of the attack are entirely unknown.
Several thousand people have been killed in the US attacks over the past decade, with the vast majority coming since President Obama took office. Though the US insists all the killings are “legitimate” only a few dozen of the slain have ever been identified by name, and the vast majority are apparently random tribesmen, eternally labelled “suspects” for convenience’s sake.
Sharif already saw one of his cornerstone policies destroyed by the first attack, with the Pakistani Taliban backing out of planned peace talks in response to the last US attack. The Sharif government is going to need to show it has some sort of plan for ending the strikes or it may find itself quickly falling out of favor, just as the ousted PPP did before the last vote.