Another round of demands for an immediate end to US drone strikes by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was undercut by a sudden leak to the Washington Post of significant data on previous Pakistani governments’ secret endorsement of the policy.
The “top secret” CIA documents document CIA use of Pakistani air strips for past drone flights, and detailed repeated meetings with top officials from the Zardari government, including at a time when that government was openly condemning the attacks and demanding an end to them.
Sharif won his election this year on a platform of ending the strikes, and has grown more and more adamant about the need to end them in recent weeks, but the drones continue flying, and people continue dying.
The leaks further threaten the credibility of the Sharif government’s demands with the Pakistani public, amid growing anger at the attacks and speculation that Sharif might be playing the same game Zardari was.
Ultimately this puts all the more pressure on Sharif to do something to stop the strikes, as any good will his campaign to end them gave him in the wake of the election could rapidly dry up without results.