Cyril Almeida in Dawn:
The intensification of the American air campaign in Pakistan — 32 drone strikes this year alone — has sharpened debate in Pakistan and the US over the incidence of civilian casualties.
Paradoxically, however, near the locus of the attacks, the Waziristan agencies, where 95 per cent of the strikes have occurred, there has been little sign of protest, and anecdotal evidence suggests locals may actually be in favour of the strikes.
No reporter or official was willing to talk on the record about the strikes; however, the various accounts offered were strikingly similar and were corroborated by Pakistani and American analysts.
Referring to the lack of protests, a reporter claimed: “Imran Khan and the (Jamaat-i-Islami) are always talking about mass civilian casualties. But in Peshawar, Charsadda, Tank, Bannu, nowhere in the areas adjacent to the tribal agencies where attacks have been common have there been protests. They simply don’t exist.”
A senior journalist averred that many politicians protesting the drone strikes were guilty of dissembling: “Privately all the Fata members of parliament support the strikes. They can’t say it publicly because of the politics involved, but off the record they claim the strikes are great.”