Cyril Almeida in Dawn:
Drones kill civilians. Fewer civilians would probably die if there were less secrecy surrounding drone strikes in Fata. And the US kills people in Fata that it probably wouldn’t get away with killing in less remote parts of the world.
There. Now that that’s out of the way, there’s another obvious truth about drone strikes: they won’t end.
Because drones kill militants. Because there isn’t a good alternative to drones for killing militants in parts of Fata. And because the US security establishment likes them and the Pakistani security establishment doesn’t loathe them.
And, given what 140,000 troops in Fata can and have done, drones are — in terms of casualties and damage caused to civilian populations — on the periphery of the ‘what are we doing to our people’ debate.
If drones are here to stay, why this endless back and forth, sometimes acerbic, at other times restrained, between Pakistan and the US?