In defence of drones

An anonymous contributor to The Friday Times blogs asks if drones are really such a bad thing:


Recently there has been much hue and cry over drone strikes and the loss of life and panic that it causes. All the political parties have condemned drone strikes and have demanded in the strongest terms that the United States of America stop them. The question is, are drone strikes really against our national interest?

The TTP and its allies have killed thousands of Pakistanis and have vowed to continue their terrorist activities. The attacks organized and carried out by the TTP don’t only targets the military or government installations but also civilians, and inflict heavy losses in terms of infrastructure and lives. Many women have been widowed and countless children have been orphaned by their nefarious activities.

There is no major army operation going on in the areas where TTP is known for its stronghold and neither is that area being policed. It’s a no-go area for the Pakistani military and the police, then, on what basis do we claim sovereignty over the said area?  It is well known that most of the high ranking TTP commanders were killed in drone strikes but how many of them have been killed by a military or police operation organized by our own country? The answer is “a few” , if not, “none!”.  It is an undeniable fact that the drone attacks have caused panic and fear in the ranks of the TTP of a kind that has never been witnessed before and most of their key figures were taken down in these attacks.

The people of Pakistan are scared of going to the markets and other crowded areas, they are in such constant fear that they don’t even feel safe going to mosques for the fear of terrorism. Now that the drones are doing exactly the same to the TTP and its supporters, why are we against it? When a TTP terrorist blows himself up, aren’t there any civilian casualties? The TTP intentionally targets civilians while the United States of America targets a high profile TTP terrorist and the civilians are killed unintentionally. My point here is that TTP is constantly involved in organizing and launching attacks on our country and we have no practical means of launching an effective operation against them, so why are we against drone attacks which are at least killing TTP leaders and keeping them in constant fear of being hit? I agree there are civilian losses, but aren’t there any civilian losses when TTP strikes? In fact, there are much more civilian losses. Compare the deaths caused by TTP’s bombings with the drone strikes and you’ll know the answer! Furthermore, the civilians who become targets of these drone strikes need to start turning TTP leaders in. It isn’t possible (in a village environment) that you don’t know who exactly your neighbour is and when terrorists start living in your neighbourhood. Neighbours should revolt against terrorists or ask for government assistance, if they can’t do it on their own. But letting them live and providing them shelter while knowing about their activities isn’t something ethical or moral unless they are constrained for some reason.

I personally don’t think that the TTP will stop its attacks once the drones go away. In fact, they would get a free hand and might become even more organized and strong. To be honest, I think that the TTP would always have one reason or the other to stand up against the government and create problems. I am not against “Talking to the Taliban” but as they say “You can get far better with a gun and a kind word than with a kind word alone”; in talks with the Taliban; the gun should be drone strikes!”

6 Responses to “In defence of drones”
  1. sarwat ayub says:

    I’ve been reading various articles about how illegal Drones are and they must stop. Also the fact that they are against the sovereignty of Pakistan….being a lawyer from Pakistan, i have always felt this is only one side of the tale. What about Pakistan breaching other states’ sovereignty by exporting terrorism from its soil, for any state to expect regard for its sovereignty, it should first act as one which has regard for sovereignty of other states, specially its direct neighbouring states. Secondly, there is a basic rule in law, if you hide a criminal in your home, and call it hospitality, it does not leave you any different from the criminal itself. So, unless Pakistan shows some real actions and actually arrests and does justice to criminals hiding in its territory, Pakistan cannot claim to be on the wrong end. Lastly, if the judicial system in Pakistan remains in its current dispensation bordering chaos, what better way to take out criminals, illegal immigrants left over from the war in Afghanisatan, terrorists and self-proclaimed saviours than to Drone them out?

  2. Cheema says:

    This article describes my feelings exactly. Also the fact that is has to be an anonymous entry speaks volumes. Do you think somebody criticizing the US or Obama or drone strikes has to be anonymous? Taliban on the other hand will put a bullet in a child’s head (Malala) for criticizing them.

  3. AAK says:

    What a gutless rat – you oppose the Taliban filth and the American murderers at the SAME time – yes hard to believe I know…

  4. M. Emad says:

    Pakistan is playing double game with its ‘war against terror’ partners (as feared and predicted by many at the beginning). All the top Taliban Mullahs including Laden are staying in Pakistani safe houses. Logically USA has the right to play a triple game with Pakistan. In fact US drone strike is beneficial for Pakistan.

  5. Umar Pathan says:

    The writer name is not there but the narrative he has developed for supporting the drone strikes is quite strong and practical. This is the new version and mostly the arguments are more convincing than those who are opposing drone strikes for their political mileage. Collateral damage both in Army Operations and TTP attacks are much much higher than drone.

    well written

  6. A Pakistani says:

    Totally agree with the reasoning in this article. Let’s face it, if Pakistan or other countries facing terrorism had the drone technology they would be using it themselves. Only because Pakistani police or army can’t take any action in that area, the only option left to eradicate TTP is drones.

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