Such is the dependence that President Obama negated all what he said as Candidate Obama in 2008, and doubled the number of drone strikes in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) of Pakistan within one year of assuming office in 2009-10. The results are stunning: the stepped-up tempo of drone strikes since they began in 2004 has virtually decapitated Al-Qaeda and its Pakistani and Afghan allies in Fata and has spread panic in terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.
So, common sense dictates Pakistan should be happy, too, because many of these terrorist thugs massacre civilians and target the military there, right? Far from it. Last month, going a step ahead from chronic denunciations from its leaders, the Pakistan parliament passed a resolution calling for an immediate end to all drone attacks as part of list of demands for full normalisation of the country's ties with the US and reopening of Nato supply routes to Afghanistan. The US treated the resolution in the same way as it dealt with criticism from leaders like Prime Minister Gilani - with utter contempt.
As the CIA - which operates the drones - hunts down Islamic militants, the Obama administration should consider why, exactly, Pakistan is so reluctant to allow drone strikes. The usual answer is that CIA encroachments into its territory violate sovereignty, kill innocent civilians and fuel anti-American, anti-government sentiment in Pakistan. That's true as far as it gets.
In fact, hypocrisy permeates every aspect of Pakistan's attitude on this matter. US officials say the strikes come under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to criticise them in public.
Pakistan denies this. What's even more ludicrous is that at times, drones were even launched from US bases on Pakistani soil. Pakistan's duality in its approach towards the policy of drone attacks simply creates propaganda fodder for terrorists. Moreover, tighter restrictions on "signature strikes" since 2010 have considerably reduced collateral damage. According to Long War Journal, for instance, just 2.2% of the 801 terrorists killed in 2010 were civilians.
Drones are at vanguard of US mission goal to dismantle Al-Qaida in AfPak - Economic Times