Coffee House

What can the Pakistani government do about drones?

3 January 2013

3:47 PM

3 January 2013

3:47 PM

The dilemma over drones continues today with the announcement that a leading Taliban figure, Mullah Nazir, was killed earlier this morning.

Public opinion in Pakistan is deeply hostile to such attacks even when militants are killed because of the perceived cost to civilians. Scores have been incorrectly identified as hostile jihadists and targeted as a result. Pakistan’s government has long adopted a dual-hatted approach. Officially it protests all drone strikes while privately sanctioning them.


That now appears to be changing and the Foreign Ministry is now more committed than ever to stopping drones in Pakistan. Part of the pressure is explained by upcoming elections, with drones becoming a key electoral issue. But relations with the United States are also been strained and have been in decline ever since the Abbottabad raid, and a subsequent $33 million cut in foreign aid to Pakistan by the Senate.

Yet the killing of Mullah Nazir represents a real dilemma for the government. It is pleased to see the back of him after he harboured other militants in the tribal areas and sponsored scores of cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. And if the drone strikes are stopped – costly as they are on civilian lives – what better alternative can Islamabad present? Whenever it has entered the tribal areas to fight militants, the army has haemorrhaged men. Indeed, it has suffered greater casualties fighting in that area alone than coalition forces have endured over the last decade in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Life for civilians is also unlikely to improve. Whenever fighting breaks out civilians are displaced in far larger numbers than those inadvertently targeted by drones.

The government’s position is hopeless. It cannot commit further resources (military or otherwise) to the tribal areas, but must also contort to accommodate those who want the drones to stop. If that pressure succeeds, the only winners will be the Taliban.

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Show comments
  • victor67

    There are now more drone strikes in Yeman than in Pakistan and the Yemani government with its Saudi sponsers are far more accommodating of Pax Americana killing its citizens

  • Daniel Maris

    No response from Shiraz to the questions put to him or the quotes from his previous writings. Are we supposed he is a long-termist. Hoping to bring in Sharia at a patient pace, unlike some other hotheads?

    I am beginning to think SM’s posts should carry a warning: “Caution: This man is trying to twist your melon man.”

    Not that he’s succeeding judging by the comments here.

  • June

    Britain should grant asylum to all those Pakistanis caught up in this terrible conflict. Why did Obama get a Nobel Peace Prize? We must do the right thing.

    • David Ossitt


      should grant asylum to all those Pakistanis caught up in this terrible
      conflict. Why did Obama get a Nobel Peace Prize? We must do the right thing.”

      I am not too sure whether June is trying to be ironic with the above but if
      not then I will try to answer her two statements and one question.

      Britain should grant asylum etcetera, why? What possible grounds are there for us to accept what might well be millions of primitive people, that their government is a failure is neither our fault nor is it any of our business or our
      responsibility, we have too large a population as it is and quite enough
      Muslims already to contend with.

      Why did Obama get a Nobel Peace Prize, for the same reason that the totally
      corrupt European Union did, those who decide have lost their way entirely.

      We must do the right thing? Utter unmitigated balderdash, tripe and
      codswallop, why us? For that matter why anybody? And who decides just what the right thing is.

  • Q46

    What can Pakistan do? Stop supporting the Taliban, their creation, in their psychotic, proxy war with India being fought via Afghanistan.

  • Colonel Mustard

    The heading illustration is not really very representative. I mean the chap running away doesn’t look very much like a leading Taliban figure. I get the Hitchcock reference but just question its relevance here. There the good guy was running away from the airborne bad guys.

    Maybe your artist thought that representing the fully armed panoply of cutthroat tribal area villains might be – er – provocative?

    • Terry

      Good catch!

    • AY

      this is an alphabet of visual psychological war – planting sub-conscious associations.

      one can recollect “Christmas jokes” and articles headlines, where the word “Christmas” often stood next to such words as “nasty” “miserable” “bloody” “drunk” and so on.

      another example is categorical taboo in MSM on mentioning the authorship of islamic terrorism. people are killed not by taliban but by “bombs”, “explosions”, “IEDs”, “small ars fire”, “ambushes” etc.

      yet another example is anti-white racism.
      white men are often represented in ridiculous dress, or wounded or dismembered, dirty, old, mean, gay, dead, weak, overweight, sick, crazy or evil.
      to the contrary, black and asian men are always pictured with full set of white teeth, well dressed, confident, strong, winning, happy, sporty, knowledgeable and authoritative – it would be racist to show them other way.
      white women are pictured as sexual toys, whoring, nudity and wide spread legs are often shown.
      to the contrary, asian women are never represented in any sexy context – that would be disrespectful assault on modesty.

      make no mistake, MSM undertake coordinated, professional, wide and treacherous assault on the very ethos of Western population, having the aims in planting mental chaos, depriving people of will and values, compromising traditions, replacing humanistic morality by a nihilist vacuum, and then by the victorous Sharia.
      (and it looks like shiraz maher is part of the project..)

  • Daniel Maris

    Abandon Sharia, institute land reform, introduce gender equality, make jobs for young men, stop the insane population growth policy…

    Has it never occurred to you to recommend these policies Shiraz? Perhaps you can tell us if you oppose or support Sharia law. You never quite make that clear.

  • Austin Barry

    I wonder whether the US has ‘diaspora’ drones targeted to fly over the sangars of Bradford, Tower Hamlets, Luton etc.

    • AY

      deadly blitz by apes and pigs.
      no coordinates needed, they smell the enemy from afar.


    Shiraz said..

    The Islamic ideology has not been seen since 3 March 1924. It’s return will be inshallah soon and then the world will see the ideological implementation of Islam as a coherent system for man, life and the universe. You must think Jagjeevan, about the Islamic ideology and contrast it to those that exist today and see for yourself which one you
    hold to be superior.

    • AY

      yeah it was suspected all along.., the place where the jihadi turnskin is given freedom to happily pontificate on themes of morality, law and politics.

    • Daniel Maris

      Wow! – this is interesting stuff Coffeehousewall. So Shiraz has been dissembling you say and is in reality a pro-Caliphate, pro-Sharia man? Do you have a link for that quote?

    • Colonel Mustard

      When I watch videos of the promoters of this ideology sawing the heads off live and innocent human beings I am in no doubt as to which is superior, thanks.

      Those who support that, justify that, apologise for that or even fail to condemn that are simply beyond the pale. Until Islamic ideology cleans up its own house it has no right to speak of “man, life and universe”.


    Shiraz said…

    Disillusioned at the failure of her agents to suppress the Islamic da’wah we now see the colonialist states taking direct action against the Hizb. Despite vain attempts to slander the Hizb and associate her name with terrorism the German government much like the Uzbek, Jordanian, Syrian, Egyptian administrations has failed to show demonstrate any such link. Islam is the only ideological solution to capitalist exploitation and hegemony. Unfortunately even the supposedly democratic west – the bastion of liberal democracy and free speech – now fears this growing and unstoppable call.

    and many other rather disturbing things which can be read here…

    • Daniel Maris

      Thanks Coffeehousewall. I’ve put the question direct to him: does he or does he not support Sharia? Fairly simple question. I can certainly answer it.

      • Daniel Maris

        Looking at the link in detail it seems like Shiraz is claiming to have had some sudden conversion away from Islamic extremism. I think it is certainly time for him to explain his position. Does he support Sharia? Does he want to see the Caliphate revived? Does he think Jews, Hindus, animists, Christians, gays, women, Bahais and Ahmadis should get exactly the same treatment in a Muslim-majority country as a Muslim men? I will certainly be probing on these points from now on.


    Four primary school teachers were shot dead the other day for the crime of trying to educate young girls.

    Pakistan is not a modern state, it is a medieval one with a modern facade. Pretending that it is a modern democracy helps no-one.

    • SatPat12

      I agree…but tell that to Obama or to Cameron!!!!

  • AY

    so , this waffle is about what? it doesn’t matter, the main thing is that pakistan makes headlines again.

    still author repeatedly calls these beasts whose credentials are too well known – “militants”. usage of this term legitimizes both goals and practice of jihadi terrorism.
    who are you shiraz maher? some neutral observer or jihadi in disguise?

    also “the public opinion in pakistan” is placed in the center of discussion, as something worth considering as relevant. but it is not. we all know 99% of pakistan supports al-qaeda and dirty game of their government de facto extroting protection money for “fighting terrorism”. public opinion about this here in the West is what matters for us.

    then, another time the myth about “hurting civilians” is raised. there is absolutely no doubt that taliban hurts civilians thousand times harder, and they do it consistently and systematically. the information technology they use to communcate with population – include mass murder, spectacular executions, armed riots and pogroms against everything identified as not islamic enough to continue existing.

    just stop pretending that problem is political. it is not, it is religious and cultural.
    drones are consequence, the culture of intolerant islam is the cause.
    government of pakistani pakistan, as well as government of british pakistan, government of british bangladesh, government of british somalia and so on – all these decent people must realize once and for all – de-islamization is the only solution.
    instead of discussing how to stop drone strikes, it is time to discuss how to close mosques and madrassas.

  • anyfool

    The Pakistanis can stop all drones, all they have to do is say so, .

    The choice is between aid money and the lives of their people.

  • David Ossitt

    “What can the Pakistani government do about

    The short answer is, nothing.

    After giving it much more thought the answer
    is, absolutely nothing.

  • paulus

    Badmington rackets, instead of aid workers vaccinating people for polio why dont we give them badmington rackets as a missile defence.

    Im no market researcher but im quite certain we will never hear any bad feedback for their effectiveness.

  • HooksLaw

    The Pakistanis could ensure that the rule of their law extends over the whole of their own country. They could of course also ensure that the Pakistani intelligence agency ceases to be a govt within a govt.

  • Justathought

    The welcome news is that the next generation of missiles are much lighter and laser guided which improves the accuracy. Lighter weight means the drones can carry more of spikes on each mission. They are also ten times less expensive per pop than their predecessors. It is heartwarming that we are able to help the Pakistani government get rid of its vermin.

  • dalai guevara

    What about the imminent drones to be dispatched over home terrain? I am reliably informed our police loves the video footage shot in Poland some time ago…here the link if you are not familiar with the artful visuals:

  • El_Sid

    Who needs Homeland series 3…?

  • Madame Merle

    No doubt the government of Pakistan is happy to accept a certain amount of cash from the US and should realise that this is what Americans regard as charity.

    Politicians in general are a bunch of double-dealers but the mind boggles at what the Pakistani variety must be like.

  • chan chan

    Well, if they became non-muslims, there would really be no need to kill anyone there with drones. That’s something they could do.

    We don’t have drones flying over Thailand or India, for example. Funny, that…

  • Alex

    “If that pressure succeeds, the only winners will be the Taliban.”
    Are you saying that the strikes are hurting the Taliban?

    I very much doubt it. I can’t imagine a better way to recruit new recruits into the Taliban than apparently indiscriminate drone strikes. The U.S. still seem to think that there are a fixed group of terrorists, and once you have killed them all then you win.
    I suspect that if the strikes have killed 100 Taliban members, they have helped them recruit 1,000 replacements.

    But then the U.S. military, intelligence community and defence industry may not be 100% upset about that.

  • Bluesman

    Use their own.

  • ToryOAP

    I can see why the Pakistanis would be upset about drones killing innocent civilians – that is a task they are more than capable of doing themselves, especially innocent civilians who want to help poor girls with an education or to innoculate children against polio. I have no tears for this hideous regime and the medieval mindset of a large portion of the population.