US drone attacks affecting Lives in Pakistan

By Iram Zahra

BEIJING—(October 14, 2010) – Now is not the time to relive history but to retrace measures taken over the past decades when Islamic fundamentalism was used as state policy by military dictators in Islamabad most of whom had the support of Washington. This again is inked in the memories of the Pakistani people which have created a solid wall of resistance against America as much in the benign middle classes in Punjab and Sindh as in the Tribal Areas and North West Frontier province which suffer from US drone attacks.

Almost 27 drone strikes since early September and at least three border violations seem to have united most analysts, electronic media, columnists, politicians and members of civil society, who feel that the government must defend its sovereignty.

In the last two days, at least nine militants have been killed in two drone attacks in Pakistan’s north-western tribal area.

The attacks bring the total drone strikes to 25 in the past 29 days. The attacks are part of an apparent crackdown on insurgents along the border. At least 150 people – militants and civilians have died in these strikes.

The first of the drone attacks came with the killing of three Pakistani troops by NATO forces following a cross-border strike. In the meantime, Pakistani officials say that the U.S. has staged roughly 20 drone strikes along the Afghan border this month killing 18 militants. In September the U.S. launched a record 21 drone attacks against militants. These strikes did not come without a cost – several lives were lost.

In the first drone attack last week, four missiles hit a house in Datta Khel village in North Waziristan, killing eight militants, officials from Pakistan’s intelligence service told reporters.

In response to the attacks, the Pakistani military closed a critical NATO supply route to Afghanistan.

Pakistan had shut down the Torkham crossing along the Khyber Pass after a U.S. helicopter strike in the border area killed three Pakistani soldiers 11 days ago.

Following an apology from top U.S. officials last week, Pakistan announced the reopening of Torkham boarder. NATO supplies have effectively resumed along the Pakistani border.

By the end of the day after the border crossing was reopened, some 120 trucks carrying NATO supplies, 40 of them carrying fuel, had crossed into Afghanistan through Torkham.

It was not clear whether the decision to allow the vehicles through the last two days, was a goodwill gesture by Islamabad, or a pragmatic move to relieve the backlog of vehicles that have been stranded along roads in Pakistan and left vulnerable to militant attacks.

Pakistan is an important supply route for fuel, military vehicles, spare parts, clothing and other non-lethal supplies for foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan.

Is this for the security of the future of Pakistani people who feel fear every time when leave their houses? But the question is about the sovereignty of Pakistan. The future cannot be predicted but the future can be protected.

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