Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Pak military Message was loud and clear, Stop Drone Attacks
Posted by asif shah at | 9:29 PM Labels: allies, attacks, cia, civilians, clear, collapse, cooperation, demanded, drone, isi, loud, message, militants, stop, strikes, tribal, war
The issue became hot, when an unmanned drone attacked a tribal jirga in North Waziristan last month, killing several civilians.While drones continue to hover over North Waziristan, there has been no strike since the March 17 attack on a Madakhel tribal jirga in Datakhel.
The ISI chief, Gen Ahmad Suja Pasha, has gone to Washington to meet CIA Director Leon Panetta. He is expected to take up Islamabad`s concerns during the trip. New York Times quoted informed sources in Islamabad as saying on Monday that Gen Kayani had also “demanded that US put on hold CIA drone strikes aimed at civilians and militants in northwest Pakistan, a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies”.
At the same time, President Asif Ali Zardari warned that the US-led war in Afghanistan was “seriously undermining efforts to restore Pakistan’s democratic institutions and economic prosperity” and blamed his country’s destabilization as the result of America’s invasion of Afghanistan.
The sources also said the CIA had agreed to give ISI more credit for its counter-terrorism efforts and to keep Pakistani authorities better informed of CIA activities.Privately, U.S. officials acknowledged that despite renewed goodwill, some Pakistani demands for greater scrutiny and control over CIA activities in Pakistan are unacceptable to the administration of President Barack Obama.
Pakistani officials have expressed mounting frustration with the accelerated pace of the CIA’s Predator air campaign and the expanded presence of agency operatives, including a security contractor who fatally shot two Pakistani men in Lahore in January. A senior Pakistani official called the tone of the meeting “cordial” but said Pasha made clear that the CIA-ISI relationship had suffered a “breach of trust” and had to be reconfigured with a “clear code of conduct.”
“We need to know who is in Pakistan doing what, and that the CIA won’t go behind our back,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “There has to be a greater sharing of information, in terms of what the CIA wants and is doing. They have to stop mistrusting the ISI as much as they do . . . you can’t have us as your ally and treat us as your adversary at the same time.” Pakistani officials signaled Monday that the dynamic could change because of a perception in Islamabad that the CIA has overstepped.
The United States will reconsider its controversial policy of deploying drones against militants taking refuge in Pakistan, according to its ambassador in Islamabad.
Cameron Munter revealed that America intends to review using unmanned aerial vehicles in the wake of an angry public and political backlash over high civilian casualties suffered in attacks.“That is something on our agenda,” Munter told a gathering of top Pakistani military brass, analysts and academics Monday at an event that was billed by the local U.S. Embassy as a major policy announcement. Munter's comment did not come from his prepared speech, but during a question-and-answer session in response to a question from a member of the audience demanding to know when drone strikes would cease permanently. Fearing a hostile reception that would embarrass the State Department and stoke further local anti-U.S. sentiment, television cameras were ordered to leave the room for the question-and-answer session.
The U.S. is now at pains to patch up a relationship that has been worn threadbare by deep institutional distrust and public scapegoating of each other by their leadership.