Drones were first introduced in Pakistan in Musharraf’s era when there was an attack in 2005 on Pakistani territory killed one person. The next incident took place in 2007 killing twenty persons while 15 were injured. There were no more attacks in Musharraf’s period.
But as soon as the democratic government took control of the country, series of these attacks began. It cannot be said with surety whether the personal interests of the governments were involved but the stats suggests this idea. There were about 19 drone attacks killing almost 156 persons and injuring 17.
The graph below shows the trend drone attacks from 2005 till now. The increase is sharp and rapid as the government shifted from dictatorship to democracy.
Next graph shows number of deaths and injuries by the drone attacks per year. Here the red line shows deaths while the green one is representative for the number of injuries.
It is obvious that most of the people killed in these drone attacks are civilians. US claims that they target suspected militants but according to the people living in those areas, there are rare chances that some terrorists are killed. Mostly civilians suffer deaths.
George W. Bush vastly accelerated the drone strikes during the final year of his presidency. A list of the high-ranking victims of the drones was provided to Pakistan in 2009 (Dawn, February 9, 2009). Obama has broadened these attacks to include targets seeking to destabilize Pakistani civilian government and the attacks of 14 and 16 February 2009 were against training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud (The New York Times, 21 February, 2009). On 25 February 2009 Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, indicated the strikes will continue. On 4 March 2009 The Washington Times reported that the drones were targeting Baitullah Mehsud. Obama was reported in March 2009 as considering expanding these strikes to include Balochistan.
On 25 March 2010 US State Department legal advisor Harold Koh stated that the drone strikes were legal because of the right to self-defense. According to Koh, the US is involved in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their affiliates and therefore may use force consistent with self-defense under international law (The New York Times, 17 March, 2009).
For whatever the reason, killing innocent people is not valid at all. US must stop this brutal act as soon as possible in order to base a peaceful future.
by: Aimon Malghani