Who authorised drone attacks?

Dec 14th, 2011 | By | Category: The Nation

The Nation logoIn The Nation on Tuesday, Dr Farooq Hassan asks ‘Who authorised the drone attacks?’. According to the senior advocate of Supreme Court, the two obvious suspects are President and PM. But it seems that Dr Hassan is overlooking some important research on the subject.

In March, you might remember, General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood said in a briefing that drone strikes are effective and have low civilian casualty rates.

“Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners.””

“Yes there are a few civilian casualties in such precision strikes, but a majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements.”

Two months later in May we learned from Wikileaks that there may have been requests for increased drone strikes from the highest levels in government – only, not the civilian branch.

Newly released Wikileaks cables revealed that the US military’s drone strikes programme within Pakistan had more than just tacit acceptance of the country’s top military brass, despite public posturing to the contrary. The cables state that the country’s military was requesting the US for greater drone back-up for its own military operations as long ago as January 2008.

This blog has no knowledge of whether drone strikes were ever officially authorised, requested or approved or if they were not. If an investigative journalist wants to look into this question, I’m certain many people would be quite interested to learn the answer. Of course, if any journalist is actually interested in learning the truth, he shouldn’t limit his search to Islamabad.

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