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article imageOp-Ed: Report on Bin Laden raid confirms agreement on US drone strikes

By Ken Hanly     Jul 10, 2013 in Politics
Islamabad - In a damning report on the US raid on Abbotabad, the former ISI head Lt. General Pasha further confirms what has long been suspected, that the Pakistani government had a secret "understanding" with the US that allowed drone strikes in the tribal areas.
The former chief of the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) said that although the civilian government regularly complained about the drones publicly, the government privately allowed them as being "useful" even though very unpopular and politically damaging. Pasha said that it will be difficult to convince the US that the agreement no longer applies. Since there are no written agreements, the US just assumes that the new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is just carrying on the same terms of the agreement even though Sharif says that any secret agreement is now revoked. Other sources including leaked Wikileaks cables also show a tacit understanding that allowed the strikes, and that Pakistani intelligence often helped with targeting.
In the report Pasha also said that US arrogance "knew no limits." He quotes a US intelligence officer as saying that "you are so cheap... we can buy you with a visa, with a visit to the US, even with a dinner … we can buy anyone". This may be arrogant but it is also true within limits. Pasha was hardly less critical of his own government claiming that his government was "weak" and too dependent on US aid to stand up to its ally. He even called Pakistan a failing state.
Pasha said : "Admittedly the drone attacks had their utility, but they represented a breach of national sovereignty. They were legal according to American law but illegal according to international law". While the two leading parties in the recent election and the new government of Nawaz Sharif express strong disapproval of the drone strikes, there is still no move to actually stop them when they occur. Strikes have continued since Sharif became prime minister. In order to retain any political credibility the new government may be forced to do something when John Kerry, US Secretary of State, comes to Pakistan later this month. As reported earlier in Digital Journal there could be a "standoff" between Pakistan and the US.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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