News Analysis |
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) chief Sohail Aman said on Thursday that he has ordered his force to shoot down any drones, including those of the US if they violate the country’s airspace.
The announcement was made public about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghan border, killing three militants. Pakistan had always condemned drone strikes on its soil but had never said they would shoot down the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). “We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace.
India, being our sworn enemy, was behind the attack on Kamran Air Base. What do terrorists want from PAF planes?” he asked.
I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad.
If he meant that US missile strikes on militant positions were a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, then these violations have been occurring since 2004. The CIA was responsible for all US drone strikes in Pakistan until November 30th, 2017. After every drone strike, the Pakistan foreign office issues a condemnatory statement claiming that it will not allow such strikes on its territory.
Hundreds of civilians, according to media reports, including women and children, as well as many senior members of terrorist groups have perished in these attacks. The status of many more people remains unknown. According to various sources, it was civilians who bore the brunt of these drone attacks.
The US government alleges that 116 civilians were killed, the Long War Journal puts the toll at 158 while the New America Foundation puts it at 315 killed and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism puts it as high as 965 innocent people who died as collateral damage.
Pakistan had always condemned drone strikes on its soil but had never said they would shoot down the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). “We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace.
Drones were the main tool used by the Obama regime in Washington, however, their use has decreased with the ascension of Donald Trump to Presidency of the USA. There have been 5 recorded drone strikes in 2017 killing 17 militants and 2 civilians. Some US politicians and academics have condemned the drone strikes. US Congressman Dennis Kucinich asserted that the United States was violating international law by carrying out strikes against a country that never attacked the United States.
Georgetown University professor Gary D. Solis asserts that since the drone operators at the CIA are civilians directly engaged in armed conflict, this makes them “unlawful combatants” and possibly subject to prosecution.
In May 2013, a Pakistani court ruled that CIA drone strikes in Pakistan were illegal. A Peshawar High Court judge said the Pakistani government must end drone strikes, using force if needed. Also at that time, an International Crisis Group report concluded that drone strikes were an “ineffective” way of combating militants in Pakistan. A week later, the Pakistani Taliban withdrew an offer of peace talks after a drone strike killed their deputy leader.
The Pakistani Taliban’s threat to “teach a lesson” to the US and Pakistan, after the aggressive American rejection of peace talks, resulted in the shooting of 10 foreign mountain climbers, as well as a mistargeted bomb killing fourteen civilians, including four children, instead of security forces in Peshawar at the end of June 2013. In early June, it was reported that the CIA did not even know who it was killing in some drone strikes
Aman added that the most unfortunate tragedy in the PAF’s history was the attack on Kamra airbase. In August 2012, militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons carried out a brazen attack under cover of darkness on PAF’s Minhas airbase at Kamra.
US Congressman Dennis Kucinich asserted that the United States was violating international law by carrying out strikes against a country that never attacked the United States.
The PAF chief also told the gathering that in the attack on Kamra airbase, terrorists managed to completely destroy one PAF Saab plane and inflict considerable damage on another. “After the attack on Kamra airbase not only did we set out to make the PAF better and stronger but were also determined to guide the nations towards self-sufficiency. Now, Pakistan will make its own fighter jets.”
“Even Indian defence officials attest to our successes on the battlefield,” Aman claimed and alleged that India was behind the attack on Kamra airbase. “Pakistan is unfortunate in the sense that our neighbours are trying to harm us. India, being our sworn enemy, was behind the attack on Kamran Air Base. What do terrorists want from PAF planes?” he asked.