It is news that could prove damaging to the Pakistan government and its intelligence agency, the ISI. Even as the Pakistan government publicly condemns incidents of U.S. drone strikes in its territory, new reports in the U.S. media reveals that top officials in the Pakistani establishment are regularly briefed by U.S. agencies of such strikes. These strikes are being carried out under top secret agreement reached between both governments since the time of George W. Bush and Pervez Musharraf.
Supporters of Pakistan's Islamist party Pasban hold placards as they shout anti-American slogans during a protest in Karachi October 23, 2013, against US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain)
A report published in the Washington Post on Oct 24 details the fact that despite publicly denouncing CIA's drone attack, top Pakistani officials have for years been secretly endorsing the program.
The Atlantic Wire reports that perception of the drone strikes became increasingly divergent on the potential targets of the strike. Difference between the U.S. and Pakistan became more pronounced as the ISI insists that only certain factions of the al Qaida-linked groups be targeted. The Pakistani intelligence wants to protect some of the other jihadist elements for its fight for influence in India and Afghanistan. Trust between the CIA and ISI was damaged after the U.S. took the unilateral decision to target Osama bin Laden without involving the Pakistani military and intelligence.
Reports say that the exact terms of the secret agreement are not shared by civilians, which the National Journal says could be the key reasons why the Obama administration has resisted efforts by Congress to obtain the full range of its classified legal memos.
Reacting to the Washington Post report on the secret CIA memos, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said the Pakistan government does not comment on media reports which rely on unnamed sources.
He, however, told Washington Post that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who took office in June 2013, is vehemently opposed to such strikes and has been adamant that "the drone strikes must stop."
"Whatever understandings there may or may not have been in the past, the present government has been very clear regarding its policy on the issue," Chaudhry is quoted in the Washington Post as saying.
"We regard such strikes as a violation of our sovereignty as well as international law. They are also counter-productive," he said.
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