The war on terror, many feel, has gone on for way too long and the end results are still unattainable. Pakistan has been at the receiving end of many of the measures taken to carry on this fight. The actual war on terror and US presence in neighboring Afghanistan, as well as the presence of hard line elements on its own soil has made the going tough for the country.
A group of US activists plan to launch a protest campaign in April called April Days of Action to generate a public uprising across the country against the government’s deadly drone policy.
The protests are scheduled to begin on April 3rd with a rally in New York and will spread nationwide near military bases, universities, and companies involved in President Barack Obama's policy of targeted killings.
USA commenced drone attacks on Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in June 2004; the data collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has determined that till February 2013, there have been 350 strikes that have caused 3,461 casualties. Of that total number of attacks, 314 have been ordered while Obama has been in office.
However, the years of drone strikes in Pakistan, with so many Al-Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban leaders allegedly killed in the strikes, the war on terror seems not to have fared too well. Not only were they able to kill more, they were also able to expand their sphere of operations into other parts of Pakistan as well.
So, the radical rise in drone strikes in Pakistan during the Obama Administration has caused no decrease in the capacity of drone-targeted groups to carry out terrorist attacks in the region, meaning they cannot be justified.
Also as it’s evident, drone strikes frequently cause civilian casualties, while the definition of a suspect is worryingly broad and the exact legal context of the program is shrouded in secrecy. The controversy over the legality and transparency of drone attacks has finally provoked a response from the Obama Administration, who has decided to institutionalize and reform the program and shift it from CIA to the Department of Defense.
Whether the step would bear any worthwhile change is too soon to be contemplated. However, hopefully, the drone strikes would be subjected to the rules of engagement that govern the use of military force and will have more defined parameters.