Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s displeasure at the drone strike in Hangu is reflective of the overall mindset in the country. Pakistan can handle threats on home soil itself, does not need foreign interventions and the strikes themselves are nothing but counterproductive in Pakistan’s extensive campaign against terrorism in the country.

This is not to say that the tactics being employed by the state are completely foolproof – as mentioned on countless occasions, there is a lot lacking when tackling the extremist narrative, among other issues. However, as the COAS rightly pointed out, Pakistan also has the capability to conduct drone strikes on its own, and if the US government were to share the intelligence that leads to these strikes, there is no reason for the US to threaten Pakistan’s sovereignty through them.

It is too early to predict how the Trump administration is looking to formulate a policy on conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, but if the overall foreign policy approach of the current government is taken into account, it is expected that there will be more of the old, with a little more action and a lot less explanation. What this implies is the US would be looking to rely on drone strikes as a fallback option, without engaging Pakistan through intelligence-sharing, or allowing Pakistan to conduct strikes of its own on sovereign land.

The US has been focused on the Haqqani network for a while now – in all its discourse regarding Pakistan, the country has been advised, censured and at times even subtly threatened to “do more” against the terror group. As was evidenced by the strike in Hangu, the US will continue to shoot first and ask questions later wherever the Haqqani network is involved.

Opposition parties are already making demands of the COAS to “take action” against the drone strikes instead of merely speaking out against them, however, what it is that they expect the armed forces to do? As is clear from her tweets, PTI lawmaker Dr Mazari expects the army to defend Pakistan’s borders from any and all intrusions including US drone strikes. However, shooting down drones of an ally country that has given millions in military aid to Pakistan is really not an option, and one can only hope that all those in the party that voice this view are only using it as a political tactic to show up the government, and will not carry these beliefs forward if they were to form a government.

For Pakistan, there is but one option. Attempt to engage the Trump administration and diplomatically refuse intervention through drone strikes on home soil. There is ample proof the Pakistan has taken the fight to the terrorists. It is now up to the government to reiterate – or show through its actions – that it is dealing with all groups with equal ferocity.