On Friday two missiles fired from an unmanned US drone landed in Ghuzgarhi area near the Afghan border in Kurram Agency – killing three and wounding one other. This is not the first drone strike in Pakistani territory since Donald Trump became the president of the US – the last one too place in June in Orakari agency – but it is the first one following the US decision to restart military operations in Afghanistan.

The facts surrounding these strikes are scarce, but it is difficult to imagine Pakistani authorities being on board with the latest strike. Considering the rocky relationship between Pakistan and the US, and that the target of the strike was identified as Maulvi Mohib, affiliated with the Haqqani network – a group that the US accuses Pakistan of protecting – it is safe to assume that this was not a coordinated strike. Even if Pakistan was summarily “informed” about the impending strike, the bottom line is that the US seems to have resumed its unilateral strikes inside Pakistani territory with little regard for its consent and sovereignty.

This fact poses some very difficult question that the Pakistani government – and especially the Pakistani armed forces – must answer. The nation was told, forcibly and repeatedly, that the days when the US ran roughshod over the Pakistani government are over. We were also told that our regional relationships and newfound economic vitality ensure that we will never be forced to do what we don’t want to do. More immediately, following Donald Trump’s blunt remarks about Pakistan, the heads of our government and armed forces ensured us that Pakistan will fight the war on terror “on its own terms”. After this latest drone strike, where does this bluster stand?

Will the state act on its own words? Would future US incursions into Pakistani territory be dealt with in the same way other invasions of sovereignty are dealt with – with force? Will we scramble jets to take down US drones, or will this campaign continue?

To be clear there is nothing principally wrong with US drones operating inside Pakistan to take out dangerous terrorists – as long as it is done with the explicit permission of the government, and more crucially, the state is clear about this fact with the public.

There is no more space for the kind of white lies perpetuated by the Pervez Musharraf administration – telling the Americans one thing, and the public another. If Pakistan is to be subjected to another unilateral drone campaign the government should come clear with the people of Pakistan – and brace for the consequences that usually follow such perceived capitulation.