According to press reports, 12 British parliamentarians have demanded, in a letter to President Obama, an end to the drone strikes against Pakistan, pleading that not only are they a threat to the sovereignty of a British ally, but they are also causing the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians. It is, indeed, painful to recapitulate the voices in the wilderness of the victims and their sympathizers for so long. All one can say is that for eight years the international community, tragically, chose to turn a blind eye to the havoc that the CIA’s drones have been causing since they began attacking Pakistan’s tribal region in 2004. The uproar of the people of Pakistan and its government against the indiscriminate deaths of innocent citizens they resulted in and the groundswell of support they created for the militants proving counterproductive to the cause for which they were launched was occasionally, albeit meekly, joined by a few countries whose voice carried little weight with the US. Till recently, the world quietly accepted that they were hitting only the militants who had taken refuge in Pakistan’s tribal areas and that there was minimal “collateral damage”. The report prepared by the Americans’ own official agencies that only 2.5 percent of the drone deaths were those of suspected terrorists, and the rest were the local men, women and children, did not stay for long on the media radar. Nevertheless, now that the world is waking up to realize the massive sufferings of the targeted people inflicted by their attacks it should be welcome news for the victims.

Preceding the demand of the British parliamentarians against the drones, there have been calls from German and Dasnish political and social circles as well as some American writers highlighting the misery of the targeted people. Apparently, the British lawmakers have grasped the point of a most damaging outcome of these strikes i.e. they constitute a danger to the West by strengthening the ranks of terrorists. This negates the US argument that the war on terror is being fought to make the world safer. That Pakistan has to bear the brunt of association with the US war and face the backlash of drones in the form of bomb blasts and suicide attacks must have provided the British parliamentarians with the food for thought.

In the meantime, reports purporting to be leaks of the draft memorandum of understanding Islamabad has finalized for negotiation with Washington point to the omission of any reference to drones in the document. If true, it is quite strange for Pakistan to go silent on an issue that is doing its polity great harm and that too at a time when the world has begun to see the dangers inherent in it. One hopes when Islamabad takes up the reset of Pak-US ties with Washington, it would forcefully plead for an end to the drone strikes.