Don’t the Americans realize how furious they are making Pakistanis? asked the Islamabad News in an editorial. For weeks now, U.S. drone attacks, in which unmanned aircraft fire missiles on suspected militant camps in Pakistan, have been killing Pakistani civilians on a routine basis. Just this past weekend, a U.S. missile attack in North Waziristan that reportedly killed a key Taliban leader also killed five civilians, including children. As innocent Pakistanis die in American strikes, Pakistanis are becoming more and more enraged. The attacks have sparked “sporadic outbreaks of civil unrest,” which make “an already difficult-to-govern country even more difficult to govern.” Americans claim the strikes are aimed at militants, but rather than stamping out extremism, they only serve to fuel it. There is “a growing body of evidence that an increasing number of otherwise moderate people are being driven into the extremist fold.”
The tribal regions are on the verge of outright rebellion, said the Islamabad Nation. Since the Pakistani government cannot or will not protect them from American bombs, some elements of the local population are launching “an armed struggle against the state.” U.S. raids are “pushing Pakistan to the brink of a civil war–like situation.” If we are to avoid such a catastrophe, Pakistani areas will have to be policed by Pakistani troops. It is urgent that the U.S. and Pakistan develop a joint defense mechanism with “clarity on the rules of engagement.”
Yet the government is simply dithering, said the Islamabad Pakistan Observer. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani tries to reassure us with his “over-optimistic” belief that the drone attacks won’t last much longer. He seems to be “pinning hopes on the change of leadership” in Washington, assuming that once Barack Obama is president, this blatant violation of Pakistani sovereignty will end. But even if we could be sure of that, we can’t possibly wait two more months. Children are dying. Opposition leader Nisar Ali has proposed going to the U.N. to get a resolution “against U.S. aggression.” That would be a start.
If the government will not act, the people must, said the Peshawar Frontier Post. The U.S. will not “take us seriously” unless they pay a price in the court of public opinion. Pakistanis should “emulate Syria, where hundreds of thousands of people came out to protest” the U.S. bombing of a suspected nuclear site. The Syrians’ display got the world’s attention, and the U.S. did not repeat its violation of Syrian sovereignty. Pakistanis may be divided politically. But on this issue, we are one. “All strata of society invariably condemn the violation of Pakistan’s territory and sovereignty by U.S. drones.”