Fact 1: The first suicide attack in Pakistan took place on November 19, 1995. Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed to have planned the attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. The attack killed 17 and injured 60. Fact 2: The second suicide attack in Pakistan took place on May 8, 2002 in which nine French nationals and five Pakistanis were killed in Karachi.
Fact 3: The third suicide attack in Pakistan took place on July 4, 2003. The attack killed 54 and injured 57.
Fact 4: The fourth suicide attack in Pakistan took place on December 25, 2003. The attack killed 15 and injured 46 in the Jhanda Chichi area of Rawalpindi.
Fact 5: The first drone attack took place on June 18, 2004. The attack killed Nek Muhammad Wazir, a militant commander.
Conclusion: The first suicide attack took place nearly nine years prior to the first drone attack. The second suicide attack took place nearly two years prior to the first drone attack. Suicide attacks came first and then came drones. Obviously, drone attacks are not the cause behind suicide attacks.
Fact 6: In 2000, there were 14 bomb blasts in Karachi, Sialkot, Hyderabad, Torkham, Lahore, Quetta and Islamabad (among other cities).
Fact 7: In 2001, there were 62 bomb blasts in Lahore, Gilgit, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Gujrat, Muridke,Gujranwala and Karachi (among other cities).
Fact 8: In 2002, there were 35 bomb blasts in Islamabad, Abbottabad, Lahore, Taxila, Sialkot, Karachi, Haripur and Sahiwal (among other cities)
Fact 9: In 2003, there were 41 bomb blasts in Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Jhang, D I Khan, Jacobabad and Rawalpindi(among other cities).
Conclusion: There were close to 200 bomb blasts prior to the first drone attack. Bomb blasts came first and then came drones. Obviously, drone attacks are not the cause behind bomb blasts.
Consider this: In January 2011, Gallup Pakistan carried out a survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,754 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of Pakistan. They were asked the following question: “In your opinion which is the biggest problem currently faced by Pakistan?”
A total of 55 percent considered inflation to be the biggest issue currently faced by Pakistanis, followed by 21 percent who considered terrorism as the biggest issue and 16 percent who said unemployment was the biggest problem (eight percent gave other responses).
Conclusion: For 92 percent of all Pakistanis drone attacks are not the “biggest problem currently faced by Pakistan (http://gallup.com.pk/Polls/27-01-11.pdf).”
These are all facts while almost all other drone-related figures on casualties have little or no authenticity because there is absolutely no state writ in areas where drones are falling.
Are drone attacks illegal under international law? Yes, drone attacks are illegal under international law because drone attacks do not have the approval of the UN Security Council and military force against another member-state of the UN can only be used either with the approval of the UN Security Council or the consent of the member-state being attacked.
Why don’t we then lodge an official petition? What if the US claims Pakistan’s ‘consent’, the only other condition under which a member-state of the UN can use military force against another member-state?
Conclusion: The issue of drone attacks is not a black-and-white issue.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @saleemfarrukh