Pakistan Requires a Drone Defence Programme to Safeguard its Sovereignty
The arrogant American viceroy to Pakistan, John Kerry visited Islamabad and immediately blamed local militant groups for violating Pakistan's sovereignty. In an exclusive interview with Geo News, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al-Qaeda were violating the sovereignty of Pakistan
For most Pakistanis, it is America that is aggressively violating Pakistani airspace and killing Pakistani citizens through its robotic death drones. Yet for Kerry the US drone programme is entirely defensive. He said, "We are engaged in counter-terrorism for self-defence."
This is despite the fact that America struggles to find Al-Qaeda, LeT and Taleban operatives on its shores waging war. No Pakistani government official or member of the opposition took Kerry to task on his twisted logic that somehow drones strikes were in self-defence. As expected, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan could only put up muted protests when speaking to Kerry, and he reciprocated by stating that the drone strikes would soon end. But no one knows when!
The time has come for Pakistan to stand on its own two feet and develop its very own domestic drone programme to ward off American death drones that routinely violate the country's airspace and kill its citizens with impunity. To minimise the growing menace of US drones, Pakistan's domestic drone programme should make at its core quick win actions combined with long-term measures. These could be:
- It has been reported on several occasions that the Pakistani civilian and military leadership has been facilitating material support to the US drone programme for many years. Wikileak revelations and Musharraf's clandestine agreement with the US is well documented. Hence, Pakistan must close all airbases to US drones and eject all US personal stationed at these bases.
- It is well known that drones require targets to be identified, tracked, assassinated and the death has to be verified. This requires an extensive ground network of personal committed to supporting US drone operations in Pakistan; otherwise the drone strikes are ineffective. Pakistan must cease such support and take all measures to shut down the Raymond Davis network which was painstaking constructed by the US embassy in collusion with the Pakistani military and civilian leadership to serve this purpose. Henceforth, all US embassy staff and American citizens involved in military, diplomatic and NGO work should be immediately expelled from the country.
- If the above measures fail to dissuade Washington from deploying drones inside Pakistan, then the Pakistan Air Force should be mobilised to disable drones via well-established spoofing techniques and shoot and destroy. It was stated that in 2012 and 2013, the Iranian Air Force used force to successfully prevent America's M1 drone from entering Iranian airspace. So if this is true what is preventing the Pakistan's air force which is better equipped and trained than its Iranian counterpart to do the same.
- The Pakistani military should establish permanent task forces dedicated to improving the hacking of US drones violating Pakistani airspace using a variety GPS equipment and software that is easily accessible in the public domain. In 2011, Iran was successful at capturing the latest generation of American drones— the RQ-170 Sentinel UAV with primitive hacking techniques.
This task force should be augmented by encouraging Pakistan's educational establishments and software industry to collaborate and devise innovative ways to not only disrupt US drones, but build a fleet of indigenous drones to counter the threat.
- Pakistan should benefit from China experience to quickly industrialise the building of smart Pakistani drones that protect the country's sovereignty and act as a strong deterrent for its enemies. Both countries have jointly developed the J-17 fighter; hence, it should be possible to build indigenous drones on mass by incorporating drone technology from Chinese and using existing platforms.
To ensure people no longer live in fear in the tribal agencies, and life returns to normal, the government must undertake these initiatives:
- Jamming devices to be made available amongst the tribal population to blind US drones venturing into Pakistani airspace; deploy Surface-to-Air (SAM) missiles and radar tracking equipment to shoot down such drones. This equipment should be protected by a plethora of decoys and armed soldiers.
- Additionally, deep bunkers should be provided for the protection of the tribal population in case the odd drone manages to escape the aforementioned measures.
The drone defence programme can easily be implemented without any excuses.