LONDON – Terming drone attacks as an integral part of American policy, former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has alleged that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and religious parties were involved in fanning public rage against the strikes.
“Most of anti-drone protests staged across the country are provoked by the Pakistani military and religio-political organizations”, said he in a statement issued here.
On the other hand, the ISPR in a rebuttal issued later trashed the ex US envoy’s allegations as ridiculously unwarranted.
He further said the rightist parties were exploiting the issue only to gain political mileage.
Munter also slammed international think-tanks for aggravating the death toll of drone attacks.
“The drone strikes death toll stats, published in various think-tank reports around the world, are highly overrated.”
He said he had tried to persuade US to change its drone attacks policy while he was serving in Pakistan as an ambassador.
“I for one, had not only honestly fought Pakistan’s case in Washington but also urged the US administration to pay due heed to Islamabad’s concerns regarding such attacks but it takes more than an individual to influence a policy change”, said he.
He, however, hoped that the number as well as the frequency of drone attacks would see a significant reduction in the wake of US-led NATO forces pullout from Afghanistan.
Commenting on Pakistan’s plans for increasing its India trade with India, he was all praise for the initiatives taken by the military and civil leadership of the country.
“In India the sentiment is very positive with regard to these conciliatory measures”, said Munter.
He stressed that as apposed to wide-spread propaganda Pakistan was not all a failed sate.
“Pakistanis are the binding force cementing the country’s social structure together and thus it cannot fail”, the ex US envoy said.
He added that comparatively there was more poverty in India than in Pakistan.