Islamabad: A vast majority of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) residents surveyed for a report have opposed drone strikes. As many as 69 percent of the respondents opposed the strike against 26 percent who supported them.
The report, titled CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan: History, Perception and Future, was launched by the Centre for Research and Security Studies on Thursday.
Through the report, the centre has recommended that if there is a tacit drone deal between the United States and Pakistan and if the authorities believe drones are effective, they need to formulate an effective and clear discourse on the matter to give clarity to the area residents.
The survey further revealed that 39 percent of the respondents believed that the US was conducting drone strikes to try and destabilise Pakistan, while 21 percent believed strikes were meant solely for killing terrorists. More than half of the respondents believed that civilians suffered more casualties than militants.
Regarding major issues faced by FATA, 34 percent claimed it was terrorism, while only one percent said it was drone strikes. A significant number of respondents mentioned the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), and lack of education and unemployment opportunities as major issues faced by FATA residents.
The research found that the majority (65 percent) used print and electronic media for consumption of information on developments in FATA.
The report authored by Farooq Yousaf also discusses the background of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) drone strike programme in Pakistan. It states that the success of the first strike and the confusion surrounding it had given the US an unmanned option to target alleged terror heads in the region.
This report is based on a descriptive methodology where both primary and secondary sources of data were collected. The secondary data consists of online and literature sources, along with two major online databases of the New America Foundation (NAF) and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ).
The primary data for the report was collected through the survey conducted among FATA residents including those who have been displaced over the years.
Published in Daily Times, December 29th 2017.