A small section of the Pakistani intelligentsia, mainly writing for the English language press, approves of the drone attacks. These are the only voices that the western media generally picks up. Their support is predicated on the drones’ supposed accuracy and popularity. All these claims, without exception, rely on a single source: the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy, a letter head organization of dubious provenance. Its public face, Farhat Taj, is a zany middle-aged graduate student with a reputation for preposterous claims based on unnamed – many suspect invented – interlocutors. But neither the source’s credibility nor common sense has proved a barrier to Pakistan’s liberal hawks invoking its authority to support their calls for greater violence.
This is extremely important. Native voices are aggressively used by empire(s) to validate and justify their methods of violence and oppression. In the case of drone strikes, several Pakistani ‘public policy thinkers’ have expressed support for drones while openly denying that there have been actual civilian deaths. They go on to call opponents of drones “Taliban supporters” (something that I have been accused of while discussing the illegal nature of drone strikes) American media then rehashes those opinions and projects them as accurate which leads to, naturally, a stronger and more relentless drone strike policy.