Pakistan Unveils Its First Local Drones

Nov 27, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Spotlight, The Diplomat

The word ‘drone’ has become synonymous with ‘merciless death machine’. Since 2004 the United States of America (USA) have carried out around 370 drone attacks on Pakistani soil. Many have decried the loss of civilian life which has been marked off as collateral damage but some support the attacks citing the neutralization of terrorists as a victory. Estimates vary but civilian casualties could be anywhere between 200 and 900, depending on which source one consults.

Although these drone attacks have led to the death of various high profile terrorists – such as Hakimullah Mehsud in a recent attack – they are not a viable solution to the overall conflict.

Pakistan condemns these drone attacks because of the loss of innocent life.

Since the inception of the drone program, the Pakistani government has requested that the US government share its technology. However, the world’s superpower has been extremely straightforward in denying any such request, stating quite clearly that it does not want to part with its weapon of choice.

The government of Pakistan has therefore been working on launching an indigenous drone program for the last few years. The brilliant minds at National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) have been successful in putting together two drones: Burraq and Shahpur.

The Shahpur drone prototype was revealed on November 15th, 2012 at the IDEAS Expo in Karachi.

A rare step in the right direction, it is a milestone in the history of Pakistan and her people.

Both drones were officially unveiled on Monday, Nov 25, 2013 at a ceremony attended by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Air Staff Tahir Rafique Butt along with other high profile individuals.

The following statement was released by the ISPR following the unveiling: “It is a landmark and a historic event, wherein a very effective force multiplier has been added to the inventory of the armed forces”.

It is indeed a fact that the addition of these surveillance drones will bolster the ranks of the military. The UAVs are said to have an effective range of 75 miles, which makes them suitable for reconnaissance missions.

There have been rumors that the Army has been trying to arm these drones. The effort has been going on for quite some time if certain anonymous sources are to be believed. The goal is to make the UAVs capable of carrying precision guided missiles, which is proving to be quite a challenge at present.

One can see why the government would want to carry out such a project, however. The number of drone attacks has been significantly greater during the Obama administration. USA has relentlessly and consistently infringed upon Pakistan’s sovereignty, uncaring of the numerous civilian casualties that have resulted from its pursuit of “enemies of the state” from the skies.

It has now become a matter of dignity and self-respect.

By producing these drones indigenously, Pakistan has shown the USA and the world that it is not the low-lying, silent country they perceive but rather a force to be reckoned with.

The Author

Born in Karachi, raised in cities all over Pakistan.

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