Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said over the weekend that the United States should be careful not to "test his government's patience" with persistent drone strikes on the country's territory, according to Pakistani media outlets.
The minister was touring a hospital in an unrelated trip when a local journalist asked about the drones strikes, which are operated by the C.I.A. in one of the least-covert covert operations in the agency's history. Mukhtar said that Pakistan was a responsible nuclear power and couldn't accept the killing of its people in drones strikes.
U.S. drones have killed upwards of 3,000 people in Pakistan's tribal areas, by some estimates, since they began in 2004. The strikes have become far more frequent in recent years, however, under the leadership of U.S. President Barack Obama and Leon Panetta, the former C.I.A. chief and current secretary of defense.
Complete coverage: The Drone Wars
Mukhtar added that the government would unveil a new policy on the drone strikes soon. Although Pakistan has long made a practice out of condemning the unmanned aerial missile strikes in front of the Pakistani public, which has grown increasingly angry by the killing of civilians, privately the government has always allowed them to continue.
So has the government finally had enough? Or is this just more politicking?