Pakistanis target drones with giant posters of child victims

A group of Pakistani artists are hoping to generate "empathy" among US drone operators by placing giant posters of children meant to be seen from the air in the country`s troubled tribal regions.

Islamabad: A group of Pakistani artists are hoping to generate "empathy" among US drone operators by placing giant posters of children meant to be seen from the air in the country`s troubled tribal regions.

The project, titled #NotABugSplat, has released a photograph -- itself taken from the air with the use of a mini-helicopter drone -- of a poster laid out in a field that shows the face of a girl who lost both her parents in one of the controversial strikes in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

"Bug splat" is said to be a term used by drone pilots based in the US to refer to how victims look when seen through video cameras.

"We tried to replicate as much as we could what a camera from above will see looking down," said one of the artists of the collective, who did not wish to be named individually.

"You will see how tiny people are and they look like little bugs, we wanted to highlight the distance between what a human being looks like when they are just a little dot versus a big face.

"One hope is that it will create some empathy and introspection."

Since 2004, no region of the world has been targeted by US drones more than Pakistan`s tribal districts, which border Afghanistan and are home to Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

The strikes are greatly opposed in Pakistan, where they are widely condemned as a violation of sovereignty causing the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of innocent people.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, these strikes have killed at least 2,296 people and 416 civilians. At least 168 of the victims were children, the BIJ said.

But proponents of drones dispute the figures, and point out that the strikes have succeeded in killing high profile targets -- including former Pakistani Taliban leaders Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud.