Pakistan today announced the successful deployment of its home-made 'Burraq' drone in combat, which delivered laser-guided missiles to kill at least three suspected militants in the restive northwest.
The deployment of the missile-firing drone will add a new dimension to the threat to India from its hostile neighbour, which has so long been denouncing numerous strikes by US drones on militants in the past.
Pakistan, which announced the indigenous development of the combat aircraft in March, now joins a handful of countries, including the United States, China and Israel in possessing the technology.
Pakistani military spokesperson Major General Asim Bajwa said the "Burraq" drone attacked a suspected militant hideout in the Shawal Valley on the border with Afghanistan, which has long been their stronghold.
"Hit a terrorist compound in Shawal Valley killing (three) high profile terrorists," Bajwa said in a posting on his Twitter feed. He did not say when the drone strike happened or give any more details.
Militants in the area identified one of the three people killed in the Sunday night strike as Nizam Wazir, a faction leader allied to Pakistani Taliban. Wazir was buried on Monday, they said.
Government forces launched an offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants in semi-autonomous ethnic Pashtun regions along the Afghan border last year.
The Shawal valley, situated in the lawless North Waziristan tribal district that borders Afghanistan, has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting between Pakistani forces and the Taliban since the launch of a massive military operation there last June.
The military expanded the offensive into the Shawal Valley last month, with the use of both ground troops and aircraft.
Since the area is off-limits to journalists, it is impossible to verify the military's claims independently.
Although Pakistan has been battling Islamist groups in its semi-autonomous tribal belt since 2003, it had objected to US-led drone strikes claiming it as a violaton of its sovereignty.
US drones have killed more than 2,400 people in Pakistan since 2004, according to the independent London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which monitors strikes through news reports.
Pakistan, despite its public protests, is suspected to have quietly given the green light to at least some of the attacks, especially those on Pakistani Taliban leaders.