Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A US Counteroffensive In Pakistan

A US Counteroffensive In Pakistan

A Loose Coalition Of Pro-American Politicians, Writers, Academics To Promote US Goals, Isolate Pak Military

Forget US diplomacy with the Pakistani government.  The Americans are now setting the policy agenda in Pakistan in direct talks with Pakistani political parties.  To ensure privacy, these talks are being held in Washington, away from prying eyes and ears in Pakistan.  Pakistani politicians, writers and some academicians are being recruited to promote US policies and isolate the Pakistani military and intelligence.  This is how a superpower occupies a nuclear-armed nation. 

Face Of An American Bully In Islamabad:
Is it our country or yours, Madam Ambassador?

By Ahmed Quraishi
Sunday, 27 September 2009.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—US political and military officials go on the offensive inside Pakistan, boldly confronting critics and seeking to build a coalition of pro-American supporters across Pakistani politics, media and the academia.  The goal is to create a domestic counter to the entrenched Pakistani policymaking establishment [read 'the military'] that is resisting American efforts to force Pakistan to become a voluntary full-fledged second theater of war after Afghanistan.

Signs of the new American aggressiveness abound from increased willingness of US diplomats in Pakistan to confront their local critics, to sweet-talking Pakistani politicians, media and academicians into openly promoting the US agenda through sponsored visits to Washington and Florida.

This is similar to a Plan B:  using local actors to force change from within.  Plan A, which was focused on coercive diplomacy and threats of sending boots on the ground into Pakistan, failed to yield results over the past months.

In essence, the United States is covertly raising an army of special agents and soldiers on Pakistani soil, with the help of local Pakistani accomplices, but without the full knowledge of the Pakistani military to avoid a confrontation.

This counteroffensive began with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson's attempt to intimidate a Pakistani columnist and a known critic of US policies.  Ms. Patterson did not seek a public debate to counter criticism.  Instead, she resorted to backchannel contacts to have the writer blocked.  In so doing, Ms. Patterson unwittingly broke a new barrier for US influence, creating precedence for how the US embassy deals with the Pakistani media.  This is something that the Ambassador's counterparts could never imagine pulling off in places like Moscow, Ankara, or Cairo.

Buoyed by this, the Ambassador went on the offensive.  This month, she held a press conference, released a long policy statement, and met Prime Minister Gilani to reassure him after reports suggested her government did not trust Islamabad with the expected aid money.  She also appeared on primetime television, carefully choosing a nonaggressive TV talk show as a platform to address Pakistanis glued to their sets in peak evening hours.

The US ambassador [left] kicking off her counteroffensive on Sept. 19, telling her Pakistani host she intervened to stop a columnist from writing against her government and affirmed she will do this again because criticism endangers the lives of US citizens in Pakistan.

The television appearance coincided with an interview she gave to a US news service accusing Pakistan of refusing to join the US in eliminating one of the Afghan local parties – the Afghan Taliban – whom her own government and military failed to wipe out in Afghanistan in eight years of war.  The statement played on the usual American accusations, backed by no evidence, that seek to explain the growing disenchantment of the Afghan people with the failed American occupation of their country by linking it to alleged Pakistani sanctuaries and covert support.

But hours before her television appearance, on Sept. 19, Pakistani police raided the Islamabad offices of Inter-Risk, a Pakistani security firm representing American defense contractor DynCorp, where a huge quantity of illegal sophisticated weapons was confiscated.  According to one news report, the Pakistani owner of the firm, retired Captain Ali Jaffar Zaidi, escaped from his house hours before the police arrived.  A Pakistani journalist, Umar Cheema, who works for The News, confirmed in a published statement that Mr. Zaidi told him a day before the raid that "the US embassy in Islamabad had ordered the import of around 140 AK-47 Rifles and other prohibited weapons in the name of Inter-Risk" and that "the payment for the weapons would be made by the embassy."

[The News reports today that the government has "disbanded" Inter-Risk, voiding its contract with both the US embassy and with DynCorp.  The company director Capt. Zaidi remains at large.]

In other words, Pakistani security authorities have found American and Pakistani citizens working for the US embassy involved in suspicious activities.

What Really Happened?

US ambassador Anne Patterson used her goodwill to seek the personal intervention of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik to obtain licenses for prohibited weapons.

Sixty-one pieces of sophisticated weapons were seized by the police at the Inter-Risk/DynCorp facility.

The question is: Why did the Pakistani police confiscate the weapons if they were duly licensed by the government?

The only logical answer is that the licensing procedure, which includes clearance from the country's intelligence and security departments, was not followed.  

Apparently, Washington's staunch allies inside Pakistan's elected government helped their friends with advanced weapons into the country without the knowledge of important national security departments of the government.

This raises serious questions because of several reports recently that implicate Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to Washington, in issuing a large number of visas to US citizens without proper clearance from Islamabad.  Since US tourists are not exactly flocking to Pakistan, Amb. Haqqani is suspected of having facilitated private US security agents to enter Pakistan.  A spate of recent reports have exposed the presence of private American security firms on Pakistani soil.

When the country's security departments finally paid attention to Ambassador Haqqani's indiscretions, the ambassador, who is a former journalist, is suspected of leaking a protest letter he wrote to his country's intelligence chief, apparently attempting to clear his name before his American friends.  Of all places, the letter, which is a classified government communication, surfaced in New Delhi, on the screen of an Indian television news channel.

Ambassador Haqqani's letter secret that blasts the ISI surfaces in New Delhi. Pakistanis joke that Mr. Haqqani is 'the US ambassador to the United States, stationed at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC.'


On Sept. 30, Mr. Ansar Abbasi of The News published the full content of a letter written by Ambassador Patterson to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, dated March 30, seeking his "intervention" to grant Inter-Risk and DynCorp "the requisite prohibited bore arms licenses to operate in the territorial limits of Pakistan and as soon as possible."

The letter creates a new dent in the US embassy's counteroffensive that seeks to downplay the presence of private US security firms in the country.  A Web news portal, PakNationalists/ released fresh evidence this month showing the infamous US security firm formerly known as Blackwater recruiting military-trained agents fluent in Urdu and Punjabi.

A screen shot from the secure server of that shows the American defense contracter hiring Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking agents to serve in Pakistan, where the pro-US government and the US ambassador are vehemently denying the presence of American mercenaries on Pakistani soil.

To quell the controversy, Ambassador Patterson went on record confirming that five million US dollars will be spent by her government to build new living quarters for US Marines within the embassy compound in Islamabad. But the number of marines utilizing this facility will not exceed 20, she assured Pakistanis recently. 

The Sept. 19 raid, however, proves there will be a far larger number of armed Americans on Pakistani soil eventually than the figure given by Ambassador Patterson.


The strong denials of US officials on the presence of private US security firms in Pakistan do no tally with the circumstantial evidence.  At least three verified incidents have been reported in Islamabad alone over the past few weeks that involve armed US individuals in civilian dresses.  In two incidents, Pakistani police officers arrested and then released armed civilian Americans after intervention from the US embassy.  In one incident, a Pakistani citizen reported being assaulted by armed Americans in civilian clothes.  Police officers refused to register a complaint against the Americans for fear of being reprimanded in case of intervention by the US embassy.


Private US security agents sneaking into Pakistan is one level of the current US engagement with Pakistan.  Another level is political and seeks to isolate the Pakistani policymaking establishment, and especially the Pakistani military and the country's powerful intelligence agencies, from within, after months of incessant one-sided US media campaign demonizing the country's military and intelligence services.

On the political front, Washington's Pakistan handlers have launched a new bout of US meddling in domestic Pakistani politics.  The US government has put into high gear its contacts with Pakistani political parties.  Washington is now conducting direct diplomacy with these parties.

A high level delegation of MQM, which controls the port city of Karachi, the starting point of US and NATO supplies headed for Afghanistan, is in Washington meeting US political and military officials. 

A similar exercise is planned with the ANP, the small ex-Soviet communist ally currently governing the NWFP, the Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan.

Both parties came to power thanks to former President Musharraf's secret 'deal' brokered by Vice President Dick Cheney and his State Department officials in 2007.  The deal sought to create a pro-American ruling coalition in the country that would ensure that the Pakistani military is aligned with the US strategic goals in the region.

The Americans are trying to accentuate what they see as pro-Indian, pro-American strains within the two parties. 

Washington began this program quietly in 2007 after getting a green signal from President Musharraf to increase US involvement in Pakistani politics.  There are reports that nazims of several districts in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP were invited to Washington to meet US government and military officials over the past thirty months.  But these were very low key visits.  In fact, they were so secretive that ANP chief Asfandyar Wali refused in early 2008 to confirm or deny a visit he made to Washington after the Feb. 2008 elections in Pakistan.  In contrast, no effort was made this time to downplay the current visits by MQM and ANP delegations to Washington and their meetings with US and NATO officials.  And as in all of these covert visits, the federal Pakistani government, the Foreign Office and the country's security departments are not privy to what is being discussed between US officials and the leaders of the two Pakistani political parties on US soil.  In fact, US officials arranged the meetings on US soil precisely in order to circumvent the Pakistani government.

While there is no immediate evidence that Pakistan should be alarmed by Washington's direct diplomacy with Pakistani political parties outside Pakistan's territory, Islamabad needs to be wary of strong strains within Washington's policy establishment that have been focusing on exploiting Pakistan's ethnic and linguistic fissures in order to support its so-called 'Af-Pak' agenda. 

A lot of work has been done over the past three years in several Washington think tanks on Pakistan's linguistic and ethnic fissures and how these can be exploited by Washington to weaken Islamabad and force it to follow the US agenda in Afghanistan and the region.

During Pakistan's worst domestic instability in 2007, mainstream US media outlets were leaking policy and intelligence reports focusing on alleged separatism in several Pakistani regions.  This week, some of the most ardent American supporters of separatism inside Pakistan – the usual suspects from the US think-tank circuit – came together in Washington to launch a political action committee that seeks independent status for a Pakistani province, Sindh.  The ceremony for the launch of the 'Sindhi American Political Action Committee' was addressed by Selig Harrison and Marvin Weinbaum, two think-tank types with extensive links to the US intelligence community and both advocates of engagement with Pakistani separatists as a leverage against Islamabad.

The new American confidence in openly meddling in Pakistani politics should raise alarm bells in the Pakistani capital.  This is the strongest sign yet of how weak the federal Pakistani government, and in turn Pakistan itself, appears to outsiders.

The weakness of Pakistan's ruling elite is inviting American hounding at a time when the American bully is on the retreat elsewhere.

A condensed version of this report was published by The Nation of Lahore on Saturday.

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Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium
without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

From A Chinese Girl To All Pakistanis

Bikini vs. Burka

Burka is a tradition in some Muslim and Arab societies. It is not a requirement of the Islamic religion, which advocates Hijab for women, a scarf that covers the head [not the face].  With this in mind, this is an interesting perspective from Dr. Henry Makow.

By Henry Makow Ph.D.

On my wall, I have a picture of a Muslim woman shrouded in a burka.

Beside it is a picture of an American beauty contestant, wearing nothing but a bikini.

One woman is totally hidden from the public; the other is totally exposed. These two extremes say a great deal about the clash of so-called “civilizations.”

The role of woman is at the heart of any culture. Apart from stealing Arab oil, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about stripping Muslims of their religion and culture, exchanging the burka for a bikini.

I am not an expert on the condition of Muslim women and I love feminine beauty too much to advocate the burka here. But I am defending some of the values that the burka represents for me.

For me, the burka represents a woman’s consecration to her husband and family. Only they see her.It affirms the privacy, exclusivity and importance of the domestic sphere.

The Muslim woman’s focus is her home, the “nest” where her children are born and reared. She is the “home” maker, the taproot that sustains the spiritual life of the family, nurturing and training her children, providing refuge and support to her husband.

In contrast, the bikinied American beauty queen struts practically naked in front of millions on TV. A feminist, she belongs to herself. In practice, paradoxically, she is public property. She belongs to no one and everyone. She shops her body to the highest bidder. She is auctioning herself all of the time.

In America, the cultural measure of a woman’s value is her sex appeal. (As this asset depreciates quickly, she is neurotically obsessed with appearance and plagued by weight problems.)

As an adolescent, her role model is Britney Spears, a singer whose act approximates a strip tease. From Britney, she learns that she will be loved only if she gives sex. Thus, she learns to “hook up” furtively rather than to demand patient courtship, love and marriage. As a result, dozens of males know her before her husband does. She loses her innocence, which is a part of her charm. She becomes hardened and calculating. Unable to love, she is unfit to receive her husband’s seed.

The feminine personality is founded on the emotional relationship between mother and baby. It is based on nurturing and self-sacrifice. Masculine nature is founded on the relationship between hunter and prey. It is based on aggression and reason.

Feminism deceives women to believe femininity has resulted in “oppression” and they should adopt male behavior instead. The result: a confused and aggressive woman with a large chip on her shoulder, unfit to become a wife or mother.

This is the goal of the NWO social engineers: undermine sexual identity and destroy the family, create social and personal dysfunction, and reduce population. In the “brave new world,” women are not supposed to be mothers and progenitors of the race. They are meant to be neutered, autonomous sex objects.

Liberating women is often given as an excuse for the war in Afghanistan. Liberating them to what? To Britney Spears? To low-rise “see-my-thong” pants? To the mutual masturbation that passes for sexuality in America? If they really cared about women, maybe they’d end the war.

Parenthood is the pinnacle of human development. It is the stage when we finally graduate from self-indulgence and become God’s surrogates: creating and nurturing new life. The New World Order does not want us to reach this level of maturity. Pornography is the substitute for marriage. We are to remain single: stunted, sex-starved and self-obsessed.

We are not meant to have a permanent “private” life. We are meant to remain lonely and isolated, in a state of perpetual courtship, dependent on consumer products for our identity.

This is especially destructive for woman. Her sexual attraction is a function of her fertility. As fertility declines, so does her sex appeal. If a woman devotes her prime years to becoming “independent,” she is not likely to find a permanent mate.

Her long-term personal fulfillment and happiness lies in making marriage and family her first priority.

Feminism is another cruel New World Order hoax that has debauched American women and despoiled Western civilization. It has ruined millions of lives and represents a lethal threat to Islam.

I am not advocating the burka but rather some of the values that it represents, specifically a woman’s consecration to her future husband and family, and the modesty and dignity this entails.

The burka and the bikini represent two extremes. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

from →  Couretsy PalAlert Press

Monday, September 21, 2009

India Has A Mole Inside Pakistan Embassy In Washington?

How can a classified letter from Washington to Islamabad end up in New Delhi? This is another byproduct of US meddling in Pakistani politics. An ambassador appointed with the highest American recommendation tries to take a cheap shot at the ISI and redeem himself in the eyes of the Washington establishment that brought him to power.

Pakistan's ambassador to Washington Mr. Hussain Haqqani made a classified communication on July 28 with Pakistan's Foreign Secretary and the ISI chief.

Six weeks later, on Sept. 12, as Pakistani President Asif Zardari prepared to leave for the United States for meetings with US officials, an Indian news affiliate with CNN broke the story that Ambassador Haqqani has complained about a secret blacklist of US journalists and NGO-types and strongly protested denying them visas to enter Pakistan. Mr. Haqqani warned his government in the letter that this could hurt military hardware transfers and US aid pledges.

The stunning part of the story is that a classified internal communication to the Pakistani government found its way to CNN-IBN, an Indian television news network in New Delhi.

The leak is timed for maximum damage to Pakistan's interests.

A Pakistani source that has worked closely with the US government, and does not want to be named, described this 'leak' in this way: "I feel so bad to read the CNN-IBN claim that, and I quote—'Dated July 28, 2009, the letter [is] in CNN-IBN's possession'. What are we, a banana republic?"

That is not all. The unnamed analyst adds: "Also keep in mind that this (most likely a) "classified" letter (which also "bears the seal of the Pakistan Ambassador") was written by our Ambassador to the Foreign Secretary (classified), Interior Secretary (classified) and DG, ISI (double classified!)."

So, the big question is: Who leaked the letter and its detailed contents?

All fingers point to Ambassador Husain Haqqani, a smooth political operator who used his Washington contacts to position himself as late Benazir Bhutto's mediator with the Bush-Cheney administration.

The leaked letter puts Mr. Haqqani in a positive light before his friends inside the Washington establishment and refocuses the American policy debate on Pakistan's military and intelligence, both until recently a regular target for the mainstream US media and think tanks. Mr. Haqqani worked for both before he was appointed ambassador last year by the ruling party.

President Zardari should be seething with anger because the leak could damage his most prized foreign policy goal: the US aid pledge of US $ 7.5 billion, which is yet to pass Congress. Efforts to scuttle it were informally launched on Aug. 30 when the New York Times ran a report quoting unnamed US sources accusing Pakistan of modifying old-tech Harpoon missiles, and implicitly warned this could delay the aid package.

There is little likelihood the letter leaked from the office of the Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, or DG ISI Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha. The content of the letter is critical of both the government the spy agency. The stunning accuracy of the quotes from the letter, made public by CNN-IBN, strengthens suspicions this could not have leaked without Ambasador Haqqani knowing something about it.

CNN-IBN's letter attributed precise quotes to Mr. Haqqani. Example: "In the case of Kate Brooks, we were informed that her visa should be revoked because she was on the Black List. The embassy has not seen this list. I would request a copy of the same.”

"Yes, the 'diplomatic circles', either in DC or Islamabad, can give you a strong hint [about the content]," said the analyst who worked with the US government, "or a highly reliable clue about a story, but not exact quotes from an internal, classified and official communication between two sensitive organizations of the country."

Mr. Haqqani & The US Media

In his 'classified' letter that is no longer classified, Ambassador Haqqani fails to recognize the prerogative of any government, including the government of Pakistan, to decide whom to grant entry permits.

The US government follows a similar policy. The US embassy in Islamabad routinely denies visas to Pakistanis, including journalists and political activists. In September 2008, US revoked the visa of a Pakistani human rights defender Amina Janjua because she is critical of US policies. This drew criticism from Amnesty International. Early 2009, the US embassy refused to grant entry to a single Pakistani mother whose son is in detention in the US for the past three years on terrorism charges without evidence and without conviction. Pakistani visitors, including senior government officials, are put through excessive checking procedures on arrival in the US, in what could easily be described as harassment. But this is a US government prerogative. No US ambassador to Islamabad has written back to the US government warning of dire consequences for following such a policy, as Amb. Haqqani has done in his case.

Exercising discretion in granting entry visas to US journalists falls within the prerogative of the government of Pakistan. The ISI, whom Mr. Haqqani tried to vilify to please a certain lobby in Washington, D.C., follows this policy as part of its prescribed duty according to the law to protect Pakistan's national interest.

More importantly, Pakistan's ambassador in Washington must keep the following points in mind, which are legitimate reasons for Pakistan to pick and choose when granting visas to any US journalist:

1. Did not the mainstream US media and think tanks run a campaign over the past two years to demonize Pakistan worldwide, create a false alarm about the country, its integrity and its nuclear assets, leading many Pakistanis to question why the media of our ally was spearheading this worldwide anti-Pakistanism?

2. Was not much of this campaign an exclusive exercise by some parts of the US media? No other country's media engaged in such vilification of Pakistan at such a scale. Considering how such organized demonization preceded the US invasion of Iraq, it is not difficult to conclude that this anti-Pakistan vilification campaign was not entirely innocent.

3. Is he not aware of several instances where some US 'researchers' and 'journalists' violated the terms of their entry visas and ventured into sensitive parts of Pakistan in complete violation of visa guidelines and violation of their own given reasons for visiting Pakistan? In one case, a US citizen who introduced himself as a researcher ended up entering a sensitive part of the country, spent time there, and then published what amounts to a news report in a news publication, in essence misleading Pakistani authorities about his real identity and intentions.

Despite the unprecedented access given to the US media by all levels of the Pakistani government, parts of the US media continue a determined campaign of vilification against Pakistan, publishing unsubstantiated, derogatory, and often politically-motivated propaganda pieces that undermine Pakistan's regional and international interest and sow confusion within the country.

As the custodian of Pakistan's interests in Washington, why does Ambassador Haqqani insist that Islamabad should not have the right to choose who should enjoy the hospitality of the Pakistani people, especially when the number of visas denied to US applicants is insignificant compared to the number granted?

And should Ambassador Haqqani not defend this legitimate Pakistani position instead of putting his own government under pressure on behalf of Washington's interest where it is undue?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Secular Or Islamist Jinnah?

In countries like the United States, Israel, and Britain, modern states were established by fallible men who created nations that fulfilled religious and historical destinies.

The same thing happened in Pakistan when its independence movement was spearheaded by a westernized man who spoke English but nonetheless believed in his nation's manifest destiny.  All his sayings, writings and actions indicate he was not confused about who he was and where he came from.

Unfortunately, a minority of inferiority-complexed Pakistanis refuse to let die a silly debate over whether Pakistan's founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was a secular or an Islamist, and whether he wanted a Muslim Pakistan or a secular Pakistan.

Who cares. He was a Muslim. He said it. His nation is predominantly Muslim and it exists because of this fact.  Otherwise there would not be a Pakistan today, the manifest expression of a history, culture, language and arts that took shape over at least ten centuries, in terms of immediate influence, and more if one is to go deeper in history.

And as in everywhere else, Pakistan too had and continues to have its share of enemies and detractors.  But they wouldn't have found a fertile ground if the Pakistani intelligentsia had put its act together and got down to the business of building a nation.

This is why it is heartening to see the fourth and the fifth generation of Pakistanis take charge and settle these nonissues once and for all.  This book is one example of this.

Click here to read more.

The has described this book like this:

One of the most famous books in Pakistan, the late Chief Justice Muhammad Munir's From Jinnah to Zia (1979) has finally received the ultimate rebuttal from a British-born Asian - using only one piece of evidence. Saleena Karim tells the story of how a point of curiosity - based on little more than an issue of grammar - led her to the startling discovery that a quote used by Munir and attributed to Jinnah is in fact a fake. Furthermore this quote has also been used by a number of Pakistani professional writers and scholars, none of whom have thought to check the original transcript of the interview Munir supposedly quoted from.

Over twenty-five years after the release of From Jinnah to Zia, the author shows us how much damage the 'Munir quote' has done - not only in terms of twisting the facts of history, but now in exposing the intellectual dishonesty of Pakistani scholarship. Saleena Karim names those who have quoted Munir, as well as discussing the other myths about the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and sets the record straight.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ALERT: Blackwater Recruiting Agents Fluent In Urdu & Punjabi For Pakistan

Report Suggests Pakistani Envoy In Washington Has Issued 360 Visas To Americans In One Month Without Consulting Islamabad

Blackwater USA is looking for mercenaries fluent in Urdu, Pakistan's national language, and Punjabi, the language spoken by natives of Pakistan's largest populated province. The US military already deploys officers and commando units manned by people fluent in Pashto, spoken in most of western Pakistan and southern Afghanistan. Keeping in view the denials of the US embassy in Islamabad and the expanding American presence on Pakistani soil, these recruitments are obviously not meant for running call centers. Since Washington has unilaterally decided that Pakistan is now a 'war theater' after Iraq and Afghanistan, it is only natural that American terrorism will also be unleashed in Pakistan. Blackwater is in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Blackwater USA has concealed its Web presence. If you type, you will be redirected to the website of an organization called U.S. Training Center , which offers military and personal security courses. The website does not overtly say or indicate it is linked to Blackwater, but on Sept. 12 a media release was posted on the homepage defending Blackwater against accusations the private 'army' overbilled the US government for work in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

The bigger news, however, is that 'Blackwater USA' is hiring in Pakistan. While does not exist on the Web any longer, I 3an employment form on a secured page of the private security firm's website that clearly indicates the private mercenary army is hiring Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking agents. This would complement the existing Pashto-speaking agents that both Blackwater private mercenary army and its employer, the US military, have on the ground in Afghanistan and – as reports increasingly indicate – in Pakistan.

Snapshots of the screen from the page titled show that the page is part of the Blackwater Employee and Applicant Resource System (BEARS).

The snapshots shown here indicate that hiring continues as we speak for agents and for people with military training who can speak Urdu, Pakistan's national language, and Punjabi, spoken by the natives of Pakistan's largest populated province.

Obviously, agents with proficiency in the two languages will be operating in and around Pakistan since there is little utility for such agents anywhere else in the world.

This is the latest in a pile of circumstantial evidence that supports the growing concerns within the Pakistani public opinion that private US security firms are setting up shop in Pakistan, bringing to the country the same mayhem that has engulfed Iraq and Afghanistan, possibly with the permission of influential people in the Pakistani government.

A petition has been submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan today requesting that the government of Pakistan be ordered to explain why the US embassy in Islamabad is building a fortified embassy the size of an international airport, spread over 52 to 54 acres. The petitioner, who is a private Pakistani citizen, has accused the United States of constructing a military base in the heart of the Pakistani capital in the guise of an embassy.

On Aug. 5, PakNationalists/ broke the news of how a Washington-incorporated private company that calls itself an NGO and executes contractual humanitarian work for the US government in conflict zones is suspected of acting as cover for Blackwater in Peshawar.

On Jul. 27, the Deutsche Presse-Agentur [DPA] reported that residents of an upscale suburb in Peshawar have formally complained to the Pakistani government that armed private Americans were spreading fear in the area.

We also received a statement issued by Mr. Richard Snelsire, the spokesman for the US embassy in Islamabad, denying these reports:

Since 2002, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed more than $3.4 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to the people of Pakistan in relief, health, education, and economic development programs.
Creative Associates is one of many organizations USAID engages to deliver this assistance, which also includes the Government of Pakistan, local non-governmental, and international humanitarian institutions. This organization has no link to any international security firm, nor is it affiliated in any way with an intelligence service.
Recent allegations against USAID partners such as Creative Associates are false, and place individuals delivering humanitarian and development assistance to the people of Pakistan at risk.
Richard Snelsire
Despite these denials, the Pakistani government and the US embassy are unable to explain several incidents in Peshawar and Islamabad over the past few weeks that involved privately armed American citizens, especially accounts by private citizens confirming they have seen and interacted with these foreign agents in public places. In at least three incidents, these privately armed Americans were released by police authorities under pressure from the government despite involvement in altercations with local Pakistanis. In one case, an armed US citizen physically assaulted a Pakistani police officer and uttered obscenities against the host country.

The alarming part of this story is that the embassy of Pakistan in Washington is reported to have issued several hundred entry permits and visas to individuals without seeking clearance from the country's security departments. In one recent report, it is reported that the Pakistani ambassador issued 360 visas to US citizens in one month, sometime this year, from the ambassador's discretionary quota of visas and again without clearance from Pakistani security departments.

Who are these Americans who are arriving in Pakistan in the tens and hundreds at a time when the US embassy in Islamabad follows a strange practice where a staffer personally calls any US citizen in the United States in order to warn them about coming to Pakistan for personal reasons or pleasure, apparently because of the security situation?

Monday, September 14, 2009

US Embassy Sex Scandal In Afghanistan, Coming To Pakistan Soon


Sorry to post this here, but it is the juicy truth.

These are two of many pictures that landed in the newsrooms of several American newspapers that, to their credit, published most of them. 

It is a scandal that broke out this summer involving private security guards working for the US embassy in Kabul.

I covered this story earlier in this post This Is What American Militias Will Bring To Pakistan .

We are already witnessing the first signs that Washington is bringing these private American mercenaries to Pakistan.  They have been seen in public here, have assaulted three Pakistani citizens in at least three different cases known to the Pakistani authorities, and are suspected of being busy establishing offices and fortified bases in Pakistan.  The US embassy has denied it.  But since Washington has unilaterally decided that Pakistan is the next 'war theater' after Iraq and Afghanistan, it only makes sense that these American terrorists-for-hire will make the move from those two failed American wars to the new one here.  American apologists inside the Pakistani government appear to be facilitating this.  The Pakistani ambassador in Washington, who is a known US apologist, is reported to have issued numerous visas to US individuals in large numbers without clearance from Pakistan's security departments.  

But looking at the Abu Ghraib mess and the overall mess in Iraq, the disaster in Afghanistan, and now these pictures, we in Pakistan shouldn't be surprised at what awaits us.

Someone in Islamabad should tell the Americans that they look good but only from a distance.  American soldiers and officials look good on the American mainland, not in our region and close to our homes.

See rest of the pictures here [click].

My friend Zaki Khalid, from BrassTacks, a Pakistani security analysis service, gave a very interesting reply to the question, Who are these mercenaries?

He answers:

"They are mostly malleable white thugs, ex-cops, and adventure seekers. These are not the Navy Seals and Army Green Berets that everyone tells you these contractors are. The companies Zapata, Blackwater, Aegis, CACI, etc. are run by Zionists. If you think about it, just who would you hire? Do you want a black gangster from Chicago, or Mexican gangsters from Houston, or whites from Pelican Bay? You couldn't control them, and they would probably shoot you. The lower echelons are mainly ex-cops, academy drop-outs, and lower ranking, hand-picked military. The upper echelon are Israelis or white Zionists. They want guys that sit behind a M-60 or similar machine gun, in a humvee, that will spray civilian crowds of Afghanis, Iraqis, Iranians, possibly Pakistanis and eventually Americans. "

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Latest Indian Drama: Rocket Attack At Wagah

India tries to milk its interior minister's US visit by faking a Pakistani rocket attack across the border. In 2000, when President Clinton was about to land in New Delhi, the Indians sent fake Kashmiri freedom fighters to kill innocent minority Sikhs in Kashmir in cold blood and blamed Pakistan. Like synchronized film dances, the Indians have perfected the art of political drama.

By Dan Qayyum

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—In an attempt to make the most of Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram’s visit to the US, India has floated a sensational news leak that India was attacked by Pakistani rangers using ’several rockets’ at the only border crossing between the two countries, called the Wagah sector.

Staging false flag attacks is nothing new for Indians when trying to paint Pakistanis as terrorists. These accusations are always timed with high-profile talks with American leaders.

Let's rewind to year 2000: Chattisinghpora, Occuped Kashmir – On the eve of the then US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India, 35 Kashmiri Sikhs were massacred in cold blood by Indian security forces posing as Kashmiri freedom fighters. The usual ‘Lashkar-e-Tayba militants’ were rounded up and executed in fake-encounters, the ‘Pakistani National’ was produced, ensuring Clinton’s entire visit focused on what India calls ‘Pakistan-backed terrorism’. It was only much later when the damage was done that the truth of the massacre came out, implicating Indian soldiers and intelligence agencies in this heinous crime.

The Indian security forces went a step ahead in their brutality back then. Indian police opened fire on unarmed Kashmiris protesting the murders of five innocent Muslims right after the staged Sikh massacre, killing another eight innocent people and bringing the total toll of this massacre closer to fifty.

Pakistan calling India’s bluff?

Pakistan has officially offered to hold an open debate with the Indian home minister over the probing of Mumbai attacks, calling the Indian bluff.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said, “I am ready for the debate anywhere in India, Pakistan or wherever his Indian counterpart likes.”

Talking to journalists in Islamabad, Malik started off by pointing out that the first formal response to Pakistan’s February 9 request for information came on June 20th and that too was in Marathi language. Besides citing other Indian lapses, he pointed out that India refused to share the Samjotha Express dossier [Hindu terrorists with connivance of Indian military intelligence personnel torched a friendship train carrying Pakistani visitors to India in 2006].

Malik said he had received the latest Indian dossier in which the Indians have provided us with a statement from Ajmal Kasab, who claims now that he spoke to Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Pakistani Kashmiri group, when he was in Mumbai.

‘Initially the Indians said Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was the mastermind and we arrested him … now they have started saying that Hafiz Saeed is the mastermind,’ Malik said.

Pakistan to take up Kashmir and Afghanistan before the UN

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to take up the issue of Kashmir and Afghanistan effectively at a session of the United Nations General Assembly this year.

Pakistan will inform the international community about its reservations on the Indian tactics and policies meant to delay and avoid the resolution of Kashmir issue. Pakistan will also take up the faltering war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

The decision to this effect was taken during two separate meetings held at the foreign office, a private TV channel reported. Relevant authorities briefed the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi about Kashmir and Afghanistan.

During the meeting, Pakistani policymakers decided that Pakistan would ask the United Nations to ensure a resolution of the long-lingering issue of Kashmir on a priority basis for durable peace in the region.

The international community would also be informed about the human rights violations committed by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir, sources said.

Besides officers of relevant authorities, officers of intelligence agencies including Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha attended the meeting.

Pakistan will also take up the issue of Afghanistan during the session and would inform the largest world body about problems being faced by Pakistan because of the wrong policies of the allies occupation forces in Afghanistan, a Pakistan television channel reported.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Indian Army To Deploy Prostitutes As A Women Battalion In Held Kashmir

A group of experts assigned to probe rising suicides among Indian soldiers in Kashmir have recommended sending the soldiers back to India at least once a month to be with their wives. Since this is not possible, India's military leadership has taken a leaf from the book of the old Soviet army: A woman battalion at the war front. A committee headed by a Lieutenant General of the Indian army is putting the last touches on the new battalion.
Click here to read the full report.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Anti-Americanism Rises In Pakistan Over U.S. Motives

By Saeed Shah

McClatchy Newspapers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — For weeks now, the Pakistani media have portrayed America, its military and defense contractors in the darkest of lights, all part of an apparent campaign of anti-American vilification that is sweeping the country and, according to some, is putting American lives at risk.

Pakistanis are reacting to what many here see as an "imperial" American presence, echoing Iraq and Afghanistan, with Washington dictating to the Pakistani military and the government. Polls show that Pakistanis regard the U.S., formally a close ally and the country's biggest donor, as a hostile power.

U.S. officials have either denied the allegations or moved to blunt the criticism, but suspicions remain and relations between the two countries are getting more strained.

The lively Pakistani media has been filled with stories of under-cover American agents operating in the country, tales of a huge contingent of U.S. Marines planned to be stationed at the embassy, and reports of Blackwater private security personnel running amuck. Armed Americans have supposedly harassed and terrified residents and police officers in Islamabad and Peshawar, according to local press reports.

Much of the hysteria was based on a near $1 billion plan, revealed by McClatchy in May and confirmed by U.S. officials, to massively increase the size of the American embassy in Islamabad, which brought home to Pakistanis that the United States plans an extensive and long-term presence in the country.

The American mission in Islamabad was forced to put on three briefings for Pakistani journalists in August trying to dampen the highly charged stories, which could undermine US-Pakistani relations just as Washington is preparing to finalize a tripling of civilian aid to Islamabad, to $1.5 billion a year. Over this last weekend, an embassy spokesman had to deny suddenly renewed stories that the U.S. was behind the mysterious death of former military dictator General Zia ul Haq back in 1988.

Pakistan is a key priority for the United States because of its nuclear weapons and its potential usefulness in taking on al Qaida within its borders and ending the safe haven for the Afghan Taliban.

"I think this recent brouhaha over the embassy expansion has been difficult to beat back," said Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador, in an interview Thursday. "I can't really understand what's behind this because what we're doing is actually quite straightforward. We've tried to explain it carefully to the press, but it just seems to be taken over by conspiracy theories."

Briefing Pakistani journalists last month, Patterson told them that there were only nine Marines stationed to guard the embassy in Islamabad and that, even after the expansion, their number would be no more than 15 to 20. Press reports had put the figure at 350 to 1,000 Marines. She also stated categorically "Blackwater is not operating in Pakistan". But the stories refused to go away.

Patterson said she wrote last week to the owner of Pakistan's biggest media group, Jang, to protest about the content of two talk shows on its Geo TV channel, hosted by star anchors Hamid Mir and Kamran Khan, and a newspaper column of influential analyst Shireen Mazari in The News, a daily, complaining that they were "wildly incorrect" and had compromised the security of Americans.

There are 250 American citizens posted at the Islamabad mission on longer-term contracts, plus another 200 on shorter assignments, the embassy said. The present embassy compound can accommodate only a fraction of them. According to independent estimates, there are some 200 private houses for U.S. officials, on regular streets located throughout upscale districts of Islamabad.

Pakistani press and bloggers also targeted Craig Davis, an American aid worker, insisting that he's an undercover secret agent. Davis, a contractor to the USAID development arm of the government, is based in the volatile northwestern city of Peshawar, and now appears to be at risk. Last year, another American USAID contractor in Peshawar, Stephen Vance, was gunned down just outside his home.

"In one or two cases these commentators have identified very specific embassy employees as CIA or Blackwater, and that very much puts the employee at danger. In at least one case we're going to have to evacuate the employee," said Patterson, without identifying the individual involved. "What particularly scared us about him is that Stephen Vance, who was the other AID Chief of Party in Peshawar, was of course assassinated a few months ago. So there is a track record here that's sort of alarming."

In recent days, shows on two popular private television channels, Geo and Dunya, which broadcast in the local Urdu language, put up pictures of homes in Islamabad which they claimed were occupied by CIA, FBI, or employees of the controversial Blackwater company of private security contractors, now called Xe Services. Some of the houses were identified with their full address. It is believed that several of the homes weren't occupied by Americans but others were. According to the U.S embassy, bloggers are now calling on people to "kill" the occupants of these houses.

A survey last month for international broadcaster al Jazeera by Gallup Pakistan found that 59 percent of Pakistanis felt the greatest threat to the country was the United States. A separate survey in August by the Pew Research Center, an independent pollster based in Washington, recorded that 64 percent of the Pakistani public regards the U.S. "as an enemy" and only 9 percent believe it to be a partner.

"The Ugly American of the sixties is back in Pakistan and this time with a vengeance," said Mazari, the defense analyst whose newspaper column was the subject of the American complaint. "It's an alliance (U.S.-Pakistan) that's been forced on the country by its corrupt leadership. It's delivering chaos. We should distance ourselves. You can't just hand over the country."

While the anti-US sentiment appears genuine, it is uncertain whether the current storm, and the particular stories that it thrived on, was orchestrated by a pressure group or even an arm of the state. In the past, Pakistan's notorious Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, part of the military, has very effectively used the press to push its agenda.

The U.S. provided over $11billion in aid to Pakistan since 2001. Yet in recent days, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has complained that too much of the promised new enhanced U.S. aid package would be eaten up in American administrative costs, while President Asif Zardari demanded that multi-billion dollar civilian and military aid money, currently stuck in Congress, be speeded up.

The Pakistani government has repeatedly stated that joining the U.S. "war on terror" has cost the nation an estimated $34 billion and ministers frequently lambast the U.S. for trespassing on Pakistani territory with use of spy planes to target suspected militants — an emotive tacit for the Pakistani population.

Ambassador Patterson said that "the (Pakistani) government could be more helpful" in combating the anti-American controversies, which took on a new fever pitch since the beginning of August.

The weak Islamabad government appears unable to come to the defense of its ally and even tried to score some popularity points by joining the U.S.-baiting.

A widely believed conspiracy contends that America is deliberately destabilizing Pakistan, to bring down a "strong Muslim country", and ultimately seize its nuclear weapons. Pakistanis, especially its military establishment, also are distrustful of U.S. motives in Afghanistan, seeing it as part of a strategy for regional domination. Further Pakistanis are appalled that the regime of Hamid Karzai in Kabul is close to archenemy India.

"Part of the reason why we can't fight terrorism is because the terrorists have adopted what I'd call anti-U.S. imperialist discourse, which makes them more popular," said Ayesha Siddiqa, an analyst and author of Military Inc.

Many also blame the U.S. for "imposing" a president on the country, Zardari, who is deeply disliked and who last year succeeded an unpopular U.S.-backed military dictator. So democrats resent American interference in Pakistani politics, while conservatives distrust American aims in Afghanistan.

"You used to find this anti-Americanism among supporters of religious groups and Right-wing groups," said Ahmed Quraishi, a newspaper columnist and the leading anti-American blogger. "But over the past two to three years, young, educated Pakistanis, people you'd normally expect to be pro-American modernists, and middle class people, are increasingly inclined to anti-Americanism. That's the new phenomenon."

Shah is a McClatchy special correspondent in Pakistan.

Mazari vs. Patterson: Clarifications By Jang Group, Shireen Mazari & PakNationalists

The ambassador of the US in Pakistan has accused a prominent columnist and US critic of endangering the life of a US citizen without providing any evidence to support this claim. The newspaper puts the burden of proof on the columnist. The US ambassador gets away with making a serious allegation without proof. What is wrong with this picture?

The Editorial Board of the Jang Group issued a clarification published today, Sept. 7, reacting to a written complaint by US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson that resulted in knocking Dr. Mazari's regular column off the pages of the newspaper for one day last Wednesday, Sept. 3.

The newspaper published the regular column a day later, on Thursday Sept. 4, after back and forth with Dr. Mazari.

The clarification in The News also indirectly referred to a report published at PakNationalists/ and carried by several websites where the US ambassador's letter to the newspaper was described as 'private'. The paper says it was not 'private'.

It is unfortunate that a letter by the US ambassador, which was not printed or made public and as such can be legitimately misconstrued as an attempt at undue pressure by an envoy of a foreign government, has resulted in a misunderstanding between the esteemed columnist and the respected newspaper, ending a long relationship that goes back almost a decade.

The two- The News International and Dr. Mazari Рare especially remembered for the bold decision taken last year by The News, one of Pakistan's largest English-language newspapers, to publish an exclusive report, written by Dr. Mazari, which prevented the Bush administration from quietly appointing an anti-Pakistan US army general as a defense attach̩ in Islamabad.

The ending of this relationship [Dr. Mazari joins The Nation as editor, columnist and television host as of tonight] must have engendered many smiles at the US embassy in Islamabad. There is a history between Dr. Mazari, a renowned defense expert, and the US mission here. In 2006, the US ambassador at the time reportedly approached Pakistan's Foreign Secretary to request that Dr. Mazari, who was heading a think tank financed by the Pakistan Foreign Office, be asked to stop writing columns critical of US policy in Afghanistan. Mr. Khokhar, according to Dr. Mazari, resisted the pressure. But last year, Dr. Mazari was unceremoniously removed from her post in one of the first few decisions taken by the new elected government. Mr. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's envoy to Washington and one of America's most vocal Pakistani apologists, personally supervised the move.

The following is the clarification as published in The News International today, followed by the reply sent by Dr. Mazari to the newspaper [also received by us], and then a reply from PakNationalists, written by Ahmed Quraishi.

Clarification by The News

A press conference of Dr. Shireen Mazari was reported in the newspapers of Thursday (September 3) in which it was indicated that The News International had been pressurised by the US Embassy into dropping her article, although it appeared in the same day’s issue. Some websites have also alleged that the US ambassador has written a ‘private’ letter to the Jang Group pressuring that Dr. Mazari’s article be dropped.

We are surprised that someone as familiar with the Jang Group’s editorial policy as Dr. Mazari — an official turned politician and Information Secretary/ Spokesperson of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf — should level such unfounded allegations. The facts of the matter are as follows:

* The US ambassador had sent a letter to the Jang Group complaining that in her article published in The News the week before, Dr. Shireen Mazari had levelled certain incorrect allegations that had endangered the life of a US citizen.

* In accordance with our policy, and accepted international norms, we referred the complaint to Dr. Shireen Mazari — for her feedback and comments.

* While this complaint was being investigated, Dr. Mazari sent another article on Tuesday (September 1), which was to be published the next day — that is on Wednesday. In this article she had again levelled certain allegations, which were also without attribution. Since certain contentions in the previous article had been refuted and were under investigation and she had not produced any evidence or reliable reference to prove the same (nor has she been able to do so till date), we reverted to Dr. Mazari and asked if she could substantiate these allegations. The concerned editor also informed her that her article had been referred to the concerned department to make sure that it was not libellous. As it happens, on receiving supporting comments from her, as well as advice from the concerned editor, the article was published the very next day — that is on Thursday.

* It is normal for embassies, political parties and other affected people and institutions to complain against perceived bias and the letter from the US ambassador was in the same vein. She neither asked us in the above letter nor any time in the past to drop articles by Dr. Mazari or by any other contributor holding similar views and writing for many years in The News. The ambassador also did not desire that the letter be kept confidential. While we take all complaints seriously, we allow them to exert no pressure on us or influence editorial policy or decisions. Therefore, at no point did anyone from the management or editorial staff of The News suggest to Dr. Mazari that this, or future, articles by her would not be published.

* We not only publish articles by some of the most respected columnists in the country, but as a matter of policy, give space to people holding strong and diverse opinions. Since years some of the fiercest criticism of US policies has been voiced on the pages of The News. We are sorry that she chose to go public with accusations that have no basis in fact.

Editorial Board - Jang Group

Dr. Mazari's Response

This is the response sent by Dr. Mazari to The News in response to the clarification [as received by us]:

With reference to my press conference on Wednesday, 2 September, I was clearly premature in assuming the newspaper would succumb to US pressure given its past stance on such occasions. So on that count I stand corrected by the paper’s clarification published on 7th September and appreciate the fact that I have not been victimised for my critical stance on US policies.

However, the thrust of my press conference was on multiple efforts by the US embassy to intervene in the media and I had cited my own earlier cases. Now The News has substantiated my position on this issue.

I am glad that The News has referred to US ambassador’s letter in which certain objections were made to one of my columns. My point is that she levelled a serious allegation against me – that of endangering the life of an American citizen. What proof does she have of that from my columns? Did I incite anyone to kill an American? Did I print pictures of the citizen in question? On what grounds did she come to this conclusion? Did The News editorial team ask her for substantiation of what is a serious charge? After all I was asked for so many “proofs”! Here was a foreign emissary levelling a serious allegation against a Pakistani citizen and where was the proof? My columns discuss issues and do not include any form of incitement.

The normal practice that one has seen in newspapers is for embassies to have their objections published which then allows the writer to respond to the allegations. It is strange that the US ambassador chose not to have her objections to my column published so that I could have directly responded to these.

Finally, I simply want to correct one error in The News’s clarification – I was never an “official” – otherwise I would not have been able to write a regular column. I was an academic for 16 years before I headed a research think tank as a researcher/technocrat.

I am presuming again that The News will, in its policy of fair play and equal access to all, publish this response and my appreciation once again of the paper’s ability to withstand all manner of pressures.

Shireen M. Mazari

PakNationalists Comment

Ahmed Quraishi comments:

1. The issue in question is not The News. The issue in question is a letter sent by US ambassador Anne Patterson to a Pakistani newspaper accusing a Pakistani columnist of endangering the life of a US citizen. Since Ms. Patterson provides no proof and does not seek to publish her letter, as is the custom when you dispute a published report, there is a possibility she is intimidating a known critic of US policy into submission.

2. The accepted practice is for politicians or ambassadors to send a letter that is published and then the concerned writer gets a chance to respond or apologize if he or she is wrong. This never happened. Dr. Mazari never saw a copy of the ambassador's letter or was provided proof from her writings that she was endangering the life of a US citizen.

3. US ambassador's serious accusation to Dr. Mazari of threatening a US citizen's life was taken at face value, without supporting evidence, and Dr. Mazari was asked to provide evidence for her opinions that she shapes based on circumstantial and/or factual evidence, which is what all established analysts do.

4. Nowhere in her articles did Dr. Mazari call for violence against any US citizen.

5. The US citizen in question was mentioned in several news mediums before Dr. Mazari referred to him. The US embassy never reacted in public or private to those stories, which were both in print and on television. This is why it is inexplicable why Dr. Mazari was singled out by the US ambassador, beyond the fact that Dr. Mazari is a fierce critic of US policy.

6. Several newspapers published the statements of a retired Pakistani intelligence officer accusing United States of engineering the assassination of Gen. Zia ul Haq. Did any newspaper ask him for evidence before publishing the story, which, according to the US ambassador's logic, endangers the lives of all US diplomats here since it implicates them in the murder of a former Pakistani president and almost the entire leadership of the Pakistan armed forces? It is strange, then, for the US ambassador to demand that Dr. Mazari provide evidence for her opinions and analysis.

7. The US media outlets have spread false alarm worldwide over the past two years by saying Pakistan's nuclear weapons risked falling in wrong hands. Did any one of these US news organizations provide evidence?

8. Dr. Mazari went public on the undue pressure by the US ambassador. She did not accuse the newspaper of anything, nor would it have been appropriate to do so in the first place. If anyone should be issuing clarifications, it is the US embassy because the US ambassador has failed to justify how Dr. Mazari endangered the life of a US citizen.

9. The core question here is this: Why should the US ambassador in Pakistan get away with accusing a Pakistani columnist of endangering the lives of Americans and the columnist gets a rough treatment where she is asked to produce evidence for her analysis? How do we know that Dr. Mazari is not being attacked by the US ambassador for her opinions critical of US policy?

There is no question that The News did not succumb to any pressure. The biggest evidence on this is Mr. Holbrooke's undiplomatic statement against the Geo television in June [See here].

But it is also true that the US ambassador did inadvertently get a special treatment when she got to accuse Dr. Mazari without evidence and without having her letter published for Pakistanis to see and question the veracity of her position and the position of the accused journalist, as is the custom when someone disputes a newspaper article.

In a country reeling under excessive US meddling in domestic affairs, we certainly did not need this reminder of where things stand.

Ahmed Quraishi