Archive for July, 2010

Pakistan Slams UK ‘Terror’ Remark.

Pakistan Slams UK ‘Terror’ Remark.

Pakistan has strongly criticised David Cameron, the British prime minister, for his remark that Islamabad should not “promote the export of terror”.

Abdul Basit, a foreign ministry spokesman, on Thursday said Cameron seemed to have based his comments on leaked US documents, which he called “biased and self-serving”.

“We are obviously disappointed at these comments because these are not coming from any original source, rather biased sources and I would say not even raw intelligence but disinformation against Pakistan,” he told Al Jazeera.

On a visit to India, Cameron on Wednesday said Pakistan should know “that it is not right to have any relationship with groups that are promoting terror”.

He said: “We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world.”

Though his comments were likely to be welcomed in India, Pakistan’s reaction has been quick and angry.

‘ISI role’

Basit strongly denied any Pakistani links with terror groups and defended Islamabad’s role.

“Britain knows full well as to how Pakistan, particularly the ISI [the Pakistani intelligence service] has been extending help and assistance to Britain in thwarting so many terrorist plots in Britain.

“They know the effectiveness of the ISI and our constructive and positive role in Afghanistan so we do not find any reason whatsoever for such remarks.”

Earlier, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner in London, told Al Jazeera that he had received hundreds of calls from Pakistanis, who offered “a very sharp reaction” to Cameron’s comments.

“I think Cameron will review his statement, clarify his position, because we need to be supported not criticised for what we are doing,” Hasan said.

He also refuted renewed criticism of Pakistani intelligence services over its alleged ties to Taliban, following revelations by Wikileaks,  the whistle blower website.

The site leaked US government documents suggesting links between Pakistan’s security services, the Taliban and other groups operating in Afghanistan.

“ISI was one of the conduits used by the CIA and other agencies to raise these Taliban, these mujahidin, to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Only [the] ISI can’t be blamed for it,” he said.

Cameron’s comments came as he prepared to wrap up a two-day visit to India, which is aimed at improving bilateral trade between the two nations.

He was expected to meet Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, later on Thursday.

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Will India’s diplomatic reversals get a short respite?Will India’s diplomatic reversals get a short respite?

Will India’s diplomatic reversals get a short respite?

Bharat (aka India) has been face colossal reverses in its Foreign Policy. Will the orchestrated Leaks give it a respite?

While the Wikileaks were on a 96 hour news cycle, and most US sources after having discussed them threadbare are beginning to move on to new subjects–the Bharati (aka Indian) media is clinging on to them and the orchestrated immature statements by the British Prime Minister. Delhi is getting full mileage of the so called 90,000 “leaks”. Only a few of them actually discuss Pakistan, but the Pakistaniphobic campaign led by the New York Times and the UK Guardia only focuses on the old and archaic news items filed by Afghan “agents”. Till recenlty the Afghan Intelligence agencies were fully in the hands of the Bharati RAW. In the days gone by the RAW men were so powerful that in a well documented incident Mr. Karzai was scolded by the head of the RAW in Kabul.

Most of the old filed reports were fed by Bharati intelligent agencies. These reports filed from Kabul have now become part of the Wikileaks–used by the New York Times to malign Pakistan and try to halt its growing influence in Afghanistan.

The way the news has been sliced, diced and presented by the New York Times, it ensures that the real story of the Wikileaks can be obfuscated by the sensational Anti-Pakistanism.

The Bharati elation at the Wikileaks will be short lived. However Bharat may stage a spectacular event to put pressure on Pakistan. Another Mumbai will create issues in South Asia, and push it back another decade.

Much of the Leaks deal with the targeted killings and murder of civilians by the US, ISAF and NATO forces. However the Sunday news shows and even Al-Jazeera did not focus on the human rights atrocities and the war crimes. Pakistan is the favorite whipping boy of the US media–especially the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Now that the US media is beginning to get tired of the Leaks, another batch will be released targeting Pakistan. The Leaks have tried to drive a wedge between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The usual suspects in Afghanistan–the Pakistanphobes are cropping up in Afghanistan making the same old noises as before.

The Bharati carping will continue.

The short term affects of the Leaks have been a lot of discussion in the media. However the Obama Administration has not shown an indication of a change in its Afghan policy.

The Europeans are leaving the Hindu Kush next year. The Americans will follow–Cameron’s grandstanding not withstanding.

America has few options in Afghanistan. She has to work with Pakistan in order to get a face saving exit. The Leaks anger the very people that the US and the UK banks on to help them out. No foreign army can assist NATO, ISAF and the US forces–except the Pakistani Army.

Maligning the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani Intelligence Services (ISI) is counterproductive to American interests. While the US Administration has rushed to do damage control, with the White House and the State Department calling the Pakistani President and the Prime Minister–the Afghan president was forced to make some ugly noises which he will have to regret.

Pakistan demanded an explanation from Mr. Hamid Karzai, and the press heard some inaudible and incomprehensible gurgling noises which went something like this “the press has made something out of this”.

Despite the media headlines in the Bharati press, the fact remains that most US officials have come out to defend Pakistan. The Bharati media of course is publishing the fallout by editing the statements and publishing only part that suit their agenda.

While India’s recent diplomatic reversals get a short respite, the fact remains that in the long run, the Bharati machinations will create more enemies in Pakistan. Already the number of doves in Pakistan are becoming less and less. Even Mr. Zardari who started out as very accommodating towards Bharat has not turned hawkish. The Pakistan Ambassador to the US–often called the US Ambassador to Pakistan is incensed at the US and also at Bharat. If the most pro-India elements in Pakistan are now mad at Bharat, the hawks will have a field day. Bharati short-sightendness in the Wikileaks affair will have consequences for Delhi. An abrogation of any Afghan trade to Bharat is the most likely first casualty of the Wikileaks. There will be more negative affects for Bharat.

Those who want Bharat evicted from Afghanistan will be emboldened and become more firm in their resolve. Anti-Americanism will grow in the area, and this can never be good for America.

The long term blowback from the leaks will harm US interests in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. The leaks confirm the US stereotype–self-centered, untrustworthy and fickle.

The US has to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. The Afghans want to talk to the Afghan National Resistance (aka Taliban). All roads to peace in Kabul run through Islamabad. Mr. Karzai knows this.

In the end Mr. Karzai will kiss and make up, and the US will continue to bank on the only game in town called the Pakistan Army.

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Why most Pakistanis label U.S. “enemy” despite alliance

Why most Pakistanis label U.S. “enemy” despite alliance

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) — A new report found a majority of Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy, in spite of Pakistan’ s role as a key ally in the U.S. fight against radicalism.

Regard for the United States in Pakistan ranks lowest among 22 countries surveyed in the Pew Global Attitudes survey, with nearly 60 percent of Pakistanis describing the United States as a nemesis and only 17 percent expressing a favorable view of the country.

“America’ s overall image remains very negative in Pakistan,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the non-partisan Pew Research Center.

The Pew Research Center report, titled “America’ s Image Remains Poor: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips in Pakistan,” comes at a time when the Obama administration is trying to strengthen ties with Pakistan.

Indeed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month visited Pakistan and pledged 1.5 billion dollars a year over a five-year period in a bid to beef up Islamabad’ s capacity to aid U.S. strategic goals.

But despite the official line of warming ties, the study found that U.S. President Barack Obama is widely unpopular in Pakistan — a sentiment that bucks the trend of many other countries’ admiration for the U.S. president.

That in spite of his outreach to the Muslim world since taking office and a speech from Cairo, Egypt last year that sought to mend fences in light of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A mere eight percent of Pakistanis expressed confidence that the U.S. president will make the right choices in world affairs — his lowest rating among 22 nations, the report found.

“Obama’ s famous global popularity does not extend to Pakistan,” Kohut said.

Kamran Bokhari, regional director of Middle East and South Asia at global intelligence company Stratfor, said the president initially generated much hope in the Muslim world as a result of his outreach efforts.

But the U.S. surge policy in Afghanistan, which has increased civilian casualties, has undermined Pakistanis’ expectations of Obama. Pakistanis now view him in the same negative light as they did former President George W. Bush.

“Whatever expectations were there are gone now,” Bokhari said.

Many hold the view that Obama will ultimately do what is in the United States’ best interest, which is not always in line with what Pakistan wants, he added.

The recent WikiLeaks fiasco– more than 90,000 U.S. military documents were this week leaked and posted on the Internet– has also re-enforced feelings of mistrust.

Some of the documents charged Pakistan with playing double agent and providing sanctuary to Taliban fighters while objecting to U.S. forces entering parts of Pakistan where Taliban are holed up.

“WikiLeaks has eroded a good deal of the goodwill and trust that had been built up,” Bokhari said. “I don’ t want to exaggerate the extent to which it is a setback, but it does complicate cooperation.”

Pakistanis’ support for the United States in the fight against radicalism has declined since last year. Fewer want Washington to provide support for Pakistani troops, although around half of those surveyed are still in favor of such efforts, the study found.

Pakistanis widely oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan and nearly two-thirds want U.S. and NATO forces to withdraw as soon as possible, the survey said.

Few believe the conflict across the border could seriously impact Pakistan and 25 percent said a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would be bad, whereas 18 percent said it would be good. Twenty-seven percent said it would not matter and 30 percent expressed no opinion, the report found.

But despite a panoply of negative opinions, most Pakistanis want better relations with the United States, and the number of those for whom an improving relationship is important rose to 64 percent from 53 percent last year.

The findings are based on face-to-face interviews taken last spring with 2,000 Pakistani adults, mostly in urban areas.

“There’s a lot of conspiracy theory that informs the opinions of the Pakistanis,” Bokhari said, adding that such thinking can be found across all facets of society, including the political and military elite.

There also exists an overall fear that India ranks higher on the U.S. list of friends than Pakistan — a reflection of a pre-existing negative opinion of the United States, he said.

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