Posts Tagged US

Salute to Tribal Leaders

 Who says we have no leaders? If we have the MIR Jaffars like Hussain Haqqani, Rehman Malik [read it Dakait] Zardari, Gilani , Asfandyar and Nawaz Shareef, we have Tipu Sultans also. Prior to attacking the patriotic tribal by Meerasi General Parvez Musharraf on the direction of the military and political leadership’s masters in Washington the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were considered the protectors of the rest of Pakistan. Now they have “reportedly” picked up guns against the “state”.

It’s not the story we are discussing here, however the Lawmakers from same FATA have showed up some self-respect in Washington, the things which we all have been desperately expecting from our government.

According to DawnMiffed at being asked to undergo a full body scanning at an American airport, a group of Fata lawmakers cut short their visit to the United States and flew back home.”

The six-member delegation, which included both senators and members of the National

Senator Abbas Afridi, Kamran Khan, hafiz Muhammad Rasheed, Sajid Hussain Turi, Jawwad Khan and Akhunzada Chattan

Assembly, boarded a Kuwait Airways flight at Washington’s Dulles airport after the dispute.

They had come to the United States on Feb 28 on a 15-day visit.

On Saturday morning, they were scheduled to fly to New Orleans as part of their tour.

But when they arrived at the airport, two of them were marked for random checking, which included a body-scan.

They refused to accept the demand, saying that they would rather go home than submit to the proposed scanning.

Senator Abbas Khan Afridi, a senior member of the delegation, later told journalists that other lawmakers backed their colleagues and told US officials that they too would go home if their colleagues were not exempted.

US State Department officials, who were travelling with the delegation, took the lawmakers back to their hotel in Washington where Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission and other senior US officials joined them.

Dawn reports that Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission tried to persuade the lawmakers to change their minds, telling them that all passengers in the United States had to go through random checking.

Mr Afridi said that the lawmakers considered the scanning order an insult to the parliamentarians of a sovereign country and decided to call off their visit.

Some would term it point scoring and others would call it publicity stunt but to me it’s a demonstration of self-respect. To this day our governments, also include military leadership, have given out the message that we are the only nation on this earth with no word of sovereignty, dignity and self-respect in our dictionaries. The actions like this at least help us prove that we are state with people who care self-respect and that Pakistan is not a sold-out nation. Guys I am proud of you. And you need red carpet reception at Pakistani airport.


, , , , , ,


Marvi’s open letter to Ms Clinton

marvi-memon-gilgitMs. Memon declined an invitation by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to meet her as part of her engagements with politicians and civil society representatives in Islamabad yesterday. Here she explains her reasons.

Dear Secretary Clinton,

Whilst the message from you and your government is that of peace and friendship, the Kerry Lugar Bill passed by your legislative branch has been one of the main stumbling blocks in this mission. The assumption that Pakistanis have misunderstood the bill is equally faulty. Pakistanis have read the bill and understood your intent to micromanage Pakistan, to curtail Pakistan’s nuclear expansion program and to direct the war against extremism in Pakistan from White House.
What follows below is an understanding of the bill, which needs to be amended if relations between US and patriotic Pakistanis have to be established. Your assertion that if we have issues with the bill we don’t need to take the money is ‘spot on’; patriotic Pakistanis have rejected your mere $1.5 billion. We will not negotiate on our country’s sovereignty and defence. And these are not mere slogans. They are based on facts, which we read out of your conditionalities, which do exist. And here are the facts Secretary Clinton:

  1. The most controversial clause in the bill pertains to giving US ‘direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks’. The explanation given in the note is equally unacceptable because it wants ‘cooperative efforts’ to combat proliferation to continue. This cooperation mentioned is intrusive since it demands ‘direct access’. Secretary Clinton, we have already handled our proliferators and believe in non-priliferation. This we consider a breach of our sovereignty.
  2. The reference to Pakistan military and intelligence agencies being involved in giving support to terrorists in the past is equally offensive. This is a clause which enables the Indian lobby to target Pakistan and hold it responsible for all future terrorist acts in the region.
  3. The other issue pertains to the fact that President Obama’s regional security strategy will include working with ‘relevant governments and organizations in the region and elsewhere.’ The strategy, which could include RAW and Mossad would be imposed on Pakistan for US national interest not Pakistan. And as such we cannot give the authority of making Pakistan’s security strategy to a US President.
  4. There are references to expansion of Container Security Initiative at various Pakistani ports, which we consider a security hazard.
  5. The term sanctuary for terrorism implies that Pakistan is a failed state as is included in intelligence reforms and Terrorism Prevention Act 2004.
  6. Bill allows ‘irregular forces to be used for US combat operations in Pakistan’ as stated in the Ronald Reagan Act 2005. This in effect gives legal cover to the Dynocores and Blackwaters, which we Pakistanis have major issues with and consider a threat to our security.
  7. The bill micromanages Pakistan’s important federal government agencies from education, madrassahs to trade, to judiciary, to natural resources. All aid given will be to NGOs and if more than $100,000 is given those NGO files will become classified. As such Pakistan will not have access to such operations. This we consider an attempt by US to create its own financial political power bases for future.
  8. Approximately $860 million of the aid will go back to US in the form of administrative expenses etc. This truly reflects badly on the actual impact on an average Pakistani’s life.

Here were some of the issues with the bill. Now let’s examine what aggravates Pakistani sensitivities with regards to current US policies. And why you are not welcome in Pakistan by patriotic Pakistanis. This might help you understand why over 80% of Pakistanis have issues with your policies as per certain reliable surveys.

  1.  Firstly, the US stance in the war against extremism is biased towards protecting Indian and Afghan interests. The TTP and Baloch terrorists have been using these two countries and their resources as bases for their operations inside Pakistan as is proven by Pak military evidence. Whilst you consider Pakistan to be sovereign our aid is linked to these two countries, which we find distasteful.
  2.  Whilst Pakistan’s nuclear program is an issue for US, the Indian nuclear program (civil nuclear technology agreement) is being allowed to expand without any blockades.
  3. Whilst you have personally complemented Pak military efforts in your recent visit, at the same time there are conditionalities in giving aid to Pakistan to strengthen its military against terrorists. Certainly these terrorists are linked to India and as such conditionalities are one sided. Moreover, if Pakistan military is being complemented why cant it be trusted with drone technology? Additionally US policy wishes to strengthen Pakistan’s parliament and yet it ignores the resolution passed by Pakistani parliament against drone attacks.
  4. Whilst Pakistan is a frontline state which has paid dearly in terms of men lost in battle with terrorists, US considers India and Pakistan to be equals. Where is the advantage Pakistan should get for cooperating on terrorism? $1.5 billion is a joke compared to the billions spent in Afghanistan and Iraq, even in Turkey and Egypt. As well as the fact that no where with other allies has US imposed intrusive conditionalities. 
  5.  Whilst Pakistan is blamed for terrorist sanctuaries how many infiltrators coming from India and Afghanistan specifically have you managed to stop?
  6.  The commitment for ROZs looks like its dithering. Where is the actual support for the tribals who have suffered the most in the war being fought to destabilize Pakistan?
  7. What effort has the US played in cutting drug money, which is destabilizing Pakistan and funding terrorism considering its source of entry is US backed Afghan territory. UN report confirms that after US entry into Afghanistan opium production has increased manifold. This is impacting Pakistan’s security since it’s ready financing for terrorism inside Pakistan. Secretary Clinton, if you wish to improve Pak-US bilaterals a more productive approach would have been to not justify the bill on arrival but rather to give an open ear to the criticisms with a commitment to amending it. Since there have been no such commitments it seems fruitless to meet with you. This is even more disturbing considering that you have been given plenty of evidence of Pakistani uproar on the bill before your arrival. It’s a pity that the bill was executed minus real Pakistani input. This has no doubt created a diplomatic fiasco for the US. Instead of underestimating the fiasco or considering it a result of Pakistani lack of comprehension, it would have been better to deal with it head on: amending the bill being the only viable option.

Pakistan might have a government, which is beholden to you for its future longevity, but there are patriotic Pakistanis who will defend the soil before accepting your policies of creating a US fiefdom in Pakistan. As a young parliamentarian I would only welcome you to Pakistan once we have evidence of your shift in policy so that Pakistan is dealt with as a sovereign country.

 Courtesy: The Nation

, , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

What is the US-Dutch arms connection?

Dutch diplomats released on US embassy intervention!

ISLAMABAD: One of the Dutch diplomas sitting in the vehicle, the second picture shows the recovered luggage is being checked while the third one is the image of a US official who got the Dutch diplomats released from police custody-Photos by The Nation

ISLAMABAD: One of the Dutch diplomas sitting in the vehicle, the second picture shows the recovered luggage is being checked while the third one is the image of a US official who got the Dutch diplomats released from police custody-Photos by The Nation

City police on Tuesday held two diplomats of Netherlands’ Embassy and recovered unlicensed arms and ammunition from their vehicle.

The diplomats were later released, besides their weapons, on the intervention of top diplomatic officials from Netherlands and the US Embassy, sources told The Nation.
According to details, Police officials deputed at Police picket near Secretariat Chowk intercepted a Dark Blue BMW (4191) at 11.30 am. The car did not have diplomatic number plates.

On search, police recovered sophisticated weapons including four hand grenades including two smoke equipments and two flash bombs, two handguns, four magazines and six bullet-proof vests from their vehicle.  This arms and ammunition reportedly belonged to the US embassy and was being transported to the US Embassy by the Dutch, the sources said.

The detained diplomats could not provide any justification and relevant documents for keeping such sophisticated weapons to the police, the sources added. “They had only a letter issued by the Dutch Embassy on which Ministry of Interior was requested to issue licence,” the sources said.

Police sources told the TheNation, “There was another vehicle bearing registration (IDL-266) which was allegedly backing up the Dutch diplomats BMW.”
“When we intercepted the Dutch vehicle the driver of a car behind them, identified himself as US Embassy employee named Sunny Christopher, having US Embassy’s official card (16570),” the sources said.

Christopher interfered in the police matter, but after an exchange of harsh words the police sent him on his way. But before he left he had harassed the police to the extent that they were forced to make a misstatement in the report to the effect that he came after the release of the two Dutch men. The fact, as this scribe witnessed himself, later corroborated by the SHO, was that Christopher was present throughout the process of search and arrest.

Secretariat police also mentioned intervention by Christopher in the report of the case. The report said the person who identified himself as US Embassy official namely Sunny Christopher interfered in police matter. (See copy of report)

After the intervention of top diplomatic officials including those from the US, the arrested diplomats were allowed to leave with their belongings under cover of diplomatic immunity.
The arrested Dutch were identified as Tom Smith and Williem Uen.

When contacted, Spokesman of American Embassy, Rick Snelsire, he said, “Honestly saying I heard today’s incident but I have no more information regarding the alleged involvement of US Embassy.”

When asked, who is Sunny Christopher? He said, “I don’t know about Sunny.” When this correspondent told him about Sunny’s Embassy card number (16570), he said, “There are hundreds of US embassy employees and it would be difficult for me to identify them all by the card number,” he added.

Given the tension over Dyncorp and Inter-Risk and un-licensed arms being exchanged between Pakistani Security companies and US embassy, some serious questions arise from this latest incident: One, Why were Dutch diplomats carrying unlicensed arms for the US embassy? Two, why was a Pakistani employee of US embassy escorting these diplomats from behind?
Three, why were the Dutch diplomats not in a car with a diplomatic number plate?
Four, were these two gentlemen really Dutch diplomats to begin with?

Curtsey: The Nation

, , , , , , , ,


A complete State of Denial

How has Pakistani rulers converted Pakistani State into a Pakistani society by surrendering its sovereignty to United State of America. The process started by criminal Pervez Musharraf has witnessed its high during the present regime lead by Asif Ali Zardari. For read a must read article by Abu Saad, published in “The Nation” Pakistan.

A complete State of Denial

By: Abu Saad

An all time technique to reject a story is simply to call it “conspiracy theory”. It is an established fact that Pakistan ruling party’s politicians have got command in calling news stories as conspiracy theories, which they blame are being hatched to destabilise the ‘democratic’ regime. In fact it is a ‘democratic regime’ where Parliament does not discuss the issues pertaining to national security and foreign policy and where major political parties do not feel it necessary to show their concern over US meddling in our day-to-day governance from local bodies issue to flour and sugar shortage. Due to US and now Saudi interference in our affairs the state of Pakistan has been concerted into a society of people with conflicting views. The sovereignty, which differentiates ‘state’ from ‘society’, ceases to exist in the land that had been carved out of the Indian subcontinent and named Pakistan.

The worst aspect of this story is the division of the civil society. One segment comprises NGOs related citizens – the ones being beneficiary of US influence has no objection to the American expansionist designs. The worst scenario develops with the deaf government unwilling to value the louder voices of the majority of the people of Pakistan who see these expansionist designs conforming to what Richard N Haass calls a “war of necessity”. Besides the growing society and media, the two prominent parties outside the Parliament – JI and PTI – have only raised anti-American or anti-US expansionist slogans.

Isn’t it the height of deterioration when on the one hand the US ambassador in Islamabad is meddling in Pakistani affairs, while on the other Pakistan’s [US] Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani did not even bother to issue a two-line statement regarding the inclusion of Balochistan in the state of citizenship column in the US citizenship and immigration services form for Non-US residents. After forming the Union of Patriotic Bloggers for Sovereign Pakistan (UPBSP), for running a campaign for the removal of the name from USCIS form and seeking an official apology, I also wrote an email to Ambassador Haqqani to raise the issue. Although the name was removed from the column silently within seven days after the news broke, the ambassador did not even express two words condemning this anti-Pakistan action by an official US agency. Now proving himself as US’s Pakistani Ambassador to US, Mr Haqqani has written a letter to the foreign secretary and chief of ISI suggesting them that denying visas to US journalists would not only hurt the country’s image but could also cost severely in view of the forthcoming herring about the US assistance to Pakistan. The Pakistanis smelling danger in every move of Mr Haqqani have, rightly, termed it a pressure tactic from our own ambassador to soften the process of the entry of US spies and Blackwater agents, which our embassy and the ISI has started screening after ‘media speculations’.

Going back as of August 21, 2009, our Foreign Office spokesman was telling the world that media speculations on the US embassy’s expansion were not true. Speaking at a weekly briefing, he said that the US had not yet formally asked for expanding its embassy compound or deploying additional security staff. “We haven’t yet received any formal request as to how many additional personnel they want to position in their embassy in Islamabad and in their consulates in Karachi and other cities,” Basit said. The media speculations rejected by the FO spokesman have become true now. The news of the ambitious plan of the United States to expand its presence in Pakistan surfaced in early August 2009, but the government has been in a complete state of denial. According to the news that first appeared in a section of the Pakistani press and is now being highlighted by the Pakistani society, media and blogosphere, the “fortress-like embassy” had to “accommodate close to 1,000 additional personnel being sent to Islamabad as part of the US administration’s decision to significantly raise its profile in the country. The new staffers will augment the current 750-strong American contingent already based in Pakistan; this against a sanctioned strength of 350.” But the news of 1,000 additional staff was rejected by the Pakistani government calling it an exaggeration of what they thought was to furnace anti-American sentiments. Once again a US diplomat has disclosed America’s plan to double the staff of its embassy in Islamabad, which though is lesser than the actual number that was planned, but if summed up with the present strength of 750 it will become 1,500. Almost 1,150 more than the sanctioned strength and just 250 less than what the media had been ‘speculating’.

In an interview with the BBC, Deputy Ambassador Gerald Festine also admitted that negotiations were on to buy Peshawar’s bombed Pearl Continental Hotel, where a diplomatic mission would be established. The Nation quoted Festine as saying: “One of the proposals is to purchase the PC Hotel in Peshawar as it has all the basic infrastructure according to our requirements.

The negotiations are on and no final decision has been made as yet.” According to the news story the deputy ambassador said: “We are in contact with the local security agencies, and similarly the discussions are underway with the US agencies as well.” The statement of Festine is a confession of what the media had been ‘speculating’ regarding Blackwater. The deputy ambassador has partially confessed, but what to say about our leadership that has put a blind eye on what is happening in the country. From the central leadership to our ambassador, all have made up their mind for selling Pakistan. However, our media and civil society can transform the Pakistani society into a sovereign state only if they wish to do so and make a sincere effort for it.

The writer is a freelance columnist.

, ,

Leave a comment

How the betrayer Lover and unsuccessful Spy Became PPP’s “Closed Associate”

PPP_flagI’m unable to understand as why the news editor didn’t make heading of it. Was it important to tell that Brigadier ® Imtiaz had once saved Nuclear Assets by arresting the failed lover cum spy, whose plans became known to Mr Bila only after when his annoyed beloved felt betrayed and not as result of extra ordinary efforts by our intelligence agencies or this fact is more meritorious for heading that the spy being arrested was set freed by PPP’s first government and he later joined the party?

After reading Rauf Klasra story about the failed love story which cost the US loose her spy being hired and trained as informer about Pakistan’s nuclear assets and his subsequent arrest, I even didn’t noticed the death and life imprisonment sentence as those were obvious. I thought the man; Rafique Munshi would have been hanged.

Titled as “Brig Imtiaz reveals CIA plots”, the news story by Ansar Abbasi on Tuesday, September 01, 2009 reads; He [Brigadier Imtiaz]  claims to have foiled two American CIA plots to sabotage the country’s nuclear programme.

I am not going to discuss the second Plot of CIA. We are going to discuss here that part of story which was reported by Rauf Klasra few months back but not with such big disclosure.

The story by Rauf Klasra in the same newspaper on Thursday, May 28, 2009 informs us that Pak N-program was saved by a jilted Karachi woman.

 The story reads; 

As the nation celebrates the eleventh anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear tests today story(May 28), a shocking 30-year-old secret has been exposed. It reveals how a young woman college lecturer, feeling betrayed after a romance with a nuclear scientist of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP), had given a lead to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 1978, which in turn had led to the dramatic arrest of 12 Pakistani scientists and engineers, planning to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear sites at the behest of a superpower.”

 It further reads;

 The startling spy ring was exposed by this female college lecturer of a Karachi Memon family to the then head of ISI Sindh Brig Imtiaz Ahmed (Operation Midnight Jackals fame), only because she wanted revenge from her lover for being unfaithful. The expose led to the arrest of Pakistani scientists who were later given death and life imprisonment sentences by the special tribunal set up by the then president General Ziaul Haq.

Actually, It was brig (retd) Imtiaz Ahmed who in Rauf Klasra’ words “broke his silence of over 30 years to share this amazing operation with The News on the eve of the 11th annual celebration of Pakistan going nuclear. He said that while many people take credit for saving our nuclear programme, no one actually knows how an unsung jilted girl had actually ended up saving Pakistan’s nuclear project out of sheer vengeance.

Here in the story by Ansar Abbasi, the source is same Brigadier Imtiaz who told him what he had shared with Rauf Klasra for his story published on 28th May 2009 except the one sentence which speaks volumes. Just to mention here, the Second part of the Ansar Abbasi’s story is about Brigadier Imtiaz’s Success in persuading the individual, “Star”, to work for Pakistan as a double agent; however there is nothing new in his story except these lines which in my views should have get place as heading;

Brigadier (Retd) Imtiaz said that he was decorated with Sitar-i-Rasalat for foiling the CIA plot. However, he said, Rafique Munshi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, was released during Benazir Bhutto’s first government and got closely associated with the Pakistan People’s Party.”

It may be called professional inefficiency or political duress to not highlight it, the fact remains as why PPP freed a traitor and betrayer and as a worst case why PPP opened her door for such a person? I am not going to issue a verdict as why so many traitors have managed to get associated with PPP but I would certainly ask about this proven traitor and betrayal. I am also worried about the now older beloved of Munshi after all he has get freed.

, , ,


Achievement of Pak Blogistan; US Citizenship and Immigration Services Removed Balochistan from Country of Citizenship Column; still to go a long way

USCIS With thanks to Babar Jahangir, one of the visitors of my blog, who pointed out that the name of Baluchistan, has been taken out of the “USCIS Online Change of Address form”. After reading his email I checked the USCIS’s site where I found that the name Balochistan has been removed from the list of Country of Citizenship column.


The last time I checked the site was Tuesday, 25th August, the name was still there, so we can’t say that when has it actually happened, however the Super Lead story about the same published in daily Khabrian on yesterday 26th 2009 confirms that the name was there before 25th August 2009. The newspaper had also published screen shot of the same which could have been taken on the evening of 25th August before filing the story.

Khabrian is the second newspaper which has covered this story. Before, Daily Jasarat Karachi had published two columns news on its back page. The absence of news coverage of such a big issue in our mainstream media especially TV channels tells much negative about the role of our media, however, it has one good message for the society media journalists, blogger, they can do it by their own. The news broke by Teeth Maestro and highlighted by Talkhaba got immense coverage at the Blogosphere. It was then published Ahmed Quraishi, Pakistan Desk , Pak Alert Press, PKKH , Kashifiat, Sadda-e-Sindh, Defence PK, Pakistan Daily , ,, Haqeeqatthe current affairs and other blogs.

It worked partially. We would like to inform our readers that the US has removed Balochistan or Baluchistan from that list for which we are thankful to our “Masters” in Washington, although they still have to apologize for the notorious act. The Union of Patriotic Bloggers for Sovereign Pakistan (UPBSP) demands public apology by US authorities. We had demanded an official apology from US official and an immediate removal. The name has been removed and we hope that Pakistani diplomatic envoys will challenge the US officials for an official apology.

The moral of the story is that if united, we Bloggers can make a difference, a positive difference towards a sovereign Pakistan.

Dissenting Notes; the posts received both type of comments. To my surprise I received dozens of direct emails, all most all asking; do you know the miseries of Balochistan? Why did you present one side of picture? The most interesting reaction I received was of which reads; 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration’s online change of address form (AR-11) offers ‘Baluchistan (Pakistan)’ as a ‘country of citizenship’ choice–along with other autonomous, one-time autonomous, disputed or independent entities. For ex., it lists ‘Cook Islands (NZ),’ described by Wikipedia as ‘a self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand. The US immigration site’s online registration form, however, does not list ‘Baluchistan (Pakistan)’ as a choice–simply ‘Pakistan.’  Nevertheless, it has one group (the Union of Patriotic for Sovereign Pakistan–UPBSP) rattled. This ‘newly formed network’ has started a ‘Containment of USA’ campaign. Its website states that ‘Some US government departments are quietly preparing the ground for the warlike act of recognizing Pakistan’s Balochistan province as an independent state by assigning a separate checklist to Balochistan against the “Country of citizenship” column of Immigration Form for non-US nationals.

 Where in my post Talkhaba have I used a single word against the Baloch’s rights? In order to resolve Balochistan Issue following step should be taken;

  1. Lodging of FIR against former dictator Pervez Musharraf for assassinating Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti
  2. FIR should also be lodged for the murder of Baloch leaders in Turbat  as per desire of their families
  3.  Provincial autonomy to the provinces under the 1973 constitution the federation should retain only the departments of defense, communication and finance while rest of the departments should be handed over to the provinces.
  4.  Gwadar port should be given under the control of provincial government. There must be an end to the role of land Mafia in Gwadar and the local people should be involved in development process there.
  5. Frontier Constabulary from Balochistan and putting the law enforcing agencies under the control of provincial government.
  6. Recovery of all missing people, ensuring human rights for the jailed people and providing shelter to homeless people of Balochistan.
  7.  A commission under the CJ should be established for assessing loses due to operation in Balochistan and compensation for the affected person.
  8. Royalty of Gas and other mineral should be given to Balochistan.
  9. Dam should be build and special funds be established for uplifting the agriculture of province.
  10.  Appropriate representation of Balochistan in federal bureaucracy and army.
  11.  Special funds for buidlin educational and health infrastructure.

Being a Pukhtoon [of NWFP] sympathizer of my Baloch brothers, I have no sympathy for the separatist elements in Balochistan.  They are not only the enemies of Pakistan but also Baloch people who are more patriotic than any other ethnic unit in Pakistan.

, , ,


Pakistanis see US as biggest threat

Source:  Al Jazeera

A survey commissioned by Al Jazeera in Pakistan has revealed a widespread disenchantment with the United States for interfering with what most people consider internal Pakistani affairs.


200989105621228797_20The polling was conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of the Gallup International polling group, and more than 2,600 people took part.

Interviews were conducted across the political spectrum in all four of the country’s provinces, and represented men and women of every economic and ethnic background.

When respondents were asked what they consider to be the biggest threat to the nation of Pakistan, 11 per cent of the population identified the Taliban fighters, who have been blamed for scores of deadly bomb attacks across the country in recent years.

Another 18 per cent said that they believe that the greatest threat came from neighbouring India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan since partition in 1947.

But an overwhelming number, 59 per cent of respondents, said the greatest threat to Pakistan right now is, in fact, the US, a donor of considerable amounts of military and development aid.

Tackling the Taliban

The resentment was made clearer when residents were asked about the Pakistan’s military efforts to tackle the Taliban. Keeping with recent trends a growing number of people, now 41 per cent, supported the campaign.

About 24 per cent of people remained opposed, while another 22 per cent of Pakistanis remained neutral on the question.

A recent offensive against Taliban fighters in the Swat, Lower Dir and Buner districts of North West Frontier Province killed at least 1,400 fighters, according to the military, but also devastated the area and forced two million to leave their homes.

The military has declared the operation a success, however, some analysts have suggested that many Taliban fighters simply slipped away to other areas, surviving to fight another day.

When people were asked if they would support government-sanctioned dialogue with Taliban fighters if it were a viable option the numbers change significantly.

Although the same 41 per cent said they would still support the military offensive, the number of those supporting dialogue leaps up to 43 per cent.

So clearly, Pakistanis are, right now, fairly evenly split on how to deal with the Taliban threat.

Drone anger

However, when asked if they support or oppose the US military’s drone attacks against what droneWashington claims are Taliban and al-Qaeda targets, only nine per cent of respondents reacted favourably.

A massive 67 per cent say they oppose US military operations on Pakistani soil.

“This is a fact that the hatred against the US is growing very quickly, mainly because of these drone attacks,” Makhdoom Babar, the editor-in-chief of Pakistan’s The Daily Mail newspaper, said.

“Maybe the intelligence channels, the military channels consider it productive, but for the general public it is controversial … the drone attacks are causing collateral damage,” he told Al Jazeera.

A senior US official told Al Jazeera he was not surprised by the poll’s findings.

The US has a considerable amount of work to do to make itself better understood to the Muslim world, he said.

And it would take not only educational and economic work to win over the Pakistani people but also a concerted effort to help the Pakistani government deal with “extremist elements” that are trying to disrupt security within Pakistan, he added.

Nearly 500 people, mostly suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, are believed to have been killed in about 50 US drone attacks since August last year, according to intelligence agents, local government officials and witnesses.

Washington refuses to confirm the raids, but the US military in neighbouring Afghanistan and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are the only forces operating in the area that are known to have the technology.

The government in Islamabad formally opposes the attacks saying that they violate Pakistani sovereignty and cause civilian casualties which turn public opinion against efforts to battle the Taliban.

Lieutenant-General Hamid Nawaz Khan, a former caretaker interior minister of Pakistan, told Al Jazeera that US pressure on Pakistan to take on the Taliban was one reason for the backlash.

“Americans have forced us to fight this ‘war on terror’… whatever Americans wanted they have been able to get because this government was too weak to resist any of the American vultures and they have been actually committing themselves on the side of America much more than what even [former president] Pervez Musharraf did,” he said.

Pakistani leadership

The consensus of opinion in opposition to US military involvement in Pakistan is notable given the fact that on a raft of internal issues there is a clear level of disagreement, something which would be expected in a country of this size. When asked for their opinions on Asif Ali Zardari, the current Pakistani president, 42 per cent of respondents said they believed he was doing a bad job. Around 11 per cent approved of his leadership, and another 34 per cent had no strong opinion either way.

That pattern was reflected in a question about Zardari’s Pakistan People’s party (PPP).

Respondents were asked if they thought the PPP was good or bad for the country.

About 38 per cent said the PPP was bad for the country, 20 per cent believed it was good for the country and another 30 per cent said they had no strong opinion. 

Respondents were even more fractured when asked for their views on how the country should be led.

By far, the largest percentage would opt for Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party, as leader. At least 38 per cent backed him to run Pakistan.

Last month, the Pakistani supreme court quashed Sharif’s conviction on charges of hijacking, opening the way for him to run for political office again.

 Zardari ‘unpopular’

 Zardari, the widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, received only nine aper cent support, while Reza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister, had the backing of 13 per cent.

 But from there, opinions vary greatly. Eight per cent of the population would support a military government, 11 per cent back a political coalition of the PPP and the PML-N party.

 Another six per cent would throw their support behind religious parties and the remaining 15 per cent would either back smaller groups or simply do not have an opinion.

 Babar told Al Jazeera that Zardari’s unpopularity was understandable given the challenges that the country had faced since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

 “Any president in Pakistan would be having the same popularity that President Zardari is having, because under this situation the president of Pakistan has to take a lot of unpopular decisions,” he said.

 “He is in no position to not take unpopular decisions that are actually in the wider interests of the country, but for common people these are very unpopular decisions.”

, , , , ,

Leave a comment