Breaking News
Nagaland Post Logo
You are here:  Skip Navigation LinksHome » Show story
US-Pak tie bickering gets ugly
WASHINGTON, Jan 9 (Agencies):
:
Published on 9 Jan. 2010 10:26 PM IST
Print  Text Size
 

The wheels seem to be coming off US-Pakistan relations with the once close allies squabbling publicly even as Islamabad is whipping up hysteria over the so-called Indian threats and American machinations to weasel out of its obligation to combat home-grown terrorism. The simmering discord between Washington and Islamabad came to a boil this week when the US ambassador to Pakistan publicly complained about harassment of American diplomatic personnel by Pakistani authorities and obliquely hinted that Islamabad risked losing US aid and projects if they continued to deny visas to US officials and space for the US mission to fulfill its multi-billion assistance program. Ambassador Anne Patterson’s warning at a business meeting in Karachi was followed up by a rare public admonition of Pakistan from the US mission in Islamabad in which it expressed concern about the ''continued provocative actions and false allegations against US personnel working to implement the new partnership between the leaders of Pakistan and the United States.'' The wording of the statement suggested that the US believes there is a growing militaristic constituency in Pakistan that is now operating independently of the civilian government. The blog Politico put it rather more bluntly under the headline, "Pakistan’s ISI steps up harassment of US Embassy," reporting that the ISI had even been putting pictures (with addresses) of US diplomatic personnel in Urdu newspapers" putting their lives in danger. "Several times recently the RSO (Regional Security officer) at the Embassy has had to contact folks in their offices during the day, and tell them that they can’t go home to their house tonight because of the unwanted attention caused by the ISI/Journalist provocations. Station and Embassy have complained to ISI - but no acknowlegement (not surprising) and no abatement of the activity (worrisome)," it quoted an Af-Pak hand as saying. Egged on by a hysterical section of the media promoting wild conspiracy theories, hard-line elements in the police and military have been detaining US vehicles and personnel, often accusing them of not carry proper diplomatic papers and registration and carrying weapons. US vehicles and personnel typically do not display diplomatic registration or identity so they cannot be identified by terrorist hit squads. One Pakistani newspaper called "Nation," which specializes in rabid conspiracy theories, ran a Wall Street Journal correspondent out of the country recently by alleging he was a CIA agent, recalling the horrible tragedy which befell his predecessor Daniel Pearl. The same paper has carried many stories about the alleged suspicious activity of US diplomats. In a stern warning to Pakistan, the US Embassy called for ''immediate action'' by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which it said ''has responsibility to facilitate proper arrangements under which a foreign mission may operate with full security.'' The mission also asked Pakistani officials ''to implement immediately the mutually agreed upon procedures for the issuance of license plates to US. Mission vehicles and to cease these contrived incidents involving US Mission vehicles and personnel.'' In the same toxic spirit, hard-line sections in Pakistan have also willfully contrived to distort remarks by the Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor to drum up hysteria over the alleged Indian threat. Familiar policy formulations by the Indian general that New Delhi has to prepare for a war under a nuclear overhang because of Pakistani provocation under nuclear cover, has been conflated to ''Indian General threatens Pakistan with nuclear war'' (despite India’s professed policy no-first-use of nuclear weapons). In the most recent instance, Kapoor’s remarks about the need for India developing capability to fight a two-front war has been translated to ''Indian General threatens Pakistan and China with war.'' While a few Pakistani analysts have responded soberly to the new doctrines being discussed in New Delhi, most commentators, including current and former generals, diplomats, and military frontmen, have reacted hysterically to what would be considered doctrinal deliberations in any mature society. The idea behind the whipping up of mass hysteria against US and India in what is now being dubbed ''Paranoidistan'' appears to be a ploy by hard-line elements in Islamabad to disengage from fulfilling its bilateral and international obligations to tackle terrorist elements. With each terrorist incident, Pakistan is coming under increasing pressure from US to give up its obsession with the non-existent threat from India and focus on confronting its home-grown threats eating away at the country. The Pakistani military has signaled clearly that it does not subscribe to the US prescription, and General Kapoor’s outline of new Indian doctrines has come in handy for this escape act. After distorting Gen Kapoor’s remarks and generating a sulfurous discourse in the media, the Pakistani military high command and the civilian cabinet defense committee both met last week to assert that ''Pakistan would never allow its security to be jeopardized.'' Pakistan’s beleaguered president Asif Ali Zardari, under pressure from the army, also joined this military-ISI generated hysteria by promising a 1000-year confrontation with India over Kashmir. None of this has escaped the attention of Washington, which this week dispatched yet another high-powered Congressional delegation led by former presidential candidate John McCain to talk sense to Pakistan. McCain was unrelenting in response to the familiar Pakistani protests against drone attacks, bluntly insisting that the ''(drone) attacks are imperative to defeat the enemy,'' and ''with an improved decision making process the civilian causalities are totally minimized.'' The US delegation also heard protests from the Pakistani leadership about security measures introduced by Washington for screening Pakistani nationals among citizens of 13 other state sponsors of terrorism and ''countries of interest.'' But with new arrests in the Najibullah Zazi case and developments in the CIA forward base bombing case both revealing links to Pakistan, US threshold for Islamabad’s antics is diminishing all the time even as Pakistan is seen as a state sponsor of terrorism in all but formal designation. In fact, Pakistan – or Paranoidistan, as some officials refer to it in private – becomes the immediate focus of attention after any terrorist attack, including ones like the Christmas Day bombing attempt of an airplane in Detroit, where there was no immediate Pakistani link. ''The fact that this particular person was not trained in Pakistan does not change the fact that the inspiration for all of this comes from al-Qaida, and al-Qaida's leadership is based in the remotest areas on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,'' US special representative to Af-Pak Richard Holbrooke, who will head to Islamabad next week, said at a meeting on Thursday. Separately, John Brennan, President Obama’s assistant for counterterrorism, said al-Qaida in Yemen, which trained the Christmas Day Nigerian bomber, ''is an extension of the terror outfit's core coming out of Pakistan.''

 
Comments:(0) Login or Register to post your Comment
(Available for registered users only)
 
 
 
News:
Date:
 
More News