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Tag Archives | blackwater

A history of violence

On Saleem Shahzad’s killing.

The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad near Islamabad is but another example of the perils journalists face in Pakistan today for challenging the conspiracy-riddled narratives of the military-jihadi complex.  Through his articles in Asia Times, Mr. Shahzad gave us perspective on the inner workings of the MJC and its internal competitive dynamics.  Lesser journalists in Pakistan who tow the line of the MJC by putting forth conspiracy theories of underhand foreign agencies working in concert to dismember Pakistan are lionized and rewarded.  Little wonder then, that Pakistan ranks as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists (Freedom House, 2011).

Voice of America Urdu’s Waseem A. Siddiqui catalogs the history of violence (اردو) :
Pakistan journalists killed

Readers of this blog are no doubt familiar with the conspiracy theory-ridden narratives in Pakistan’s vernacular press.  Almost every tragedy in Pakistan is attributable to the machinations of the CIA, R&AW, Blackwater or Mossad.  Their ultimate quest being Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.  It should come as no surprise then that the recent attacks against a Pakistan Navy base in Karachi were immediately attributed to India.  Because that’s easy. And convenient.

In her recent visit to Pakistan, following the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton urged Pakistanis to understand that conspiracy theories “will not make their problems disappear.” But with journalists like these, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Further reading: A brave piece by Mehmal Sarfraz, and Syed Saleem Shahzad’s brilliant interview/report on the resurgence of Ilyas Kashmiri and the 313 Brigade.


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Urdunama: Raymond Davis

It has surfaced that Raymond Davis, the U.S. citizen arrested in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis, is actually a CIA contractor who provided security to agency stations in Pakistan.  This will further complicate matters between the U.S. and Pakistan on the status of Mr. Davis.

The shrillness and rhetoric in Pakistan’s Urdu press, which has led a campaign for capital punishment for Mr. Davis since his capture, will only grow.  As an example, Roznama Ausaf’s February 22 editorial challenges the U.S. to make good on threats from some quarters in D.C. to withhold military and non-military aid to Pakistan if Mr. Davis is not released.  An excerpt of the editorial follows:

America will continue its “carrot and stick” policy with Pakistan.  It will try to bribe its way out of its current predicament.  But does it not realize that a country of 170 million people with one the finest armed forces in the world cannot be bought?  The U.S. will probably increase the amount of money it is willing to pay to seek the release of Raymond Davis.  Mr. Davis’ importance to the U.S is apparent given the lengths to which they are prepared to go to secure his release.  No doubt, he was part of a larger U.S. conspiracy against Pakistan.

The U.S. may also threaten to withdraw military and non-military aid to Pakistan.  However, if they do follow through on this threat, what do they think will happen to Pakistan’s military operations in FATA?  Does the U.S. realize what impact a Pakistani withdrawal from FATA will have on its war in Afghanistan?

This isn’t the first time that Pakistan would have had to face sanctions from the U.S.  Each time the U.S. has punished us with economic and military sanctions, Pakistan has responded — by becoming a nuclear power, by upgrading our missile technology, and by strengthening our armed forces.   Let the U.S. be under no illusions that once that “safety valve” that Pakistan has kept secure in the tribal regions is open, the U.S. will not be able to deal with the repercussions, even after spending another trillion dollars.

It is therefore advisable that the U.S. come clean about all its activities in Pakistan, ask for forgiveness, and allow Raymond Davis to suffer the consequences of his actions.   Times have changed. [روزنامہ اوصاف]

An approximate Hindi translation of Ausaf’s editorial can be accessed here (thanks @SundeepDougal).  Also follow my monthly review of Urdu and Arabic news media in Pragati.

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Waqt-i-Leaks

Nawa-i-waqt and its ilk must be called out.

The Nawa-i-Waqt Group launched an insidious campaign to malign India, all the while purporting its source to be classified comments made by U.S. officials, now made public through the Wikileaks exposé.  The trouble for the Nawa-i-waqt Group is that The Guardian, which does have full access to the all of the undisclosed Wikileaks content, confirmed that nothing akin to what was being claimed existed in the leaked cables.  In other words, Nawa-i-waqt was making stuff up and passing it off as fact.  And anyone familiar with Nawa-i-Waqt’s body of work will know that the media group has a long and storied tradition in fabricating news.

Until very recently, its English-language newspaper, The Nation, was edited by Dr. Shireen Mazari, a former Director, Institute of Strategic Studies (Islamabad) and columnist for the Jang Group‘s The News, from where she was summarily dismissed, (for allegedly) having pushed propaganda pieces once too often for the U.S.’s liking.  Dr. Mazari was subsequently hired as editor of The Nation, where she ran an editorial accusing a Wall Street Journal Pakistan correspondent Matthew Rosenberg of being a chief operative for the CIA, Blackwater and Mossad, putting his life at risk in the country.  Her editorial campaigns against India are well known to those who have followed Pakistan’s media over the years.  She recently parted ways with the Nawa-i-Waqt group, allegedly over editorial differences.

The Nawa-i-Waqt group’s status as an anti-India propaganda machine is well-documented.  It is chaired by (Spin) Doctor Majid Nizami, who routinely calls for a nuclear confrontation with India, offers vocal support to LeT’s Hafiz Saeed, and hopes one day to see the reunification of Pakistan with Bangladesh.  Dr. Nizami is also chairman of the Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust, whose Advisory Council includes, among others, former DG-ISI Hamid Gul, who openly declares his solidarity with the Taliban and al-Qaeda (he refers to Osama bin Laden as a “great Muslim warrior”).

Even so, the Nawa-i-Waqt Group’s own Wikileaks — the Waqt-i-Leaks — are perfidious and vulgar.  Some statements, purportedly made by U.S. officials about India and senior officers (past and present) of the Indian Army are listed below:

The U.S. has said that India’s Hindu extremist groups are far more dangerous to global and regional peace than al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The Indian Army is involved in supporting Hindu extremist groups, whose objective is to portray their terrorists acts as having been conducted by India’s Muslims, the Pakistani Army and intelligence agencies.  Another U.S. cable indicated that the ISI was not involved in any terrorist acts in India.  [نواےوقت]

Yet another cable suggested that the current Army Chief of Indian General VK Singh was having an aggressive approach and believes that “offense is the best defence”. General Singh has also been described as “Pakistan, China centric”, with an added aggression towards China. The cable mentioned General Singh as an egotist, self-obsessed, petulant and idiosyncratic General, a braggadocio and a show-off, who has been disliked (and barely tolerated) by all his subordinates. An earlier cable described Indian Army in gross Human rights violations in Indian Held part of Jammu and Kashmir while some Lt. Gen HS Panag, the then GOC-in-Chief of the Northern Command of the Indian Army was equated with General Milosevic of Bosnia with regard to butchering Muslims through war crimes. [The Nation]


An earlier cable did rule out any direct or indirect involvement of ISI in 26/11 under Pasha’s command while Mumbai’s dossier, based on prime accused Ajmal Kasab’s confessional statement was termed funny and “shockingly immature”. Another cable confirmed the interception of radio communication by Pakistani and NATO forces in regional Indian languages in the Waziristan agencies [The Nation]

Of course, these could all be rated somewhere along the mildly amusing — hysterically funny continuum, were one not to account for the fact that the Nawa-i-Waqt Group is one of Pakistan’s largest media groups (in terms of circulation) and that half a million people in Pakistan read this propaganda peace, believing most of it. The Guardian coming out to highlight these cooked-up stories is important, but it is equally important for condemnation to come from the Indian media as well.

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Link Digest: July 3, 2010

Haqqani, Data Darbar, F-16s, Blackwater and the Narayanpur CRPF ambush.

Your weekly link digest:

  • Haqqani talks: The leaks are important but so is the leaker: Is Sirajuddin Haqqani in negotiations with Hamid Karzai?  Greg Carlstrom reviews.
  • Data Darbar — The target-in-waiting gets hit: Amil “Londonstani” Khan shares interesting perspectives on the July 1 Data Durbar shrine attack in Lahore.
  • F-16s debilitating conditionalities: Apparently, you can please some people none of the time.  Dr. Shireen Mazari is unhappy about the conditions-attached F-16s delivered to the Pakistani Air Force. Meanwhile, despite Sec. Robert Gates’ assurances to New Delhi, PAF’s Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman unilaterally declared that his country was free to use these aircraft as it pleased (اردو).
  • Peace sacrificed in shrine attack: Syed Saleem Shahzad writes about the Data Darbar attacks, though the interesting bits of this article lie in last section of the article.  If accurate, it would mean that private defense contractors from the U.S. are attempting to establish operations in South Punjab.
  • Military power: key to India’s future: Bharat Verma highlights the challenges India faces as its profile on the global stage grows.
  • The Forest is Moving: Saikat Datta laments on the structural decay of the CRPF after yet another Maoist ambush resulted in 27 deaths in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh.
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