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Friday, 24 December 2010

Wikileaks: Imran Khan Hits American Power For 6 Which Americans Say is Beyond Boundary

It was only meant to be a courtesy call by a delegation of US congressman to the splendid home of Imran Khan in the hills above Islamabad. But the embassy clearly hadn't done it's homework on Imran Khan, the outstanding former Pakistan Test all-rounder who had a reputation for blowing apart many a puffed up (cricketing) superpower, with bat or ball. But the US ambassador complained about being hit for 6, that Khan went beyond the boundaries of diplomatic delicacy. It just wasn't cricket, Anne Patterson, the ambassador, might have said.

According to Wikileaks cables released recently, US diplomats are supposed routinely to collect detailed personal information - finger prints, DNA, iris scans, frequent flyer accounts, email addresses, pager numbers, encryption codes, among other things. They ought, perhaps, to read the newspapers from time to time, before going to a country ravaged by the war on terror to lecture about the importance of law and order. They should have done their preparation before going to see the leader of Pakistan's iconoclastic Law and Justice Party (Tehreek-E-Insaf). They should have read up a little on the man they were about to meet for afternoon tea. They messed with the wrong guy.

US Embassy Cables reveal, or rather confirm, that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), which receives large-scale support from the US, backs, trains, protects and organises various terrorist groups and insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as those that attack Indian Kashmir and the ‘mainland’. Pakistan is described as an unstable state, with large lawless and ungoverned spaces, armed with nuclear weapons in violation of international non-proliferation treaties, which receives billions of dollars in US aid – long before Bush and during the Obama administration.

Yet, despite massive US aid, and the personal popularity of President Obama, cables reveal, “America is viewed with some suspicion by the majority of Pakistan’s people and its institutions… We are viewed at best as a fickle friend, and at worst as the reason why Pakistan is attacking its own…” The Pakistani administration is also officially confirmed as supporting US drone attacks in its own territory, with Prime Minister Gilani saying that “We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it” .

Cables also show that Pakistan's leaders knowingly permit US special forces to take action there as embedded units.

Embassy cables also note large-scale extra-judicial killings by security forces in frontier areas during anti-terrorist operations. While not condoning such abuses, the cable explains that civilian and anti-terrorist courts have a “poor record” and tend unconditionally to release detainees from border operations. Hence, soldiers and paramilitaries, who have a strict honour code, engage in “revenge killings”. For fear of undermining military “goodwill”, however, cables caution against public criticism.

Pakistani popular opposition to the United States was explained to US Representatives Stephen Lynch et al by Imran Khan. Citing claims and evidence that were recognised in previous embassy cables, Khan argued that drone attacks in tribal areas were not only wrong but counter-productive because they were radicalising youth and fuelling revenge killings by tribals.

On drone attacks, Khan “pointedly stated that the GOP allows the ‘drone attacks’ to occur, then lies to the Pakistani public that it has no control over them to deflect the public’s anger,” which was precisely the strategy pursued by Gilani. Khan urged “Dialogue, policing, and intelligence gathering… instead of the use of military force…”

After visiting Swat, Khan said, he was convinced the Army had engaged in “extrajudicial killings, summary executions, and ‘sexual humiliation’ of residents in some villages.” It was clear that “80% of Pakistanis believe the U.S. is a greater threat to Pakistan than India is,” Khan opined. The US was not supporting democracy in Pakistan and pursued excessively militaristic policies in Afghanistan.

It would be interesting to see any follow up cables on this matter as Khan outlined a radically different approach for US policy towards Pakistan, and issues related to the Af-Pak border.

Anne Patterson, the US ambassador who reported on the meeting and would have arranged the visit, is one of the few diplomats whose reputation is enhanced by the Wikileaks revelations.
So how did she not know that Imran Khan would give the congressman a piece of his mind?

Me thinks Patterson bowled them a googly. HOWZAT!

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