A US Counteroffensive In Pakistan

Posted by Ahmed Quraishi on Sep 27th, 2009

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A Loose Coalition Of Pro-American Politicians, Writers, Academics To Promote US Goals, Isolate Pak Military



The Americans are now setting the policy agenda in Pakistan in direct talks with Pakistani political parties.  To ensure privacy, these talks are being held in Washington, away from prying eyes and ears in Pakistan.  Pakistani politicians, writers and some academicians are being recruited to promote US policies and isolate the Pakistani military and intelligence.  This is how a superpower occupies a nuclear-armed nation. Covertly.


Face Of An American Bully In Islamabad:

Is it our country or yours, Madam Ambassador?


By AHMED QURAISHI| Sunday, 27 September 2009


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—US political and military officials go on the offensive inside Pakistan, boldly confronting critics and seeking to build a coalition of pro-American supporters across Pakistani politics, media and the academia.  The goal is to create a domestic counter to the entrenched Pakistani policymaking establishment [read 'the military'] that is resisting American efforts to force Pakistan to become a voluntary full-fledged second theater of war after Afghanistan.

Signs of the new American aggressiveness abound from increased willingness of US diplomats in Pakistan to confront their local critics, to sweet-talking Pakistani politicians, media and academicians into openly promoting the US agenda through sponsored visits to Washington and Florida.

This is similar to a Plan B:  using local actors to force change from within.  Plan A, which was focused on coercive diplomacy and threats of sending boots on the ground into Pakistan, failed to yield results over the past months.

In essence, the United States is covertly raising an army of special agents and soldiers on Pakistani soil, with the help of local Pakistani accomplices, but without the full knowledge of the Pakistani military to avoid a confrontation.

This counteroffensive began with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson’s attempt to intimidate a Pakistani columnist and a known critic of US policies.  Ms. Patterson did not seek a public debate to counter criticism.  Instead, she resorted to backchannel contacts to have the writer blocked.  In so doing, Ms. Patterson unwittingly broke a new barrier for US influence, creating precedence for how the US embassy deals with the Pakistani media.  This is something that the Ambassador’s counterparts could never imagine pulling off in places like Moscow, Ankara, or Cairo.

Buoyed by this, the Ambassador went on the offensive.  This month, she held a press conference, released a long policy statement, and met Prime Minister Gilani to reassure him after reports suggested her government did not trust Islamabad with the expected aid money.  She also appeared on primetime television, carefully choosing a nonaggressive TV talk show as a platform to address Pakistanis glued to their sets in peak evening hours. 


US ambassador Anne Patterson kicking off her media offensive in Pakistan on Sept. 19, 2009, telling her polite Pakistani television host she intervened to stop a Pakistani columnist from writing against her government and insisted she will do this again because criticism in her view endangers the lives of US citizens in Pakistan. A pro-US Pakistani government failed to take notice the envoy’s extracurricular activities.


The television appearance coincided with an interview she gave to a US news service accusing Pakistan of refusing to join the US in eliminating one of the Afghan local parties – the Afghan Taliban – whom her own government and military failed to wipe out in Afghanistan in eight years of war.  The statement played on the usual American accusations, backed by no evidence, that seek to explain the growing disenchantment of the Afghan people with the failed American occupation of their country by linking it to alleged Pakistani sanctuaries and covert support.

But hours before her television appearance, on Sept. 19, Pakistani police raided the Islamabad offices of Inter-Risk, a Pakistani security firm representing American defense contractor DynCorp, where a huge quantity of illegal sophisticated weapons was confiscated.  According to one news report, the Pakistani owner of the firm, retired Captain Ali Jaffar Zaidi, escaped from his house hours before the police arrived.  A Pakistani journalist, Umar Cheema, who works for The News, confirmed in a published statement that Mr. Zaidi told him a day before the raid that “the US embassy in Islamabad had ordered the import of around 140 AK-47 Rifles and other prohibited weapons in the name of Inter-Risk” and that “the payment for the weapons would be made by the embassy.”

[The News reports today that the government has "disbanded" Inter-Risk, voiding its contract with both the US embassy and with DynCorp.  The company director Capt. Zaidi remains at large.]

In other words, Pakistani security authorities have found American and Pakistani citizens working for the US embassy involved in suspicious activities.

What Really Happened?

US ambassador Anne Patterson used her goodwill to seek the personal intervention of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik to obtain licenses for prohibited weapons.

Sixty-one pieces of sophisticated weapons were seized by the police at the Inter-Risk/DynCorp facility.

The question is: Why did the Pakistani police confiscate the weapons if they were duly licensed by the government?

The only logical answer is that the licensing procedure, which includes clearance from the country’s intelligence and security departments, was not followed.  

Apparently, Washington’s staunch allies inside Pakistan’s elected government helped their friends with advanced weapons into the country without the knowledge of important national security departments of the government.

This raises serious questions because of several reports recently that implicate Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, in issuing a large number of visas to US citizens without proper clearance from Islamabad.  Since US tourists are not exactly flocking to Pakistan, Amb. Haqqani is suspected of having facilitated private US security agents to enter Pakistan.  A spate of recent reports have exposed the presence of private American security firms on Pakistani soil.

When the country’s security departments finally paid attention to Ambassador Haqqani’s indiscretions, the ambassador, who is a former journalist, is suspected of leaking a protest letter he wrote to his country’s intelligence chief, apparently attempting to clear his name before his American friends.  Of all places, the letter, which is a classified government communication, surfaced in New Delhi, on the screen of an Indian television news channel.   

Ambassador Haqqani's confidential letter that blasts the ISI was an internal communication of the Pakistani government. But it somehow surfaced in New Delhi. Pakistanis joke that Mr. Haqqani is 'the US ambassador to the the Pakistani embassy in Washington DC.' Mr. Haqqani himself told Richard Holbrooke once he was 'Mr. America' in Pakistan.

Ambassador Haqqani's confidential letter, dated 19 Sept. 2009, that blasts the ISI was an internal communication of the Pakistani government. But it somehow surfaced in New Delhi. Pakistanis joke that Mr. Haqqani is 'the US ambassador to the the Pakistani embassy in Washington DC.' Mr. Haqqani himself told Richard Holbrooke once he was 'Mr. America' in Pakistan.




On Sept. 30, Mr. Ansar Abbasi of The News published the full content of a letter written by Ambassador Patterson to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, dated March 30, 2009, seeking his “intervention” to grant Inter-Risk and DynCorp “the requisite prohibited bore arms licenses to operate in the territorial limits of Pakistan and as soon as possible.”


The letter creates a new dent in the US embassy’s credibility. The embassy has been downplaying the presence of private US security firms in the country. released fresh evidence this month showing the infamous US security firm formerly known as Blackwater recruiting military-trained agents fluent in Urdu and Punjabi.


A screen grab from the secure server of, dated 9 Sept. 2009, shows the American defense contractor hiring Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking agents to serve in Pakistan. Urdu is the national language and Punjabi is spoken in areas were important nuclear installations are located. The pro-US government of Asif Zardari and the US Embassy in Islamabad are desperately trying to deny the presence of American mercenaries on Pakistani soil.

A screen grab from the secure server of, dated 9 Sept. 2009, shows the American defense contractor hiring Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking agents to serve in Pakistan. Urdu is the national language and Punjabi is spoken in areas were important nuclear installations are located. The pro-US government of Asif Zardari and the US Embassy in Islamabad are desperately trying to deny the presence of American mercenaries on Pakistani soil.


To quell the controversy, Ambassador Patterson went on record confirming that five million US dollars will be spent by her government to build new living quarters for US Marines within the embassy compound in Islamabad. But the number of marines utilizing this facility will not exceed 20, she assured Pakistanis recently. 


The Sept. 19 raid, however, proves there will be a far larger number of armed Americans on Pakistani soil eventually than the figure given by Ambassador Patterson.




The strong denials of US officials on the presence of private US security firms in Pakistan do no tally with the circumstantial evidence.  At least three verified incidents have been reported in Islamabad alone over the past few weeks that involve armed US individuals in civilian dresses.  In two incidents, Pakistani police officers arrested and then released armed civilian Americans after intervention from the US embassy.  In one incident, a Pakistani citizen reported being assaulted by armed Americans in civilian clothes.  Police officers refused to register a complaint against the Americans for fear of being reprimanded in case of intervention by the US embassy.





Private US security agents sneaking into Pakistan is one level of the current US engagement with Pakistan.  Another level is political and seeks to isolate the Pakistani policymaking establishment, and especially the Pakistani military and the country’s powerful intelligence agencies, from within, after months of incessant one-sided US media campaign demonizing the country’s military and intelligence services.


On the political front, Washington’s Pakistan handlers have launched a new bout of US meddling in domestic Pakistani politics.  The US government has put into high gear its contacts with Pakistani political parties.  Washington is now conducting direct diplomacy with these parties.


A high level delegation of MQM, which controls the port city of Karachi, the starting point of US and NATO supplies headed for Afghanistan, is in Washington meeting US political and military officials. 


A similar exercise is planned with the ANP, the small ex-Soviet communist ally currently governing the NWFP, the Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan.


Both parties came to power thanks to former President Musharraf’s secret ‘deal’ brokered by Vice President Dick Cheney and his State Department officials in 2007.  The deal sought to create a pro-American ruling coalition in the country that would ensure that the Pakistani military is aligned with the US strategic goals in the region.


The Americans are trying to accentuate what they see as pro-Indian, pro-American strains within the two parties. 


Washington began this program quietly in 2007 after getting a green signal from President Musharraf to increase US involvement in Pakistani politics.  There are reports that nazims of several districts in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP were invited to Washington to meet US government and military officials over the past thirty months.  But these were very low key visits.  In fact, they were so secretive that ANP chief Asfandyar Wali refused in early 2008 to confirm or deny a visit he made to Washington after the Feb. 2008 elections in Pakistan.  In contrast, no effort was made this time to downplay the current visits by MQM and ANP delegations to Washington and their meetings with US and NATO officials.  And as in all of these covert visits, the federal Pakistani government, the Foreign Office and the country’s security departments are not privy to what is being discussed between US officials and the leaders of the two Pakistani political parties on US soil.  In fact, US officials arranged the meetings on US soil precisely in order to circumvent the Pakistani government.


While there is no immediate evidence that Pakistan should be alarmed by Washington’s direct diplomacy with Pakistani political parties outside Pakistan’s territory, Islamabad needs to be wary of strong strains within Washington’s policy establishment that have been focusing on exploiting Pakistan’s ethnic and linguistic fissures in order to support its so-called ‘Af-Pak’ agenda. 


A lot of work has been done over the past three years in several Washington think tanks on Pakistan’s linguistic and ethnic fissures and how these can be exploited by Washington to weaken Islamabad and force it to follow the US agenda in Afghanistan and the region.


During Pakistan’s worst domestic instability in 2007, mainstream US media outlets were leaking policy and intelligence reports focusing on alleged separatism in several Pakistani regions.  This week, some of the most ardent American supporters of separatism inside Pakistan – the usual suspects from the US think-tank circuit – came together in Washington to launch a political action committee that seeks independent status for a Pakistani province, Sindh.  The ceremony for the launch of the ‘Sindhi American Political Action Committee’ was addressed by Selig Harrison and Marvin Weinbaum, two think-tank types with extensive links to the US intelligence community and both advocates of engagement with Pakistani separatists as a leverage against Islamabad.


The new American confidence in openly meddling in Pakistani politics should raise alarm bells in the Pakistani capital.  This is the strongest sign yet of how weak the federal Pakistani government, and in turn Pakistan itself, appears to outsiders.


The weakness of Pakistan’s ruling elite is inviting American hounding at a time when the American bully is on the retreat elsewhere.



A condensed version of this report was published by The Nation of Lahore on Saturday.



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7 Responses for “A US Counteroffensive In Pakistan”

  1. Sidra says:

    @Al Faris,,,Absoultely awesome. Faris you made my day. Thats how thiese dirty losers should be slapped right on face.

  2. Pakistani First says:

    To put US Ambassador on the back foot. Please decry Blackwater/XEs shameless supporters. Kestral Logistics and Kestral SPD Headquartered at 28B,St41,F-7/1(2655790). They own a warehouse on #295,St3,I-9/3.Arms, wpns,Hummers,APCs are brought secretely without proper documentation or approvals with US Embassy help.They have,like Inter Risk, a Security Company,\”GlobalResponse\”. Rtd Two Star and Several Brigs hire ex SSG commandos who are trained by Foreigners. These guys must be stopped.They are US/Canadian nationals themselves.On their payroll in USA and Pakistan Christina Rocca,naval,airforce and interior ministry officers exist.Lets stop them.

  3. Charandas Sahay says:

    Wait for a few more years. Once Uighur Muslims start creating more trouble for China, you will find Chinese military people stomping all over Pakistan. Just like today American soldiers are romping all over your beloved country with their heavy boots – aur sala tu khwab dekhta hai India ki barbadi ka. Dekh Dekh sale, Khwab dekh because aur kuch dekhne ko nahin milega. Haan !

  4. Charandas Sahay says:

    Pakistan was born before 1947 and before Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ? When was the Pakistan consitution formed ? in 1847 or maybe 1147 perhaps ? Very funny ! Also where on earth did you learn your maths – 1200 years of foreign rule ? India was under foreign occupation from 1857 till 1947 – 90 years. That is all.

    How much of India\’s GDP comes from Taj Mahal – not even pocket change ? You are another short sighted individual I can observe.

    China is superior to India in certain respects today just because of our inept leadership. China attacked India without warning in 1962. Before India could understand what was happening the Chinese retreated like the cowards they were. Rather India punished Pakistan time and again for their indiscretions. India severed Pakistan of Bangladesh for trying to act smart. So if you stop spreading lies and have the courage to face the truth, the reality is you hate India because India is progressing while Pakistan is regressing. That is the real and only truth. Everybody fears a resurgent India and the most is Pakistan.

    You guys are good in cricket and making food – kababs and dals. I suggest you stick to that.

  5. Al Faris says:

    You dirty smelly cow-urine drinking bhindian! using names like \”Mohsin Khan\” lol! u idiot – this is not a mollywood movie!

    Pakistan was born long before Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi or 1947!

    Stop trolling around foreign countries\’ blogs and mind your own business.

    Have you forgotten your history of the last 1,200 years? : 1,000 years of monotheist Muslim rule and 200 years of monotheist Christian rule.

    You insignificant rat: thank the Muslims who gave you basic sanitation and dress sense and plumbing in residential areas and the Taj Mahal from which you eat tourist rupees to this day! and thank the monothesit Christians from the UK who gave you English language as a result of which you can run numerous crappy call centres!

    This is your reality. Try to stop showing off in a dream world thinking you are superior: look around you: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, etc. : NO ONE LIKES YOU or thinks much of you – all of these countries never want anything to do with your bhindia, understand?

    And remember what your reality is when you compare yourself to someone closer you in size: China! lol! remember 1962? you can only waste your time trying to bully smaller countries and feeling superior in an attempt to cover-up the reality of your cowardice and your slave-nation: remember Aryans, Arabs, Iranians, Afghans, Europeans, etc. all have easily come and crushed you.

    If you are not careful, you might not be so lucky in the next 1,000 year monotheist rule over your silly bhindia.

  6. Mohsin Khan says:

    Pakistan must bow down to India and accept India\’s sovreignity if it has to save itself. There is no other choice for a nation reduced to beggars. Bowing to China or US will not help Pakistan any more. True salvation lies in vowing down to India.

  7. Al Faris says:

    Unfortunately, this is nothing new or surprising. But what do you expect is going to happen to a country that has forgotten its past, is least bothered about its present and doesn\’t even have the ability to draft any future strategic goals.
    Pakistanis waste a lot of time in indulging in \”allegiance\” to a foreign, eastern, alien culture – as long as Pakistanis (the masses, all classes from the ordinary to the elite) do not get over the \”indian hangover\”, these problems will persist.
    When 90% of the energies and time in a country\’s foreign policy portfolio is WASTED on a single alien eastern neighbour whose track record for the last 60 years plus has been nothing short of pathetic, then how do you get time to manage your affairs tactfully in the 21st century??!

    As long as indian culture and its crappy by-products are not purged from our beloved Pakistan, we will and the world will not see the real Pakistan.

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