Shireen Mazari’s Latest Column: India, Anti-Americanism, and an Ideology of the Past

Shireen MazariShireen Mazari’s latest column, published in Express Tribune, reads like she’s not even trying anymore. A mix of unintended irony, conspiracy theories, and outdated ideology leftover from the Zia years, it is a perfect example of where we were in the past, and why it’s time to move on.

Shireen starts off by pointing out the irony in American concerns about whether Davis can receive a fair trial when some here had similar concerns about the fairness of the trial of Aafia Siddiqui. She asks “are we to try murderers based on how the US views these trials and condemn the credibility of our judiciary proactively?”

This may seem like a fair point at first, but note that Shireen Mazari fails to notice the irony in her own suggestion that Davis can receive a fair trial only moments after she declares him a ‘murderer’ who ‘did kill in cold blood!’ The court is not set to formally charge Mr Davis until March 3, yet Shireen Mazari has him already guilty in her own mind. And even if we are to accept that Aafia Siddiqui did not receive a fair trial in the US, is Shireen Mazari suggesting that we should throw injustice after injustice? Or are we supposed to believe that a court could find Mr Davis ‘not guilty’ and Shireen Mazari would gladly accept such an outcome?

Perhaps this is what she means when she says we should not ‘condemn the credibility of our judiciary proactively’: That she can only rate the credibility of the court once she knows that it agrees with her own opinion. It is certainly worth asking if a fair trial is possible before an injustice takes place rather than afterwards. If we are going to demand impartial justice for our own countrymen, should we not be willing to demand impartial justice for others?

And this is not the only example of Shireen’s confusion on the issues. For that perhaps we should consider her repeating the conspiracy theory that Davis has links to attacks on the security establishment. This assertion is ridiculous as it contradicts what the security establishment itself is saying.

Consider how CIA and ISI officials described the relationship of these agencies to a real journalist, Mr Declan Walsh of The Guardian

“They need to come clean, tell us who they are and what they are doing. They need to stop doing things behind our back,” he said. There are “two or three score” covert US operatives roaming Pakistan, “if not more”, he said.

CIA spokesman George Little said that agency ties to the ISI “have been strong over the years, and when there are issues to sort out, we work through them. That’s the sign of a healthy partnership”.

The ISI official agreed that future co-operation was vital. “They need us; we need them,” he said. “But we need to move forward in the right direction, based on equality and respect.”

The intelligence agencies are merely asking that the CIA cooperate more openly with them. So why is Mazari trying to create some suspicion between the two by suggesting that Davis was involved in conspiracies to attack Pakistan’s security?

To answer that question we may look to the conclusion of her piece which lays clear the out-of-date ideology that obsesses Shireen Mazari and the rest of the Ghairat Brigade – India. Yes, only a senior official of the Ghairat Brigade could analyse a situation in which a US Embassy employee shoots two armed men at Mozang Chowk and somehow find a link to India.

One issue has become evident: the US agenda for Pakistan has growing question marks to it. The appointment of Marc Grossman as Holbrooke’s successor is a case in point. A known critic of the ICC, as vice-chairman of the Cohen Group, he has been closely associated with furthering US-India relations, including in the aerospace and defence fields. The Cohen Group was in the forefront of lobbying for the US-India nuclear deal. Earlier, as undersecretary of state for political affairs, Grossman was the main architect of the “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership between the United States and India” initiative. An active Indophile will now be dealing with Pakistan on behalf of the US. This really says it all about US intent in Pakistan.

This is an old and discredited way of thinking. China signed trade deals worth billions with India, and nobody pretends that this means China has nefarious intentions towards Pakistan. Actually, nations like the US and China don’t view their relations with us and India as a zero-sum game in which they can only be friends with one or the other. They want good relations with both, and they prefer that our two nations are also in good relations.

Of course we need a better and more balanced relationship with the US. But the correct approach to this is not explained by Shireen Mazari, but by Shafqat Mahmood’s column for The News.

Pakistan and the US are interlinked in myriad of ways. It is not just the Kerry-Lugar aid money that we desperately need or the American acquiescence to IMF or other international donors aid packages. Our defence and security needs also dictate a continuing relationship with the United States.

We do not have to be subservient to it, and I do not think we have been. There are many issues on which the US has been pushing us for a long time but, we have not given in. In particular, we have stoutly resisted the American demand for an attack on North Waziristan or its interference with our nuclear programme.

Having said that, there is also no need to get into an adversarial relationship with it. It is true that the Americans should not let the Davis case impact the entire relationship. But this argument cuts both ways. We also should not let it affect our relationship with the United States.

But worst is the way that Shireen Mazari tries to smear the name of the American diplomat Marc Grossman by accusing him of being “an active Indophile” because he had a job at an American firm that performed business consulting in India. In a glaring act of omission that has become typical for Shireen Mazari, she did not mention that Marc Grossman served at the US Embassy in Islamabad from 1976-1983. She did not note that he served as US Ambassador to Turkey from 1989-1992. She did not note that in 1999 Mr Grossman helped direct US participation in NATO’s military campaign in Kosovo that saved the lives of countless Muslims. All of this information is readily available – I learned it from his Wikipedia page. But such facts are not of interest to Shireen Mazari. With such a history, why does Shireen Mazari not term him ‘an active Islamophile’?

Shireen Mazari represents an ideology leftover from the Zia years. It is an outdated way of thinking about national security that places India as the ultimate threat, even while religious militants are attacking within our own borders. It uses anti-Americanism as an excuse for internal problems and provides a scapegoat for political pied pipers who promise that we will live in paradise if we can only get rid of the ‘foreign hand’.

The truth is, it is Zia leftovers like Shireen Mazari – not the Americans – that are holding us back. They want to keep us tied down to a Cold War mentality because they know that in the 21st century, their ideology is as irrelevant as their phony ‘think tanks’.

6 thoughts on “Shireen Mazari’s Latest Column: India, Anti-Americanism, and an Ideology of the Past

  1. i got a question for you ………….. now that guardian and most american newspapers have confirmed that the guy whose cover name is raymond davis (original name is still unknown) has worked for XE( formerly known as black water) and CIA, what the was he doing in pakistan? and didn’t he killed 2 people in cold blood because of which 2 more died?
    why are the families of victims being pressurized not to say anything against america? why is america insisting that vienna convention of 1961 applies to the guy? when in fact it doesn’t Because he is not a diplomat. Even if it remotely applies its the vienna convention of 1963 rather than 1961.
    but what the hell? why am i discussing this at all? the fact of the matter is he was a trained intelligence operative who didn’t came on diplomatic visa so how can he claim immunity?
    i am quite sure this comment will get deleted……… i’ll come again and again to check when it does get removed

  2. Usman, you ask very good questions. I will do my best to answer them.

    1) Somebody can be a spy and a diplomat also. Do you think that some of our spies are not using diplomatic cover in other countries? This is normal practice. This post by Feroz Khan explains very well: http://pakteahouse.net/2011/02/23/even-if-raymond-davis-is-an-intelligence-officer-will-he-still-have-diplomatic-immunity/

    2) Are you sure the families of the victims are being pressurized not to say anything against America? I think they are being threatened by Taliban not to take any diyah. What if the families want to accept this in exchange for Raymond Davis?

    3) Why do you think your comment will be deleted? You ask good questions, and this is an open forum to discuss them.

  3. Did you ask Shireen Mazari out for dinner at Chinese or Italian cuisine and she abruptly said No! Since then you
    have not spared her. Give her space she has her rights to
    express her views as much to your dislike.

  4. My question to you is,do you still think USA and Hindustan are our friends?Are the CIA’s activities against Pakistan are justified?Why you so called liberals are so much against Zia(even after his tragic death)?
    I hope you will give straight answers to these questions openly.

    • @Sardar I think you’re looking at it incorrectly. Are USA and India our “friends”? What does “friends” mean in the context of nations? Is China our friend? Is Saudi Arabia? I have shown several times that these countries also are simply using Pakistan for their own goals. But that’s what all nations do. No nation is selfless in its “friendship” with another nation, it will always put its own interests first. If you think about the USA and India in this way, then the answer to your question is where do our mutual interests intersect? It is there that you will find any “friends”.

      Are the CIA’s activities in Pakistan justified? First I will ask justified to who? To the CIA? Probably. To us? Probably not. But then you must also consider which activities you are referring to. Drone strikes? These are done with the full cooperation of our own military and intelligence agencies. Does that make them “against” Pakistan or “for” Pakistan? What about Raymond Davis? Read the statements of ISI officials. They themselves say that they work directly with the CIA and they are only annoyed that they were not informed that this man was an operative. If the CIA informs ISI of their operatives, does that make them still “against” Pakistan? Who decides? The answer to your question is more complicated than you think.

      The answer to your last question is much easier. Why are people against Zia? The answer to that lies in the murders of innocents by his legacy of militant groups and sectarianism in the country.

  5. Sir,you bashed at shireen mazari, but i wonder why you havent said anything about her master in politics i.e. imran khan. i sometimes wonder, which side is imran khan on? in pakistan he is taliban advocate and rightist, in west he is leftist. shireen mazari herself is not alone, she is working in imran khan party as well. sometimes i think imran khan is taliban khan and shireen mazari is lady taliban.

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