Bomb Proof Passports and Bullet Proof Denial

Pakistan Bomb Proof PassportWhen American media announced that Taliban chief Akhtar Mansour was killed by a US drone strike in Balochistan, the response of the state was silence. Soon came posts on social media with photos of a Pakistani passport and CNIC that were supposedly recovered from the scene. This was met with laughter by not only the hyper-nationalist crowd but even liberals. Jokes began to go around saying security forces were issuing new bullet proof jackets made of Pakistani passports. Even those criticising our Afghan policy found the situation ridiculous. How is it that a car and two people are completely incinerated by a hell fire missile but his Pakistani IDs just HAPPEN to survive in perfect condition? The answer was in the question: We were being framed. Again.

Only, this time at least, it appears that there was no framing. Sartaj Aziz has confirmed that the person killed in the attack was Mullah Mansour and that Pakistani authorities had identified him by DNA test. More surprising, though, was that the government confirmed that the official government documents that were recovered, the passport and CNIC, were authentic. They had a fake name, but they were real documents issued by NADRA. Interior Ministry has ordered a ‘crackdown‘ against officials for issuing the documents, but it is well known that those behind such things do not answer to the Interior Ministry.

Sometimes, ridiculous things happen. As ridiculous as it sounds, a hell fire missile did incinerate a car and two people yet a Pakistani passport and CNIC somehow survived intact. Does it matter that even the state has confirmed it? No, we will prefer to stick to our denials and our jokes about ‘bomb proof passports’. It may be a ridiculous mindset that refuses to believe what has already been confirmed, but if we start accepting these things then we will be forced to face the most ridiculous thing of all, which is our own foreign policy that causes such things in the first place. After all, Amir-ul-Momineen will come and go…but our denialism is truly bomb proof.

Can you untangle FO’s statement on ISIS?

Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah

Earlier this year, Foreign Secretary Azaz Ahmed Chaudhry admitted that Islamic State poses a “serious threat” to Pakistan. What seems obvious is newsworthy because it contradicted the long standing position of the Foreign Office that there is “no evidence” of ISIS presence in the country despite all evidence to the contrary. This week, the government returned to previous denials, but with a bit of a twist. Speaking at the weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah gave the following statement:

“There is no footprint of ISIL in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan have no ideological, ethnic or linguistic affinities with the organisation and its members. However, we have seen some pamphlets and wall-chalking. That is no proof of the presence of ISIL in Pakistan. Nevertheless, we are cognizant of the threat the ISIL poses. Our security agencies are aware of this threat and will take appropriate measures, if needed.”

This statement is an amazingly twisted web of contradictions that leaves little confidence in the government. How can the government say that no one in Pakistan has ideological affinities with the organisation? Has the FO spokesperson not seen the video of Jamia Hafsa students?


The FO even admits in its statement that “we have seen some pamphlets and wall-chalking“, but then terms all of this as “no proof.” Actually, pamphlets have been distributed since months demanding cooperation of people and recruiting supporters.

This is not “proof” for the government? Are they waiting for the self-described Khalifa to open its Embassy?

Then there is the claim that “our security agencies are aware of this threat and will take appropriate measures”. If there is no Islamic State presence in Pakistan, how can it be a threat that our security agencies are aware of?

Trying to unravel this web of doublespeak has only given me a headache. I am left with this question, how can we be expected to trust that the state to take the jihadi threat seriously when it continues to issue blatant denials that contradict obvious reality?

Why Is Everyone Out To Malign Pakistan?

Foreign Office

It has become a routine part of the Foreign Office’s job these days: Denying allegations of Pakistani involvement in this or that. Let us assume for the sake of argument that the Foreign Office is correct in all of its denials and each of the allegations lodged against Pakistan are meant to malign the country. The question remains, why is everyone out to malign us?

On Thursday,  the Foreign Office issued a statement rejecting Afghan claims that Pakistan is involved in terrorist attacks.

“We reiterate our categorical rejection of the Afghan allegations of involvement in terrorist attacks, insurgent activities or cross-border shelling. We also firmly reject any statements casting aspersions on Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.

This denial was issued the same day that the Foreign Office denied Indian claims that Pakistan’s diplomat in Colombo was an ISI agent plotting attacks against foreign consulates.

But it’s not just India and Afghanistan that are making such claims against Pakistan.

The Foreign Office has also had to deny Chinese claims that jihadi militants carrying out attacks in Xinjiang were being trained in Pakistan.

Sometimes, the denials come back to haunt us. The Foreign Office denied Iranian claims that missing border guards were being held in Pakistan, only to watch the Iranians released by Pakistani militants a few weeks later.

Pakistan strongly denied claims of former American military chief Admiral Mullen that Haqqani militants were a ‘veritable arm of ISI’, only to watch former DG ISPR Gen Abbas admit that Haqqani militants were being managed by intelligence agencies.

As seen in this brief list of examples, it’s not just Western countries that are making these accusations against Pakistan. Even our ‘all weather friend’ China is doing. In the latest allegations of our diplomat working for nefarious purposes in Sri Lanka, the claims were not actually originated in India but Malaysia – an Islamic country.

Whether or not these allegations are all true or all lies should be investigated properly so that we don’t continue to experience embarrassments such as happened when our denials become proven hollow. At the same time, we should also be reflecting on why Pakistan faces so many allegations from every corner of the globe.