Matthew Barrett: American Agent or Pakistan’s Pawn?

Matthew BarrettThe case of arrested American citizen Matthew Barrett is very strange. According to media reports, he is supposedly sent to spy on our nuclear installations. However, some things don’t quite make sense about the whole story.

First, if it is true that he is a spy who was caught red-handed and blacklisted by agencies, how did he get a visa? Supposedly the Interior Ministry is holding an investigation into this question, but already it has put the heat on FIA officials, immigration officials, Consulate officials, and others. Without an Ambassador we can scapegoat, we are left facing the idea that there is a widespread conspiracy within our own government to bring American agents into the country to spy on our sensitive installations.

Then there is the question of how incompetent the American agencies must be to send the same spy who had been caught red-handed just a few years ago. Certainly they must have realised he would be caught again. Or was this the idea all along?

The timing of the arrest must be noted as it comes only a few days after the US announced that it is withholding $300 Million funding to Pakistan Army. Was Matthew Barrett given a visa so that he would come to Pakistan where he could be arrested and used as a bargaining chip for Army to get its hands on those millions? Or is he just being used to whip up anti-Americanism in retaliation?

Unlike Kulbhushan Yadav, there are no claims that Matthew Barrett is an American military officer. Actually, there are reports that he has a Pakistani wife and children who he has been kept from visiting. The last time he was deported was in 2011 – the lowest year of Pakistan-US relations when we suffered the Raymond Davis incident, Salala attack, and Abbottabad raid. Is Matthew Barrett really a spy? Or are he and his poor family just unfortunate pawns in a game much bigger than they realise?

Whose Agenda Is Being Promoted?

World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis

The important role of our countrymen living overseas cannot be overstated. In addition to sending billions back home in remittances, overseas Pakistanis are having a major influence in politics by funding political parties. However, it is not only influence inside Pakistan that is taking place. According to a new report, a shadowy organisation in London called the ‘World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis’ has arm-twisted Oxford University into canceling speaking invitations to Hamid Mir and Malala Yousafzai. This report is disturbing enough by itself, but it also raises questions about how certain vested interests may be using overseas Pakistanis to promote a particular agenda in foreign countries.

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Foreign Agents Spreading Fitnah

shariah4Pakistan poster

Before I saw the headlines, someone had emailed me the poster. I wish I could honestly say that I was shocked, but it’s hard to shock me these days. Certainly ‘Shariah4Pakistan’ is not a shocking conference name. We hear this regularly implied if not expressed openly on talk shows. Terming Qaid-e-Azam as a ‘Traitor of Islam’ is stupid, but even that is sadly not surprising as religious extremism has become more and more mainstream. No, the one thing I found interesting about the poster were the names of the self-appointed Sheikhs who are invited to speak.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, aka ‘Sheikh Omar’ as he likes to call himself, is a British extremist who helped start the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Pakistan, in the UK. Omar has praised terrorism and has even been convicted of terrorism in absentia by a court in Lebanon.

Another speaker is the Londoner student of Omar, Anjem Choudary, a takfiri who condemns moderate religious groups as kufr. In 2008, Anjem declared that the Muslim Council of Britain were ‘selling their souls to the devil’ after they condemned the September 11 and July 7 terrorist attacks.

This is the group that is holding a conference in Islamabad. They are, by definition, foreign agents. And according to their own words they plan to declare Qaid-e-Azam as ‘Traitor of Islam’, the Constitution as ‘Kufr’, and they plan to issue a fatwa against Malala Yousafzai for wanting an education. And they plan to do this at Lal Masjid, an obvious scheme to open old wounds in society and incite more violence in our country.

They are, by definition, foreign agents who are planning on sowing fitnah in Pakistan. Question is, who gave them their visa? Why are these anti-Pakistan foreign agents being allowed to come into our country and incite hatred and violence?

This is more than a mere academic question. Last month, Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Maulana Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi condemned the attack on Malala Yousafzai.

“Islam is the only religion which strictly prohibits violence of any sort in the name of religion. Our Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) has strictly directed not to harm women, children and elderly and so much so has even directed not to damage trees and crops even during the ‘ghazwat’ that he fought against the infidels. How a person calling himself to be a Muslim can resort to such acts of violence and especially against an innocent minor girl of only 14 years? The perpetrators can not call themselves Muslims and this action of theirs has nothing to do with the teachings and preaching of Islam,” Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said.

He also urged the government to take every possible step to save the life of young Malala Yousafzai and at the same time take meaningful measures to promote the true teachings of Islam which preaches love, affection, tolerance, co-existence and abhor violence.

Will Maulana Ashrafi be made a fool of by these British Osama wannabes? Will the military stand by silently while foreign agents incite attacks and undermine our national security? Why are none of the self-appointed ‘defenders of Pakistan’ asking who issued these foreign agents their visas? How can we expect America to respect our sovereignty when we allow these militant ‘drones’ to threaten innocent girls?

These are not academic questions. They are questions of survival.