Wanted: A better class of puppets

Imran Khan, Ahmed Quraishi, Zaid Hamid

A recently leaked internal US government document reveals that the world’s greatest military superpower fears that it is losing a propaganda war to ISIS. Actually, this is not much of a surprise. America is a non-Muslim country trying to persuade Muslims to reject an ideology that claims to be Islamic. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as America’s uncompromising support for Israel mean that the country lacks the credibility necessary to convince Muslims outside their own borders. The Americans seem to realise this to a certain degree, and along with their efforts to increase their own anti-extremist communications, the leaked memo notes that they are looking to Muslim countries for help. However, even though countering the ISIS propaganda is a goal that we have in common a serious problem remains: Our own propagandists are actually worse than the Americans.

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50 Years Old Tune

A lot has changed since last 50 years. As much is different, though, some things remain stubbornly the same. I was reminded of this when glancing at a newspaper recently and noticing a report re-printed from 1965 that contained these words:

[Meanwhile, as reported by our correspondent in Dacca] the President of the Pakistan National Awami Party, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, today [July 17] called upon the Government not to yield under any circumstances to the pressure tactics of America whose aid with strings attached was motivated to enslave Pakistan. He emphatically declared that the entire nation was prepared to make any supreme sacrifice to face the crisis created by the stoppage of American aid.

Addressing a Press Conference in the city this evening, Maulana Sahib asserted that the people of Pakistan would be happy to go poor rather than to compromise their sovereignty and national integrity with the imperialist Power. He assured President Ayub Khan that he would find all patriotic elements in the country rallying round him to face the open imperialist threat from outside and smash the imperialist intrigue within the country. In this context, he expressed the hope that the Socialist countries of the world would come out fully in support of Pakistan in her hour of need as they did in Egypt, Algeria, Cuba, Indonesia, and other suffering countries of the world.

My eyes popped and I had to check again to confirm what I had read. This was written 50 years ago! Such is obvious from the names of the generals and politicians, but the rhetoric they are saying could easily be from any report today! Accusing “pressure tactics of America whose aid with strings attached was motivated to enslave Pakistan”. Declaring that “entire nation was prepared to make any supreme sacrifice to face the crisis”. Calling on “all patriotic elements in the country rallying round him to face the open imperialist threat from outside and smash the imperialist intrigue within the country”. And calling on the West’s rivals to “come out fully in support of Pakistan in her hour of need”.

It is not often that one can see the script laid so bare before one’s eyes, but here it is before us. The same script that has been read for over 50 years and brought us to the sad state where we find ourselves today. It is the same script that is being shouted by today’s hyper-nationalist generals and politicians. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result. We are doing the same thing for half a century and expecting different result, and then?


From the saga of leaked London Police documents to the revival of the Tanveer Zamani circus, this week we have once again seen sensational rumours spreading like wildfire. Unfortunately, less sensational but far more important stories are all but missing from the discussion.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s advisers pushed for targeted actions including economic sanctions against Pakistan military officers who the US believed were supporting al Qaeda terrorists.

“Assuming we have adequate intelligence, we can go after bank accounts, travel and other reachable assets of individual Pakistani officers, raising the stakes for those supporting the militants without creating an inordinate backlash,” he wrote.

“Thanks, Sandy. This is very helpful,” Clinton replied. Through a spokesman, Berger declined comment on Wednesday.

While the US State Department believes Pakistan military officers have supported terrorists, they do not seem to have the same concerns about Indian support for terrorism inside Pakistan despite Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel telling parliament that he presented the evidence during his trip to Washington last year. Actually, the US denies that Pakistan has presented any evidence.

“I am not aware of any such delivery,” said US State Department spokesman John Kirby when asked at a news briefing if Pakistan had shared those proofs with the United States.

These stories should be just as sensational, if not more than those that have dominated media this week, however they do not satisfy our desire to vilify the hapless politicians. Because of this, they are not only considered un-sensational, they are barely considered news.

Safoora Misinformation Campaign Demands Answers

Safoora Bus Attack

It has been one week since terrorists boarded a bus and began carrying out cold blooded killings. Their victims, dozens of innocent Ismaili Muslims whose only fault was not subscribing to the same extremist interpretation of religion as their murderers. Despite obviously being the work of jihadi terrorists, almost immediately the attack was blamed on RAW. Our own intelligence agencies told media that they had obtained evidence of India being behind the attack, which was dutifully reported by unquestioning media. Political leaders, too, were taking in by this line with no less than CM Sindh who is working closely with the military on Karachi law and order operation announcing that he had been told intelligence agencies had “solid evidence” of India’s involvement in the attack. Now, however, the tune is changing. This is an embarrassment for media, political leaders, and most of all our own intelligence agencies. Worst of all, it is helping the very terrorists we are trying to defeat.

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RAW Accusations and Our National Credibility

Army’s broad accusation against Indian RAW of “whipping up terrorism” in Pakistan has been followed by allegations that RAW is responsible for specific terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. Various news channels reported that RAW was involved in the killing of Sabeen Mahmud. These reports were based on the statements of high level security sources.

Several news channels have now reported that ISI has obtained proof that RAW was behind the Safoora Chowrangi massacre.

These are serious charges. If they are correct, it means that a foreign agency has carried out a cross border killing of dozens of innocent civilians. This is a crime against humanity that carries serious consequences at the global level. If these accusations are correct, we can expel the Indian High Commissioner and all Indian diplomats as “persona non grata”. Our UN Ambassador can present the evidence before the UN and India can suffer economic sanctions or worse to compel it to stop its nefarious crimes. The true face of India can be exposed to the entire world.

However, what if we don’t do anything? What if we just report these accusations in Pakistan media and point fingers and talk about “evidence” without ever using the evidence to take appropriate action under international law? People like Zaid Hamid and Ahmed Quraishi have been blaming RAW since years, and this has destroyed their reputations. Now Army and Foreign Office are singing the same tune. If they fail to actually show any evidence and take the appropriate diplomatic and legal measures, we could face a future where our most sensitive institutions suffer the same blow to their own credibility in the eyes of the world.