Tuesday, January 12

Rawalpindi sends another loud message to international press and US State Dept.

Pakistan's domestic press corps got the message when Saleem Shahzad was beaten to death in 2011 although Shahzad, a Pakistani, worked for the international press (Asia Times).  But it seems that even after New York Times Pakistan Bureau Chief Declan Walsh was expelled in 2013 for "undesirable activities," the international press is still having a hard time hearing when Rawalpindi speaks. 

And so Pakistan's rulers are graciously repeating themselves with ever more frequency these days. And so veteran New York Times correspondent in Pakistan, Salman Mosood, a Pakistani, found his residence the object of a warrantless police search conducted by Pakistan Rangers. The Rangers are a paramilitary organization directly under the control of Pakistan's Ministry of the Interior and greatly involved with counterterrorism operations.  

The search was followed by a protest from NYT HQ. This was followed by an explanation from the Minister of the Interior saying it was a routine operation and of course there would be a full investigation.    

The incident prompted Pakistani journalists to walk out of a National Assembly meeting in protest, and today the Washington Post's Pakistan bureau chief, Tim Craig -- himself under close scrutiny by Pakistani authorities -- took pen in hand, as it were, to discuss the search and general situation for the international press Pakistan: N.Y. Times says Pakistan raid of reporter’s home requires full inquiry:
Over the past year, foreign journalists have reported increased difficulty in obtaining or renewing visas.
Last month, Reuters reported that its staff, along with journalists from other media outlets, including The Washington Post, were being followed and harassed as they sought to gather information on the Pakistani woman who carried out the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Pakistani leaders later blamed overzealous local security officials for those troubles.
But these foreign journalists don't also report for a Pakistan newspaper, whereas Salman Masood does, so I don't know what NYT HQ is thinking by allowing Masood to keep reporting for the domestic press. Maybe the editorial board thinks he's safer if he also works for the Times. Maybe the Asia Times thought Shahzad was safer because he worked for the international press.  

I don't know what else to say that hasn't been said thousands and thousands of times about Pakistan. I also don't know how many warnings the U.S. Department of State has to hear before it abandons its destructive policy on Pakistan -- a policy that endures no matter what kind of administration is in the White House.  

But get it straight. Gen. Raheel Sharif is working from Xi Jinpeng's playbook. So don't give me the crap that you're worried about Al Qaeda's infiltration of Pakistan's military. Sharif will deal with things in his own way and time. Make no mistake, he will impose law and order on Pakistan. Does State understand English or how else should I put this?  

What State needs to do is work on its own situation, which is so destructive to the United States it's a wonder the Pentagon hasn't designated it a Fifth Column.


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