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July 6, 2013

Scholars, diplomats blast charge of being ISI agents

July 6, 2013

WASHINGTON: Twenty-six prominent scholars, journalists, former ambassadors and ex-generals have issued a joint statement denying that ISI had infiltrated some US think tanks, a charge leveled by a Pakistani scholar in an Indian newspaper.
“This letter is in response to the allegations made by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa in her tweets against Pakistani intellectuals working for think tanks in Washington DC, which were reproduced in The Times of India article of June 30th 2013, entitled ‘ISI has infiltrated US think tanks, Pak scholar says,’” they stated.
“The Times of India chose to carry a story based on unsubstantiated but extreme allegations targeting respected scholars; and neither Dr Siddiqa nor the editors have offered a single scrap of evidence for the vicious suggestion that our colleagues work for the Pakistani intelligence services. This is not the first time Dr Siddiqa has made such accusations and these are not the only people to have faced such attacks. Dr Siddiqa’s action is simply a disgraceful attempt to malign fellow experts with whom she disagrees,” they state.
“This is only the most recent example of a disturbing trend in public debate where disagreement is dealt with by accusations of someone working for one intelligence agency or the other. Any such baseless insinuations against respected scholars not only harm the individuals concerned; they also undermine free and honest intellectual debate concerning Pakistan. We wish to state clearly that such behavior has no place in any civilised and democratic discourse, no matter who the people involved are”.
“We call on Dr Siddiqa either to provide concrete evidence for her allegations, or immediately to retract and apologise for her statement; and we call on Times of India to refrain from propagating such unsubstantiated mudslinging.”
The statement has been signed by Safiya Aftab, Peter Bergen, Dr Wendy Chamberlin, Rasul Baksh Rais, Dr Stephen Cohen, Sheila Fruman, Ejaz

Haider, Yasser Latif Hamdani, Emma Hooper, Amb Tauqir Hussain, Zahid Hussain, Ayesha Jalal, Saba Khattak, Anatol Lieven, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood, Amb Cameron Munter, Dr Adil Najam, Dr Paula Newberg, Dr Paolo Cotta Ramusino, Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi, Dr Abid Suleri, Dr Marvin Weinbaum. Dr Anita Weiss, Dr Andrew Wilder, Huma Yusuf and Mosharraf Zaidi.

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