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India upset at Ambassador Ali Jehangir’s efforts to improve Pak-US ties

By Our Correspondent
September 18, 2018

KARACHI: It seems that Indians are unhappy with the efforts of Pakistani Ambassador to the US Ali Jehangir Siddiqui for improving Pakistan’s relationship with the United States.

Recently, a powerful Jewish American group’s chairman supported Pakistan’s position on closer defence cooperation, sales of armaments as it also recognised Pakistan’s great sacrifices in the war on terror.

This happened after Ali Jehangir Siddiqui met this group and advocated for Pakistan’s success in fighting terror and asked for recognising Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terror. The Indian newspaper Economic Times, a part of the prestigious Times of India group of newspapers, published an article on Sept 4, 2018, interestingly timed the day before the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford arrived in Pakistan for meetings with the Pakistani government before going to New Delhi. Titled ‘Why is the President of a Jewish group defending Pakistani’ the article was scathing in its criticism on Pakistan writing “…while it (Pakistan) has no real well-wishers left in the US Congress or the Pentagon, and these days even the State Department struggles mightily to whitewash its crimes.”

“US Secretary of State Pompeo is expected to deliver, what the deeply concerned Indian newspaper critically described as “a tough message to Pakistan during his brief stopover (to Pakistan) before arriving in India later in the day.”

However, at the same time, the Indian newspaper admitted that the Pakistani Ambassador Siddiqui had won support from a powerful Jewish group to lobby for its help in the US.

“But the resourceful Pakistanis have found themselves as most curious defender of their cause – Jack Rosen, President of the Jewish American Congress (JAC)”, the Economic Times reported, explaining the JAC is a semi-important group in the umbrella of US Jewish organisations and then proceeded to attack Mr Rosen for his support of Pakistan. “Rosen counts the last three US presidents among his friends — George W Bush apparently used to call him ‘Rosie’, Barack Obama played with his grandchildren for 20 minutes at a dinner in his New York apartment, and Bill Clinton borrowed his private plane for campaigning”, explained the Economic Times about Mr Rosen’s influence.

“A real estate developer, Rosen is connected on both the US and Israeli sides. He regularly speaks out on Twitter in defence of Israel, against anti-Semitism and White supremacists”, the article mentioned in an apparent attempt to damage the increasing support from the American group for Pakistan suffering in the war on terror.

“So, what is he doing publicly defending Pakistan and ignoring the pile of evidence that his own government has amassed over the years? Is he using his position as president of a once-storied organisation to be a player?” the Indian newspaper wrote.

The India newspaper claimed that Rosen had recently called the Trump administration’s policy towards Pakistan “patently absurd” in an article (‘Pakistan Deserves US Support,’ in International Policy Digest.

“Arguing Pakistan’s case as a victim of terrorism Rosen calls it both “sad and counterproductive for the US to cut off more than a billion dollars in aid. He faithfully produces Pakistan’s litany of grievances against the US: how it’s been abandoned despite losing over 60,000 people in the war against terrorism, incurring $120 billion in economic costs, how it helped dismantle al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) networks, and on and on,” the Economic Times goes on to write. “The Indian newspaper chided that ignore the byline, and the article may as well have been written by the Pakistani Army’s overactive PR Department.”

“He (Rosen) cites a dinner with Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Ali Jehangir Siddiqui in July, where the servings were clearly selective dipped in a sea of gravy,” the Economic Times writes, attacking our ambassador to the US.

“Showering encomiums on Siddiqui, Rosen takes President Donald Trump to task for dedicating his first tweet of 2018 to Pakistan giving “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan”. He laments the Pakistani people “must feel abandoned, their sacrifices in vain,” adds the Economic Times, clearly unable to understand how Pakistan is being successful in the US foreign policy arena.

Ali Jehangir Siddiqui assumed office as Ambassador to the United States in May 2018. Earlier, he served as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister following his successful entrepreneurial and professional career.

Critically mentioning how Mr Rosen has been supporting Pakistan, the Indian newspaper further wrote that in 2005, Mr Rosen was promoting then Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf as a man of peace and called his (Musharraf’s) meeting with Jewish leaders a “historic moment”.

“But it is Rosen who is the more curious actor here. He appears to be using whatever clout remains of his organisation to lobby the Trump administration on Pakistan’s behalf.

The Indian newspaper also cites another article that appeared in the World Israel News that Rosen was using his organisation as a “cover” to lobby for Pakistan Yigal Carmon, president of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit that monitors the press, and Tufail Ahmad, a British-Indian who is a senior fellow, recently wrote in World Israel News (American Jewish Group Lobbies for Pakistan’s Anti-Semitic, Pro-Jihad PM, August 27 2018) that Imran Khan is anti-semitic and that Rosen and the American Jewish Congress should not support Pakistan. Imran Khan cannot possibly be anti-semitic as he married Jemima Goldsmith, who herself is Jewish. Imran Khan simply pointed out that world media is largely Jewish owned and that is enough for the Middle East Media Research Institute, their founder Yigal Carmon and their British-Indian fellow Tufail Ahmad to label Imran Khan as an anti-semitic to discourage American Jews from understanding and supporting Pakistan’s position.

Could something sinister be at play here with a third country trying to influence the opinions of American Jews so that they are distanced from Pakistan? The message is clear: if you are Jewish and you listen to Pakistan’s point of view, you will instantly be labelled anti-semitic and attacked.