Tuesday April 23, 2024

Speak directly

The attacks in Quetta and reports of massive American online spying on the Pakistani government’s co

By Ahmed Quraishi
June 19, 2013
The attacks in Quetta and reports of massive American online spying on the Pakistani government’s computer systems are not shocking. What is truly disturbing is the weak and confused reaction of Pakistani politicians and law enforcement.
The Pakistani media, politicians and the government are like the three monkeys who can’t see, hear or speak evil. No one dares to name the perpetrators or to take a stand for the Pakistani state and its citizens.
Russia, Turkey, South Africa and China have strongly reacted to leaks by a CIA technician on American and British online spying.
But there is not a single word from Pakistan, the second largest international target of US electronic spying. No Pakistani government official is willing to condemn this yet another evidence of how Washington played a double game with Pakistan for a decade, designating it as a non-Nato ally, while swamping the country with undercover Rambo-style secret agents disguised as diplomats.
This is not about further damaging bilateral ties any more than what the US government and the CIA have done to this relationship. But this is about registering a case and creating negotiation options in diplomacy, not to mention showing our own people and the world that we can take care of our interests and be ‘seen’ doing it.
In 2009, former interior minister Rehman Malik personally presented evidence to then US envoy Anne W Patterson about BLA terror safe havens inside Kabul. The evidence pinpointed the location of Brahamdagh Bugti in the Afghan capital.
When the cover of the anti-Pakistan terrorists was blown, the CIA swiftly whisked the BLA commander from Afghanistan later that year and lodged him safely in Switzerland, arranged his asylum papers, and swapped his rebel-fighter look for a clean-shaven, neat one more suited to the new role chosen for him, that of an anti-Pakistan media activist based in Europe.
Now, the BLA franchise is expanding. The LeJ terror group has merged with the BLA. Both are using the same training camps inside Balochistan and on the Afghan-American side of the border.
It is better to listen to the opinion of a Pakistani Baloch like Sarfraz Bugti, the DCO of Dera Bugti, on the BLA than to Brahamdagh. The BLA murders schoolteachers and civil servants. It kidnaps young Baloch for forced terror training and threatens parents if they alert the authorities. This is not a group of ‘angry young Baloch’. That is a myth created by terror sympathisers in some sections of the Pakistani media.
The BLA has been a tool in the great game from the start, created by the Soviet, and then revived after the Americans and Indians seized Afghanistan. Evidence exists of meetings between BLA terrorists and Indian agents in Europe, Afghanistan and India. The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh knows this. But our real problem is the confusion of the Pakistani politicians and government officials.
The Quetta and Ziarat attacks expose the confusion of Pakistan’s political elite even more. While political problems in Balochistan are acknowledged, and they should be, no one is willing to call the BLA out for terrorism. No one is ready to name Britain and Switzerland as home to terrorists who kill and destroy inside Pakistan. The British safe haven for anti-Pakistan extremists and separatists is particularly disturbing.
Pakistan should formally ban the BLA as a terrorist group. We should make public the terror and the blackmail that the BLA has been imposing on the innocent Baloch for years.Pakistan should formally, and publicly, raise the issue of the support that the governments of Britain and Switzerland are providing to the BLA.
A senior Pakistani diplomat in Washington should brief the US media on the evidence we have on the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan supporting anti-Pakistan terror, with Indian help. The good American people largely disapprove of the CIA’s illegal drones, as well as the CIA’s and NSA’s secret spying on American citizens.
This is a good time to raise the bar. A statement from Islamabad won’t suffice because the American intelligence agencies have demonstrated an effective ability to filter what is published in US mainstream media. What we need to do is to speak to the American people directly.