July 1, 2008 Special Dispatch No. 1903

Pakistani Newspapers Accuse U.S. Of Targeting Pakistan

July 1, 2008
Pakistan | Special Dispatch No. 1903

In recent days, Pakistani newspapers have accused the U.S. of beginning to target Pakistan in its War on Terror. In an April 14, 2008 editorial, the right-wing Pakistan daily Roznama Nawa-i-Waqt accused U.S. President George W. Bush of "directly targeting" Pakistan, and said that the U.S. was giving Pakistan priority even over Iran on its list of military targets.

The Islamist paper Roznama Jasarat wrote in an editorial, also on April 14, 2008, that the threat of a U.S. attack on Pakistan has arrived, and that the roots of the internal and external dangers currently facing Pakistan lie in its role as the ally of the U.S. in the War on Terror. Also, the Peshawar-based Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Mashriq accused the U.S. of spreading unjustified anti-Pakistan propaganda.

All these editorials came in response to statements attributed to George W. Bush in an interview with ABC News, regarding the possibility of a 9/11-like attack on the U.S. being planned on Pakistani soil.[1]

The following are excerpts from the three editorials.

Roznama Nawa-i-Waqt: Bush's Statement – Proof that Pakistan is Direct Target of U.S.

In its editorial, titled "Bush's Statement – A Warning Time for Pakistan," Roznama Nawa-i-Waqt wrote:[2]

"Now that a newly elected government [headed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani] has come into power, and the democracy's vehicle is moving back onto the rails, the U.S. has once again begun issuing threats of direct [military] action in Pakistan by depicting its tribal regions as a haven for terrorists.

"President George Bush's latest interview is proof that Pakistan is a direct target of the U.S., which wants to maintain pressure on Pakistan on some pretext or other so that its illegitimate demands are met [and] wants to keep its options open for a direct [military] action in Pakistan.

"The U.S. understands the consequences of direct action against a nuclear Pakistan; therefore, it raises time and again the spectre of Pakistan's nuclear program falling into the hands of militarists [i.e. militants], and continually expresses ambitions for direct occupation in the name of security measures. It has also demanded that troops be sent to Pakistan's tribal regions."

With Europe's Help, the U.S. Is Fighting to Eradicate the Islamic World from the Face of the Earth

"President Bush's latest statement is a warning of danger, and it means that the U.S. has made Pakistan its target – even before Iran, though if there were to be an attack on the U.S., it would be in response to its own policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Palestine.

"[The U.S.'s] unjustified support of Israel, its occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, [and its] hostile ambitions against Pakistan, Iran, Syria and other Muslim countries [are the reasons why] Muslim people of the world, especially youth, are inflamed. They consider this a U.S. crusade against Islam and the Islamic world, which it is waging together with Europe's help in order to eradicate the Islamic world from the face of the earth."

The People of the U.S. and Europe Will Not Taste Peace as Long as Muslims are Insecure

"Therefore unless the U.S. takes a second look at its policy of expanding the ambit of the War on Terror; unless it withdraws its troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, providing the people of these countries with an opportunity to establish a government and political system of their own liking; unless it accepts the Palestinian and Kashmiri peoples' right for self-determination and uses its international influence on Israel and India to stop oppression in Palestine and Kashmir [respectively]; and as long as the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and Palestine are gripped by insecurity – the people of America and Europe too cannot taste tranquillity."

"Bush's statement must be taken seriously, and instead of talking [about] this matter in a regretful way, one needs to say, in clear words, that no planning against the U.S. is taking place at any level inside Pakistan – even though planning against Pakistan is always going on at every level in the U.S. – even at the government level. Bush's statement is also part of this series...."

"Until the U.S. takes a second look at its anti-Muslim policy, it will continue to face threats. The responsibility of these threats however does not lie with the people of Pakistan, nor is Pakistani soil being used for such an objective.... If Bush intervened in Pakistan or considers [military] action – for every brick thrown at us, we will fight back with stones....We do not want enmity with the U.S., but we are not ready to be the target of its friendship-clad enmity."

Roznama Jasarat: All Pakistan Is Burning in the Fire Lit by the Enemies of Islam and the Muslims

In its editorial titled "Bush's Fresh Threat to Pakistan" the Urdu-language Roznama Jasarat, which leans toward the religious party Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, wrote:[3]

"The aggression of enemies succeeds only when a nation is faced by such [internal] dissension that it does not realize external dangers. Today the world of Islam, especially Pakistan, is in the grip of such a situation. The external aggression against Pakistan is not merely a danger, rather [the reality is that] the country is burning in the fire lit by the enemies of Islam and Muslims. In the face of these dangers, the need of the hour is for national unity and consensus [on matters of national importance]."

"In the context of the current political situation, there is political dissension, which is a sign of danger because Pakistan is surrounded by internal conflict and external danger. The root of these threats is in Pakistan's participation as an ally in the so-called American war [on terror]. Despite participating in this war and receiving $10 billion, Pakistan itself has now come in the line of fire of an American attack..."

Bush Has Once Again Asked Pakistan: Are You With Us or With Our Enemies?

"[Now President Bush] has claimed that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is a threat to the U.S. – rather, the real threat is Pakistan and its tribal areas, and tribal areas have become Al-Qaeda's safe haven where plans are being hatched for a 9/11-like attack on the U.S.

"During this interview with ABC News, the U.S. president emphasized that he was not talking about Afghanistan but Pakistan. Through this statement, U.S. President Bush has once again threatened the Pakistani leadership, asking it: Are you with us or with our enemies? President Bush labelled this allegation, and asked this question, even though Pakistan is an ally of the U.S."

Pakistani Airports Have Become American Installations

"[As an ally of the U.S.,] Pakistan is responsible for sharing intelligence in the name of logistical support. Pakistani airports have become American installations. Even ordinary citizens do not know into what places [in Pakistan] the FBI has extended its influence. Following the U.S. president's statement, threats facing Pakistan have arrived."

"The seriousness of the threats facing Pakistan can be fully gauged from Bush's fresh statement. The need of the hour is for the Pakistani nation... to stand up to the enemy. But the political situation of Pakistan is such that the Pakistan president has wounded all of Pakistan in order to endear himself to President Bush. Pakistan's armed forces are the attackers of the tribal regions, Baluchistan and Islamabad..."

Neither the U.S. Nor Any Other Nation Has the Right to Dictate Pakistan's Policy

The the Peshawar-based regionally influential Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Mashriq took issue with President Bush's statements, saying that talking about an Al-Qaeda presence in Pakistan's tribal areas without proof was misleading. Following are excerpts from its editorial, titled "Unjustified American Propaganda about Pakistan:"[4]

"Notwithstanding the U.S.'s fear [of terrorists], it is not more just to mislead the world and frighten it about the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by creating, without evidence, a pretext of the presence of Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan's tribal areas.

"The Pakistan prime minister and the chief minister [executive head] of North West Frontier Province have announced plans for dialogue [with Taliban] with the aim of establishing peace in the tribal areas. In the North West Frontier Province, a jirga [council of elders] has already been formed to start the dialogue process, and in fact it has also commenced work. In such a situation, neither the U.S. nor any other nation has the right to dictate our policy.

"It would be appropriate for the Prime Minister [Yousuf Raza Gilani] to clarify to the American leaders that they should not issue baseless statements [such as President Bush's] to make the dialogue unsuccessful, and that everyone's interest lies in meaningful talks with Al Qaeda or other militarists [militants]."

[1] Roznama Jasarat (Pakistan), April 13, 2008.

[2] Roznama Nawa-i-Waqt (Pakistan), April 14, 2008.

[3] Roznama Jasarat (Pakistan), April 14, 2008.

[4] Roznama Mashriq (Pakistan), April 14, 2008.

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