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USA Intrusive Ambassador In Pakistan

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  • USA Intrusive Ambassador In Pakistan

    While the Boston Globe advises President Obama to scale back meddling in Pakistani politics, US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson launches a covert campaign to convince politicians to support President Zardari.

    The disconnect is breathtaking. Globe's position ("Show US neutrality in Pakistan") also serves to signify how much the US public opinion is unaware of the extent of the intrusive presence of the United States in Pakistan. Part of what US officials describe as rising anti-Americanism in the country is actually nothing more than Pakistani backlash for this meddling.

    Mr. Zardari's team and his closest aides - especially Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani - have been on a collision course with the Pakistani military. They have permitted possibly tens of private US defense contractors - private militias, to be accurate - into Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistanis have strong reasons to believe that Mr. Zardari and his team had consented to some conditions, or secret understandings, with Washington prior to taking charge in Pakistan last year. It is no secret that the incumbent pro-US Pakistani government is the result of a 'deal' brokered by the Bush administration in 2007. That deal imposed the current set of discredited politicians on Pakistan. In some ways, this was the third US-led regime change, after Kabul and Baghdad. But unlike those two capitals, regime-change in Pakistan happened without the need for a full fledged military invasion. This was and continues to be an achievement for US diplomacy and military, and a moment of shame for most Pakistanis.

    To be fair, Washington could not have done it with the help of Pakistani insiders. Former strongman Musharraf was under no compulsion to agree to this wild American idea. Yet for inexplicable reasons he chose to agree to a power-sharing agreement with late Benazir Bhutto, as part of the US-brokered deal.

    It is encouraging to see some Americans - like the editorial writer at Boston Globe - cut through the fog of official US media manipulation and see developments in Pakistan through Pakistani perspective. But most Americans don't know, for example, how their envoy here, Ms. Anne W. Patterson, is quietly meeting Pakistani politicians at private residences of trusted friends to strategize domestic politics. These meetings are not acknowledged by the US Embassy or by Pakistani politicians and hence do not make it to the front pages of Pakistani newspapers.

    More recently, a US defense contractor on whose behalf Ms. Patterson lobbied senior Pakistani officials for special weapon permits was found to have paid bribes to a Pakistani minister's aide to the tune of US $ 250,000. In short, the US ambassador's name came up several times during a case of bribery involving the national security of the host country.

    Pakistani politicians in government are too timid to put the US government on notice about the extracurricular activities of its diplomats in Pakistan.

    [This is one blatant aspect of US meddling in Pakistan. Another is the sudden media reports in the US complaining about Pakistani harassment of US diplomats. Those leaks were stunning by all accounts because they showed the US at the receiving end of Pakistani high handedness. The reality is totally different but who cares. US government spinners released the story first and that's what counts. Pakistanis are lousy at media projection anyway. More on this later.]

    So, who will stop Ms. Patterson from trying to manipulate Pakistani politics? And why such a heavy US investment in the Zardari government? And why is the US orchestrating the encirclement of the Pakistani military, from the borders of Afghanistan to the civilian pro-US government in Islamabad?

    And the most important question: Is Pakistan the enemy? Every US move in the region says it is. Even the financial aid is being used as an instrument of coercive policy rather than an instrument of development, which is what US officials make it sound like. Here again the US official language says one thing and does another. - Pakistan Ideology