WikiLeaks expose: Pakistan in damage control mode

July 28th, 2010 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, July 28 (IANS) The stunning WikiLeaks expose that showed the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in carrying out terror attacks against Indians in Afghanistan has received a mixed reaction here, with an analyst saying that the explosive documents present a “dismal picture of the background war strategies that led to Afghanistan offensive”.

The intelligence leak is being viewed with considerable interest by the Pakistani intelligentsia and the ruling elite.

Some see it as an attempt to arm-twist Pakistan and embroil the Pakistani secret agencies, including the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), in another controversy. Others are of the opinion that this is a US expose of the background happenings that led to the war on terror in Afghanistan.

Much of the focus of the WikiLeaks documents is on concerns about civilian casualties and that ISI elements had collaborated with the Taliban and other militant groups behind attacks on international forces in Afghanistan.

The leaked documents, according to the New York Times suggest the Pakistani military has acted as both ally and enemy, as its spy agency ISI, “working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks” runs what American officials have long suspected is a double game.

American officials have rarely uncovered definitive evidence of direct ISI involvement in a major attack, the Times said. “But in July 2008, the CIA’s deputy director, Stephen R. Kappes, confronted Pakistani officials with evidence that the ISI helped plan the deadly suicide bombing of India’s Embassy in Kabul.”

The spokespersons of the White House and Islamabad have been working hard in a desperate bid to undertake some damage control exercise in wake of the uproar that followed the leak.

The relations between Pakistan and the US are always precariously placed, particularly because of the public sentiment that America has always taken Pakistan for granted. The very fact that the US has ordered an investigation into the leaks isn’t enough to satisfy the critics and is being seen as a mere eye wash.

Abdul Basit, the spokesman of Pakistan’s foreign office, said that Pakistan had given sacrifices more than any other country in the war on terror and the US was not only aware of these sacrifices but also appreciated these enormously.

To support his argument, he cited the growing ties between both countries and the recently held visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which several key agreements were reached.

Hasan Jamil, a political analyst, had a different take on the situation.

He cautioned against looking at the “WikiLeaks” episode with suspicion and said that it was more a cause of concern for US than Pakistan.

“If we consider for a moment that this leak was not in connivance with the Obama administration, then the classified documents present a verbal dismal picture of the background war strategies that led to Afghanistan offensive,” he said.

Former Interior Minister, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, expressed his disappointment at the White House demand for Pakistan to act against terror safe havens.

He said that Pakistan had not hidden anything from the US since the days of former President Musharraf as it decided to become the major ally in the war against terror n the post-9/11 scenario.

He regretted that “trust deficit” had remained there despite all efforts undertaken by Islamabad.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was more forthright when he said that “such accusations are not uncommon now and the best way to tackle these is to brush them aside with a smiling face”.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at

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