News

December 23, 2002

Dawn Internet Edition

INS Drive: Embassy Seeks Proposals

WASHINGTON, Dec 22: The Pakistan Embassy has asked the members of the Pakistani community in the United States to send suggestions for a joint community-embassy effort for dealing with the current immigration campaign.

The suggestion should be sent to the deputy chief of mission, Mohammad Sadiq, by e-mail (info@embassyofpakistan.org) or by fax (202-232-4142).

“We are as concerned about the required registration with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service as the rest of the community is. We have already raised the matter with the US Administration,” said Sadiq.

Pakistan is recently included in the list of countries whose nationals are asked to register from Jan 13 to Feb 23 with the INS.

Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi has already held several meetings with senior officials of the US administration and “strongly conveyed Pakistan’s concerns,” Sadiq said.

The Ambassador is scheduled to meet other high-ranking officials of the US Administration next week.

“The US Administration has promised to make the registration of Pakistan nationals as easy and convenient as possible,” said Sadiq. The Embassy will issue detailed guidelines to the Pakistan community before Jan 13.

About the DAWN Group:

The DAWN Group of Newspapers, published by the Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt.) Limited (PHPL) was founded by the Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the nation. The group began its publication, the DAWN newspaper, in 1947 immediately after independence and has ever since expanded its base from a single to an array of publications catering to varying interest of readers as well as advertisers. In addition, not forgetting the need for globalization, the international network of media representatives has also been successively webbed to all the developed and developing nations of the world.

December 17, 2002

Pak Visitors to US Being ‘Registered’ Irregularly

WASHINGTON: Pakistanis visiting the US are not required to register themselves with the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service, the embassy of Pakistan clarified on Monday.

Reacting to a press report, the deputy chief of mission Mohammad Sadiq said Pakistan is not amongst countries whose nationals are compulsorily required to register by a particular deadline. The report said the last date the registration was Dec 16.

The embassy official said that while the registration requirement applied to 17 countries, “Pakistan is not one of them.” However, he conceded, “Many Pakistani visitors to the United States had been registered by the INS at points of entry.” He advised them to “follow the procedures conveyed to them by INS officials.” —Staff Report

November 21, 2002

86 Pakistanis sent home from US

By Khalid Hassan

WASHINGTON: Of the 300 Pakistanis still in custody of the US federal authorities in the wake of September 11 attacks, around 86 had been sent home by a special chartered flight on Wednesday.

Not even one of them has been proved to have been involved in any terrorism-related activity as might have been originally assumed by American authorities.

The flight took off from Buffalo, upstate New York, for Islamabad and an officer from the Pakistan embassy, first secretary Imran Ali Chaudhry, accompanied them. The embassy also gave them $100 each because many on the last two batches deported found themselves penniless on arrival with nobody to receive them. “We want them to be able to at least get to their homes without any hassle in case they are not received in Islamabad on arrival,” Muhammad Sadiq, deputy head of mission at the Pakistan embassy, told Daily Times on Wednesday night.

The last flight of deportees left from Louisiana, but this time Buffalo was chosen because of its easier access. The 86 being deported have been brought from various parts of the United States, the majority being from New York and New Jersey.

At least 75 of the 86 being deported had applied for political asylum at various times in the last 10 years and after it was refused, they disappeared from view, preferring to float around America. In the dragnet thrown across the country after the 9/11 attacks, some of these men were caught, while others volunteered to be repatriated. “All 75 of them are returning willingly and looking forward to being home again,” Sadiq said.

The majority of the deportees, however, went home not much due to the detective abilities of US agencies as their own rivalries. About 45 Pakistanis were working, all without valid papers, for a chain of pizza restaurants owned by a rich Pakistani businessman. Another group, which was also working illegally in other shops, businesses and commercial outlets fell out with the pizzeria group. There was a fight or several fights and the non-pizzeria group informed the US immigration authorities about a ‘large number of illegal aliens working in a certain restaurant chain.’ There were raids carried out and all 45 men were arrested. However, they had their revenge because those who had ‘ratted’ on them were themselves illegal aliens, a fact duly reported to the authorities. Raid were ordered and the illegal apprehended. “They will all be on the same flight home, as poetic justice would have it. Our only hope is that no fights break out on board,” says one Pakistani community leader who has kept a tab on the situation.

Among those being deported are five who stayed beyond the expiry of their visas, four who were caught and jailed for drug dealing, three who were apprehended and sentenced for assault and as many who were jailed for sexual offences. They have all served their terms and according to Sadiq, they would not suffer double jeopardy in Pakistan, having already been duly punished for their offences in the United States.

Care has been taken, according to the embassy, that the deportees are served ‘hilal’ food en route and those among them who wish to fast are provided all necessary facilities. The chartered flight is being paid for by the US government.

November 20, 2004

HinduUnity.org & United Press International

87 Pakistanis Deported From United States

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) — A group of 87 Pakistanis were deported Wednesday from the United States, mostly for ignoring court orders to leave the country, U.S. and Pakistani officials told United Press International.
chartered flight of the private YES Airlines was hired to carry the deportees to Pakistan from Buffalo, N.Y., where they were gathered from across the United States.
This is the third group of Pakistanis ordered out of the country. A total of 131 detainees went to Pakistan on June 25 and 95 others left Aug. 21.
“Most of those on today’s flight — more than 70 — are deportation absconders,” said a U.S. official. “They had either applied for political asylum or had tried to legalize their stay through other means, such as marriage, but their pleas were already rejected by U.S. courts.”
The group includes five detainees who overstayed visas, four arrested on drug charges, three on assault allegations and three for sexual offenses, the officer said.
Since early October, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has softened its campaign against people who overstay visas and is instead concentrating on deportation absconders — those already ordered to leave the country but who have not.
An INS official, who requested not to be identified, told UPI that immigration officials were allowing those who could to legally extend their visas.
Initially, those who had overstayed their visas were also treated like deportation absconders and were deported when arrested.
Although the laws for deporting illegal immigrants have existed for decades, the INS launched an aggressive campaign for deporting them after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The INS arrested 300 Pakistanis along with the group deported Wednesday. But since many of them have cases pending in U.S. courts, they will stay in custody until their cases are decided.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington agreed that the INS has softened its attitude toward Pakistani nationals.
“It is no more chasing those who overstay their visas as it was doing after 9/11,” said an embassy official. “This change came about six-seven weeks ago,” he added.
But leaders of the Pakistani community in the United States criticized the Pakistani government for failing to protect the interests of its nationals in the United States.
“We are supposed to be a U.S. ally in the war against terrorism and yet Pakistani nationals in the United States are being treated as enemies,” said a community leader who did not want to be identified.
“It is clear now that the Pakistani government needs to raise the detainees issue with the U.S. government in a substantial, non-cosmetic manner, at the highest level as well as with a more strident pitch,” he said. “Otherwise … the Pakistani community will face even more difficult times ahead.”
Sources in the INS and the Pakistan Embassy confirmed that an embassy officer and INS officers jointly interviewed Pakistani detainees in upstate New York over three days to determine which of the 150 or so detainees would be repatriated. An INS source revealed Tuesday night that 87 detainees had been cleared by midnight.
Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq told UPI the embassy was providing “significant assistance” to Pakistani nationals in INS custody.
But interviews with INS officers and families of the detainees revealed that a much higher demarche would be required by the Pakistan government if it wanted to stop arrests of illegal Pakistani residents in the United States.
Sadiq said embassy policy had been to issue travel documents only after ensuring the detainee had been dealt with according to U.S. law and afforded proper legal relief.
INS sources revealed the last two deportation flights left from Louisiana, but this time the location was changed to Buffalo because the embassy had requested better holding facilities for detainees.
“We had specially asked for takeoff from Buffalo because the INS has excellent detention facilities in this city, including a gym, library and banking facilities,” said Sadiq.
He said that for the first time, the embassy also provided financial assistance to the detainees so they could reach home from Islamabad.
However, one of the detainees, Jamil Mohammed, told UPI, “I have received nothing yet, although Mr. Imran from the embassy has assured me that he will financially assist me and other detainees during the flight.
“I have nothing, I had to sell my watch to pay the attorney, who did nothing for me.”
Many detainees told UPI through collect calls they fear they might be arrested and further harassed after they land in Islamabad.
In August, a Pakistani immigration detainee, Nasir Ali Mubarak, was detained for many days at an unknown location after being repatriated, said Stephanie Mubarak, his American wife.
But Pakistani officials denied that claim.
“There has been no harassment of those Pakistanis who have been repatriated on chartered flights,” said Imran Ali, the embassy consular officer. “In fact, two FIA officers … received the detainees warmly and helped them reach home. Even the INS has officially commended FIA’s efficiency.”
Ali was referring to Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency.
Most of the “deportation absconders” being repatriated sought asylum on dubious grounds in the 1990s, and their applications were denied.
But some others had better luck.
Families of Mohammad Shakeel, Jamal Khan, Haroon Wilson told UPI the embassy helped in stopping their deportations on humanitarian grounds.
“We have nobody in Pakistan. We do not even know the names of the cities. We did not know where to go and where to stay,” said one of them.
These detainees, however, face prolonged incarceration in U.S. jails and an uncertain future.
Many of the 87 detainees were desperate to return to Pakistan and their families were keen to see them.
“I need my son back, I hope he is on the flight. (We were) assured … he would be, but I am not sure,” said the mother of detainee Haroon Abdul Rashid, who said she called daily from Bahrain. “I will die if I do not see him … I want my son back.”
The father of Farrukh Kamal, another detainee told UPI from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, “He is a just a boy. He has never seen hardship. We should not have sent him to the U.S.”
UPI confirmed that both detainees were on the flight and informed their parents.
Many detainees said the embassy’s Washington office was very responsive to their concerns.
“There are Indians in detention centers, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, who have been crying for their embassies’ help for months and even years, but nobody listens to them,” said detainee Mohammad Jamal. “Many have gone mad in jails here. We just have to pick up the phone and dial 202-939-6200 and our collect call is taken. I have even talked to the officer at his home way past midnight.”

August 10, 2002

Dawn Internet Edition

Pakistan Signs Anti-Terrorism Conventions

WASHINGTON, Aug 7: Pakistan has decided to sign two international conventions on combating terrorism that will further increase its commitment to fight global terror, the Pakistan embassy in Washington announced.

Relevant documents, signed by President Musharraf, have been sent to its mission in New York for signing the International Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings of Jan 12, 1998. Similar documents were also sent to the Pakistan mission in Jeddah for signing the OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism.

Pakistan has taken another step towards expediting its fight against terrorism, says Mohammad Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission who is looking after the embassy in the absence of an ambassador. We stand by the international community in fighting this menace.Observers say that by signing the two conventions, Pakistan has further committed itself to curbing cross-border militant attacks in the disputed Kashmir region.

It will now be bound to act against any group that uses bombing as a strategy to promote its political or religious goals and will also have to catch those who use other violent tactics for this purpose.

Since several Kashmiri groups use such tactics, they will automatically become outlaws, the observers said.

The documents containing Pakistan’s willingness to join the international convention against terrorist bombings will be
deposited with the UN Secretary-General and those concerning OIC will be submitted at the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah. With this decision, Pakistan is now a party to 10 out of the 12 international instruments and the OIC convention on terrorism.


November 22, 2003

Jang Group – International News

Pakistanis Asked to Re-Register in the U.S.

WASHINGTON: The Embassy of Pakistan has advised non-immigrant Pakistanis in the United States to continue to re-register within the 10 days of their initial registration anniversary date.

“I strongly urge all non-immigrant Pakistanis here to follow existing legal requirements for registration and re-registration and visitors from Pakistan should also ensure that they register with the immigration authorities within 30 days of their arrival,” Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq told this correspondent.

The confusion about the need to register or not was created by a Washington Post story that said: “The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to abandon a visitor registration programme that primarily affects Muslims…”

The Post reported that the Department of Homeland Security would introduce a new “border control” programme on January 5″. Sadiq told this correspondent: “First, no official announcement has been made by the Homeland Security and the date of January 5 is not yet a firm date.”

He said that if non-immigrant Pakistanis in US fail to re-register within 10 days of their previous registration date anniversary, they would become illegal and could be deported. “It is extremely important that they follow the existing legal requirements until new requirements are officially on the books,” he added.

“We are continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of the special registration programme, to determine if it is meeting efficiency goals and national security needs,” spokesman Bill Strassberger told The Washington Post.

According to the spokesman, the US Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology Programme called US-Visit would use photographs and fingerprints to log entries and exits at the major US airports and seaports.

Sadiq said that the new programme, when implemented, would apply to all those countries that must obtain visas to visit US and therefore it would be broader in terms of its application. During this year, US registered 83,000 visitors and identified and deported 14,000 illegal aliens.

By: Nayyar Zaidi

Ambrosia Software Online Web Board

October 22, 2003

Ambrosia Software Web Board

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia in Secret Nuke Pact

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on \”nuclear cooperation\” that will provide the Saudis with nuclear-weapons technology in exchange for cheap oil, according to a ranking Pakistani insider.

The disclosure came at the end of a 26-hour state visit to Islamabad last weekend by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, who flew across the Arabian Sea with an entourage of 200, including Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and several Cabinet ministers.

Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the pro-American defense minister who is next in line to the throne after the crown prince, was not part of the delegation.

“It will be vehemently denied by both countries,” said the Pakistani source, whose information has proven reliable for more than a decade, “but future events will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide [Saudi Arabia] with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent.”

As predicted, Saudi Arabia — which has faced strong international suspicion for years that it was seeking a nuclear capability through Pakistan — strongly denied the claim.

Prince Sultan was quoted in the Saudi newspaper Okaz yesterday saying that “no military agreements were concluded between the kingdom and Pakistan during [Prince Abdullah´s] visit to Islamabad.”
Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission for Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, also denied any nuclear deal was in the works. “That is totally incorrect,\” he said in a telephone interview. “We have a clear policy: We will not export our nuclear expertise.”

But the CIA believes Pakistan already has shared its nuclear know-how, working with North Korea in exchange for missile technology.

A Pakistani C-130 was spotted by satellite loading North Korean missiles at Pyongyang airport last year. Pakistan, which is estimated to have between 35 and 60 nuclear weapons, said this was a straight purchase for cash and strongly denied a nuclear quid pro quo.

“Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,\” the Pakistani source said, “see a world that is moving from nonproliferation to proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

The Saudi rulers, who are Sunni Muslims, are believed to have concluded that nothing will deter the Shi’ite Muslims who rule Iran from continuing their quest for a nuclear weapons capability.

Pakistan, meanwhile, is concerned about a recent arms agreement between India, its nuclear archrival, and Israel, a longtime nuclear power whose inventory is estimated at between 200 and 400 weapons.

To counter what Pakistani and Saudi leaders regard as multiple regional threats, the two countries have decided to quietly move ahead with an exchange of free or cheap Saudi oil for Pakistani nuclear know-how, the Pakistani source said.
Pakistanis have worked as contract pilots for the Royal Saudi Air Force for the past 30 years. Several hundred thousand Pakistani workers are employed by the Gulf states, both as skilled and unskilled workers, and their remittances are a hard currency boon for the Pakistani treasury.

Prince Abdullah reportedly sees Saudi oil reserves, the world’s largest, as becoming increasingly vulnerable over the next 10 years.

By mutual agreement, U.S. forces withdrew from Saudi Arabia earlier this year to relocate across the border in the tiny oil sheikdom of Qatar.

Saudi officials also are still chafing over a closed meeting — later well publicized — of the U.S. Defense Policy Board in 2002, where an expert explained, with a 16-slide Powerpoint presentation, why and how the United States should seize and occupy oil fields in the country’s Eastern Province.

Several incidents have raised questions over the extent of Saudi-Pakistani cooperation in defense matters.
A new policy paper by Simon Henderson, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, noted that Prince Sultan visited Pakistan’s highly restricted Kahuta uranium enrichment and missile assembly factory in 1999, a visit that prompted a formal diplomatic complaint from Washington.

And a son of Prince Abdullah attended Pakistan’s test-firing last year of its Ghauri-class missile, which has a range of 950 miles and could be used to deliver a nuclear payload.

President Bush was reported to have confronted Pervez Musharraf over the Saudi nuclear issue during the Pakistani president’s visit to Camp David this summer, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage raised the issue during a trip to Islamabad earlier this month, according to Mr. Henderson’s paper.

\”Apart from proliferation concerns, Washington likely harbors more general fears about what would happen if either of the regimes in Riyadh or Islamabad became radically Islamic,” according to Mr. Henderson.

GlobalSecurity.org, a well-connected defense Internet site, found in a recent survey that Saudi Arabia has the infrastructure to exploit such nuclear exports very quickly.

“While there is no direct evidence that Saudi Arabia has chosen a nuclear option, the Saudis have in place a foundation for building a nuclear deterrent,” according to the Web site.

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of The Washington Times, is editor at large of United Press International as well.

September 29, 2003

Insight Magazine Online

Although the al-Jazeera video of bin Laden was a menacing reminder of Sept. 11, it ultimately could help authorities capture the terrorist.

Elusive Evildoers

The United States is said to have woven such an enormous web of electronic spying devices across the night sky that children in Boston can pick up broadcasts of Cubs baseball games from Chicago through their braces, and of course the United States has a military budget that surpasses every other country on the planet combined. Yet, despite these obvious areas of superiority, a 6-foot-6-inch, mass-murdering, multimillionaire cave dweller on kidney dialysis, and a world-famous, mass-murdering, Iraqi dictator driven from power, have eluded our best and brightest. Why?

Neither the United States nor any other freedom-loving nation has been able to collar and hog-tie either of the world’s top-two evildoers, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. And oddly, according to those in the intelligence world, this isn’t such a bad thing. The leading Western spooks all but cite the lyrics from one of the Rolling Stones’ greatest hits: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.”

That bin Laden and Hussein eventually will show up, “dead or alive,” isn’t in question in the intelligence community. Intelligence experts insist that the fact the world has yet to receive a picture-perfect, DNA-conclusive, voice-recognition confirmation of their capture or demise doesn’t mean the trail has gone cold, or that President George W. Bush’s threat that “we’re gonna get you dead or alive” has been forgotten. In fact, most of the intelligence experts now claim that capture of bin Laden and Hussein has become symbolic, secondary to the more important task of degrading and bringing down the terrorist organizations and the threat they pose to the United States and its allies.

But even if capturing these desert dogs were only “symbolic,” whatever that may mean, Americans haven’t forgotten Sept. 11, 2001. And getting the periodic al-Jazeera video of bin Laden and his underlings taking a mountain stroll is less than comforting to Americans and as good a terrorist recruiting poster as one might imagine. The same can be said for the videos and audiotapes of Saddam.

Surprisingly, as maddening as these messages from the terrorist underground might be, they have become useful tools in the manhunt. According to one military/intelligence analyst, who like others in that profession asked not to be identified, “The videos especially are useful in many ways. First, what you want to look for is the variations in the type of clothing they may be wearing – clothing that might be a tip-off as to a specific tribe. You also look at the geological background to see if there’s anything distinctive. Originally, the photos of Osama giving interviews were of him against certain rock formations. There are geologists in the U.S. who had done studies in that area, and it turned out that the rock formations where he was standing were regionally unique. So they were able to hone in on a specific area.”

Lately, explains the analyst, “Osama hasn’t been photographed where there is a lot of geological detail. The most recent video could have been taped much earlier, but the last couple of times, since Osama and his men started realizing we were looking at the geology, they had him sitting in front of a sheet or some other occlusion. But on the most recent tape the vegetation is very green, and that’s a tell-tale sign about the time of year that the footage was shot, probably spring. Match that up with the dress and it tells you something more. We know from the weight of the clothing being worn in an earlier clip, for instance, that the film probably was shot in the winter.”

The chances are, the analyst continues, “that even though we can get clues about where he is at the time the footage is shot, we get the tapes much later when he’s already moved, which increases the difficulty of finding him. But what you get in such an approach is a process of elimination. If you’re focused on nine or 10 different areas where bin Laden may be, and we get tapes that show specific rock strata behind him, and these rocks tend to be maybe in four or five places, then a few extra resources are put into those areas. Ultimately, the biggest help is going to come from human intelligence. It takes time for training and vetting someone to be a viable collector of information, and it’s very time-intensive. Then, once your people are trained and in the area, it takes time for them to meet and be trusted by the right people. You know, you don’t just walk into Afghanistan and say, ‘Here I am. Give me information.’ This is our weakest link.”

On the other hand, concludes another analyst, “Saddam has many people who don’t like him, and they will turn him in eventually. I would think the Kurds would have the human capability to do this. They could walk into a bazaar where no one is going to look sideways at them – something few Americans could do. Saddam might be easier to catch because he doesn’t have the loyalty that bin Laden has. There’s no question that we’ll catch Saddam, but this is police work, like any other, and it’s going to take time.”

An official of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) tells Insight that “the people who really know about this are the folks either in Afghanistan or at U.S. Central Command who’ve been working to get the bad guys localized. As the bad guys are localized along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border it’s up to Central Command and friendly folks in Afghanistan to figure out how to prosecute this.”

But, explains the DIA source, “whether it’s unmanned ariel vehicles or human intelligence, we’re really just searching. Essentially it’s people on the ground that we expect will give us the necessary clues. Plus, you have to ask, ‘Where are the priorities?’ While our priorities of finding bin Laden and Hussein might be three and four on a list of 10, one and two on the list might be finding weapons caches and such. The intelligence community knows that the al-Qaeda organization’s communications and the way they do business have suffered greatly, so in effect we’ve separated the head from the rest of the organization. So orders or directions coming from the top usually aren’t making it down to the lower levels, where the operatives are, or when they do they’re just so vague or watered down that there’s great misinterpretation. We know that.”

We’ve hurt them, says the DIA source, “in their ability to communicate, through arrests of operatives and removing their base of operations in Afghanistan. What we know from the 9/11 attacks and the embassy bombings is that a lot of the planning involved face-to-face meetings of a kind they just can’t do anymore. We know who the key people are in the organization, and when we have the opportunity to get one of these guys we do.”

Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the FBI, tells Insight that “Osama bin Laden is someone the government has watched for a number of years, and we placed him on the top Ten Most Wanted list in May of 1999, so there’s been a desire to locate and apprehend him for several years. To date, there’s no evidence that he has been killed, and many feel he is still at large, as is Saddam Hussein.”

According to Bresson, “A lot has changed since 9/11 as far as the way we approach going after international fugitives. From a law-enforcement standpoint, it’s very difficult to pursue fugitives internationally. We cannot make arrests overseas, but we work and liaison with our law-enforcement partners abroad, and that is what we’re doing. We’re working with our partners overseas to share intelligence information, and we’re working with the CIA and other U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. Osama is a huge priority and, as far as we’re concerned, he has been for years. But while he’s important there are other leaders and foot soldiers of the al-Qaeda organization that we’re also interested in, and we’ve had much success.”

Saddam, Bresson says, “is a different story. In his case, you’re talking about a military operation that continues to be involved in regime change in Iraq. We don’t have the authority to take the lead, but we’re in a very supportive role to the Department of Defense. We have personnel in Iraq, and in some cases we’ve interviewed some of the Ba’athist and other officials who have been captured there.”

Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and an authority on terrorism, tells Insight, “I think we’re working hard to find Osama bin Laden, but it’s not an easy network to break into. It’s not like you can send in a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant to say, ‘I want to join al-Qaeda.’ This organization is very family, community and religion oriented, and we haven’t had good intelligence on the ground, so we’ve had to rely on Pakistanis or Afghans or others. This makes it a lot tougher. We continue to monitor for terrorist communications via satellite phones, but that’s been publicized so much that they are very careful. My guess is that if he’s alive there continue to be a lot of places for bin Laden to hide that are not easy to get into.”

You have to understand, Bandow explains, “that you have local tribes who are suspicious of foreigners, for whom the offer of millions of dollars in rewards doesn’t seem as important as maintaining an alliance with someone who is one of their own. You know, it would be nice to find bin Laden, but I don’t think it is the critical issue. The critical issue is destroying al-Qaeda as an operational organization – preventing it from running any more attacks against America. He’s a symbol, and it would be wonderful to get him, but I don’t think it is the touchstone for whether our policy is winning or losing. He symbolizes the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans. But if I had to choose between grabbing him or breaking down al-Qaeda, I’d first want to go after al-Qaeda. Bin Laden is different from Saddam in that the number of places the Iraqi can hide is finite, the world is not filled with people loyal to him and, eventually, he’ll run out of hiding places or someone will take the bribe. Bin Laden has a much larger world in which he can hide, and one easily could imagine him not only in Afghanistan but in Pakistan, Yemen or even potentially Somalia.”

Mohammad Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, doesn’t see it that way. “Pakistan,” Sadiq says, “has given the U.S. more rights to fight terrorism on its territory than the U.S. allows itself here. And most of the people you have at Guantanamo Bay were handed over by Pakistan when they crossed over from Afghanistan to Pakistan, so I should be asking, ‘Who in the world is doing more to fight terrorism than is Pakistan?’ Osama could be hiding anywhere. He could be hiding on the border and moving from one side to the other, but President Bush publicly has said that he is satisfied with the cooperation of Pakistan’s war on terror.”

According to Sadiq, things have changed in the tribal areas. “Traditionally,” he says, “the Pakistani army would not go there. But for the first time in history our army is going into the tribal areas on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan – it’s been like a no man’s land, where they have their own tribal laws and traditions. Terrorists moving into that area and attempting to operate under protection of the traditional tribal system presented a unique challenge to Pakistan and the entire world – one that no tribal system is equipped to handle – so naturally the army had to go in.”

Sadiq continues, “If Osama is in that area we are going to catch him like we caught his lieutenants of al-Qaeda. We are involved in this because we want to control the extremist elements in Pakistan and the region. Yes, we want Osama as bad as you do, and you saw on the recent tape that bin Laden did not threaten your President Bush so much as he threatened our President [Pervez] Musharraf.”

A source from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says, “There is a general consensus that Pakistan is being very cooperative.” And, although it may seem like an easy answer, the source summed up the hunt for bin Laden this way: “Until someone tells us where he is, or we get lucky, it’s going to be hard to find him. As obvious as it sounds, that’s the formula.”

So for all our sophisticated spying equipment and military might, catching the evildoers appears to come down to old-fashioned police work.

By Kelly Patricia O Meara

August 24, 2003

Blog for America/Christian Science Monitor

World Balks at Growing Iraq Perils

Other Nations Hesitate About Sending Peacekeepers Because of Concerns About a Growing Guerilla War

“It’s not that there is an enthusiasm to see the UN in charge. People don’t really trust the UN, either,” says Masmoudi. Rather, “they want to see a legitimate government and the Iraqis in charge of their own country.”

The depth of domestic opposition to involvement in Iraq is exemplified by Pakistan, where last week Islamic clerics associated with six parliamentary Islamic parties issued a fatwa, or edict, against sending any troops to work under the US occupation. Pakistani officials say their government’s action will not be based on pressure from opposition political parties, but rather on principles Pakistan has followed over more than 40 years of contributing to peacekeeping forces. “We are not looking for an excuse not to contribute troops, but we are looking for an international mandate,” says Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s acting ambassador in Washington.

A relatively new attitude is also emerging in Europe: that the predicament of the US occupation of Iraq requires something more nuanced than mere opposition. Countries such as France and Germany now consider the US as “trapped,” and that its failure there would not be in the world’s interest. At the same time, there is sneaking anxiety that Iraq is only the beginning of a wider and longer civilizational war.

“It seems to be dawning on people that Iraq, instead of the end of something, is only the beginning of a very long global struggle between Western modernity and a more traditional identity,” says Philippe Moreau Defarges, a senior fellow at the French Institute for International Relations in Paris. “But in Europe, people are just now digesting that, so what action to take about it remains up in the air.”

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

August 18, 2003

International Freedom of Expression Exchange

FBI Investigating Pakistani Journalist

(PPF/IFEX) – Pakistan’s embassy in the United States (US) has written a letter to the State Department drawing attention to the investigation of Nayyar Zaidi, a Washington correspondent for the daily “Jang”, the flagship publication of Pakistan’s largest media group, by US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents.

The letter, signed by the deputy chief of mission, Mohammad Sadiq, says that Zaidi is a “very senior and respected journalist who has represented his newspaper in Washington for more than two decades” and that “the State Department is well aware of his credentials.” When contacted by the “Daily Dawn”, another major Pakistani publication, the State Department said it could not comment on the matter.

According to press reports, Zaidi said that three FBI agents – Chris McKinney, Heather Grow and Michelle Crest – visited his home in Prince County, Virginia, on 20 February 2003 while he was away. They tried to interrogate his 15-year-old son, Zain Zaidi, who telephoned him, but when he arrived home the agents had left. They left a telephone number for Zaidi to contact them.

When Zaidi called the number, agent McKinney asked him to come to the FBI’s Washington field office, where the agent asked him several questions about his personal, social and religious activities.

The agent had asked him to bring his telephone notebook because he claimed that Zaidi’s home telephone was used to make calls to 10 telephone numbers in Pakistan, India, China, the Netherlands and Thailand.

The numbers “brush off” against those already under investigation for links to the events of 11 September 2001, McKinney said.

When Zaidi met the three agents at the field office, they released two numbers in Pakistan and China.

Zaidi says the number in Pakistan is very similar to one of his newspaper’s fax numbers, to which he sends news stories. The Pakistani number was officially investigated by the embassy and turned out to be a disconnected number for a bankrupt textile company, says Zaidi.

One of the agents, Grow, refused to disclose all 10 numbers to Zaidi, saying she felt very uncomfortable doing so.

Zaidi offered to cooperate with the FBI, but refused to give them his telephone notebook and records unless the agents had legal grounds for making the demand.

Zaidi says that after the initial investigation, the FBI did not contact him for several months. However, on 8 August, two different FBI agents visited his home while he was away and left a message for Zaidi to call them.

He called them on 11 August and left three messages, but so far the FBI has not returned his calls.

About IFEX:

IFEX was born in 1992 when many of the world’s leading freedom of expression organizations came together in Montreal to discuss how best to further their collective goals.

Several funding and development organizations, recognizing the need for more cooperation among freedom of expression groups, provided the initial support for IFEX. These included The Ford Foundation, which provided funding to hold the first IFEX meeting; the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation of New York, which supported the establishment of the IFEX Action Alert Network; and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), through its International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which provided support for IFEX to extend its links into the developing world and promoted IFEX through its own developmental network.

For further information, contact Owais Aslam Ali at PPF, Press Centre, Shahrah Kamal Ataturk, Karachi, Pakistan, tel: +92 21 263 3215, fax: +92 21 263 7754, e-mail: owais.ali@post.harvard.edu

June 9, 2003

Daily Times

U.S. Businessmen Urged to Invest in Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan late on Saturday invited businessmen to invest in Pakistan “where the whole economy is free” and to benefit from the favourable, secure and lucrative investment environment.

The minister told businessmen at a lunch at the Pakistan Embassy the investment climate in Pakistan “has improved because of certain interventions by the government”. “Now, investors find their capital secure and remit dividends and profits at their will. The often-talked one-window system is rightly operational today, with the removal of any previous bottlenecks of procedures. It’s an investors’ paradise,” he said of Pakistan taking “definitive leaps ahead towards an economic expansion and improvement”.

Ambassador Qazi, DCM Mohammad Sadiq and Trade Minister Ashraf M Hayat were also present. The minister exchanged ideas with businessmen about how Pakistanis could play a useful role in Pakistan. —APP

May 14, 2003

IPA – IndyPress Online

250 Pakistanis Languish in U.S. Jails

The number of Pakistanis are languishing in U.S. jails, awaiting another round of deportation is 250, according to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C. Some 1400 Pakistanis who applied for citizenship were asked to appear before a judge.

Mohammed Sadiq, deputy chief of mission at the Pakistan Embassy said that the Pakistani government is making all efforts to hasten the deportation.

Embassy spokesmen have said that not as many people were arrested during registration as was expected. The Pakistani Embassy is going out of its way to gloss over the fear and anxiety that has been the lot of the Pakistani community. The truth of the matter is that very few people living in this country illegally went to register. Those who did have all received Notices to Appear which means their deportation is inevitable.

Pakistan Post, 14 May 2003. Translated from Urdu by Rehan Ansari.

March 3, 2003

Daily Times

Pakistanis Detained in US to Be Repatriated Expeditiously

WASHINGTON: The families of Pakistanis now in US custody for violation of immigration laws wanted them speedily repatriated to Pakistan, an official of the Pakistani embassy said on Tuesday.

Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission and minister, said the embassy is being approached by relatives and friends of immigration detainees in the US, who have exhausted all judicial remedies and have had their deportation orders issued to be sent home early.

Most of these detainees are “deportation absconders” who were ordered deported in the past, but had not complied with the orders. The total number of Pakistani detainees in various detention centres is about 250, out of which 150 have no judicial appeal left and have been waiting for a “considerable period of time” to be repatriated to Pakistan.

Sadiq said the embassy had raised the issue with the US government at various levels and had been informed that commercial airlines had placed new restrictions on travel of detainees, on account of which the repatriation of Pakistani detainees had been delayed.

The official said, “It is the endeavour of the embassy and the Government of Pakistan to have such detainees repatriated to Pakistan expeditiously with honour and dignity. It is important that such individuals be reunited with their families who are waiting anxiously for their return. To this end, the embassy is working closely with the INS to affect the repatriation of all such detainees to Pakistan.”

He said it was expected that the embassy in collaboration with US authorities, would be able to arrange for all Pakistani detainees desirous of returning home to be returned to Pakistan at the earliest.

By Khalid Hasan

January 31, 2003

Indiainfo.com Online

Kasuri Meets Cheney, Discusses Bilateral Issues

Washington: Bilateral and regional issues, including Indo-Pak relations, figured in talks Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Muhammad Kasuri held with US Vice- President Dick Cheney.

“The two sides discussed various aspects of bilateral relations. Cheney reaffirmed US political and economic commitment to Pakistan. He said the Bush administration is engaged in a long-term and enduring relationship with Pakistan,” Mohammed Sadiq, deputy chief of Pakistan Embassy in Washington said.

Both also exchanged views on the security situation in South Asia with a particular reference to Kashmir. Kasuri urged US involvement in bringing about a structured dialogue between India and Pakistan, he said.

“The Vice-President appreciated Islamabad’s co-operation in the war on terrorism and said that Pakistani officials are enormously helpful in this joint struggle,” the Embassy said.

The Foreign Minister specifically raised the issue of special registration for the US Pakistanis under the immigration service’s registration programme and urged Cheney to show leniency towards Pakistanis during the process.

Vice-President Cheney was accompanied by Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca and senior adviser to the US President on Asia Jim Moriarty, while Foreign Minister Kasuri was accompanied by Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, director- general (Americas) Akbar Zeb and deputy chief of Pakistani Mission Mohammad Sadiq.

-PTI

January 7, 2003

NCM Civil Liberties Watch/Pakistan Link

50,000 Pakistanis Likely to be Detained Under INS

WASHINGTON – Around fifty thousand Pakistanis are likely to be detained in line with the INS registration drive in the US, incurring a loss of 2.5 million dollars per month to Pakistan’s exchequer, speakers feared during a community meeting here at Pakistan’s embassy.

The meeting was chaired Saturday by Pakistan Ambassador to United States Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, and it was aimed at apprising the Pakistani community of the INS registration.

Speaking on the occasion, the US attorneys, who were also invited by the embassy, called upon the Pakistanis to bring $1500 with them while registering with the INS to avoid arrests.

The confused and panicked leaders and members of the Pakistani community strongly urged Ambassador Qazi to arrange a meeting between President George W. Bush and President Musharraf to end the deepening quagmire caused by the INS.

Reports are also pouring in that the US authorities are savagely harassing Pakistanis heading to their motherland after winding up their business and quitting their jobs in the wake of the diabolic INS campaign.

At the airports, highways, ordinary roads, markets, hotels, restaurants, beaches, public parks and even in hospitals Muslims, specifically of Middle Eastern origins and Pakistanis are targeted and bizarrely quizzed by numerous US intelligence agencies.

Questions like when and why did you come to states; where from you brought money; how much dollars have you sent to Pakistan; why are winding up; what amount of dollars are you taking along; what places in the US have you been staying and whom have you been meeting, visiting and talking to in the US are blatantly hurled upon Pakistanis.

In many cases Pakistanis have been sent to interrogation cells from airport lounges where from they were to fly to their sweet motherland. Already in various US cells, hundreds of Pakistanis are languishing without being charged.

Meanwhile, in a press release the Pakistan embassy said the meeting to inform Pakistani-American community about the legal implications and ramifications of the special registration requirement by the INS was well-attended.

Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq moderated the event and in his initial remarks enumerated the achievements and contributions of the Pakistani-American Community.

Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, in his remarks, stated that the president, foreign minister and embassy of Pakistan have taken up the matter of special registration at all levels with their United States counterparts.

The Ambassador said that Pakistan is a front-line ally and has made more sacrifices than any other coalition partner in the war on terrorism. He said that people in Pakistan are mystified that nationals from the country are subjected to discriminatory treatment and profiling by the US despite the fact that the government of Pakistan is a strategic ally of the
United States.

The ambassador said that in his interaction with various US government agencies, such as the White House, National Security Council, Departments of Justice and State, he had pointed out that so far the list of 20 countries whose nationals are required to undergo special registration is essentially and effectively a list of Muslim countries, most of whom are allied with the US in the war on terrorism.

Ambassador Qazi said that the detailed guidelines are being issued to the community via the Embassy’s website. He also enumerated the steps taken by the embassy including appointing liaison officers and establishing hotlines at the Embassy in Washington DC and Consulates in New York and Los Angeles to help the community and provide legal assistance.

Qazi reiterated that embassy officials would be available to ensure that the Pakistani community is not harassed and to provide legal assistance to those undergoing special registration.

The immigration attorneys invited to the event also spoke at length on the need to follow the laws of the land, answered various queries and guided the community on various aspects of the special registration requirements by providing guidelines and explaining legal ramifications of various scenarios.

They also informed the community that the Pakistani population in the US is the largest in number of all the countries on the list requiring special registration, therefore it was extremely useful for this event to have been organized at this time.

The community members also raised the issue of a unified effort to have the special registration requirement repealed and various community leaders mentioned that Members of Congress have been approached to write to the Attorney General about the undignified and humiliating treatment being meted out to those who voluntarily go to INS Registration
Centers.

In the end, Ambassador Qazi emphasized that while working towards the goal of removing Pakistan from the list of countries whose citizens are required to undergo special registration, the laws of the US should be respected and abided by the community while ensuring that civil liberties of those undergoing the registration process are not violated.

About NCM Civil Liberties Watch:

NCM is a nationwide association of over 700 ethnic media organizations representing the development of a more inclusive journalism. Founded in 1996 by Pacific News Service, NCM promotes ethnic media by strengthening the editorial and economic viability of this increasingly influential segment of America’s communications industry.

September 26, 2004

Daily Times

POSTCARD USA: The General in Washington

The President said NOT a word about the newly-inducted civilian government. He said not a word about the National Assembly or the Senate. He said not a word (but let me first wipe away a tear) about Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. He said not a word about the No 1 hit parade item in Pakistan, his uniform. And he said not a word about the press

Gen Pervez Musharrf is come and gone, from Washington that is, and the sun has still risen from the east the next morning and the traffic on the beltway has been just as bad. He came for half a day, his entourage in tow, which, as in the past, was small, though complete with our immaculately turned out foreign minister, Mr KM “Blameworthy” and information wizard and ebullient spokesman Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, his face flush with good health and his jet black hair as free of grey as it has been since the day he acquired it. The special flight from New York landed at the Andrews Air Force Base near Washington and, contrary to earlier information, the ten or so journalists covering the tour were brought along.

One of the early acts in office of the General was to abolish free trips for the press; however, that “mistake” has since been corrected, thanks to the discreet ministrations of my good friend Sam, known otherwise as Syed Anwar Mahmood, the eyes and ears of this regime. I also saw for the first time a gent I only see on TV, announcing military victory after military victory over the residents of South Waziristan. Because of the tight security in effect, I was unable to get within carnation-throwing distance of Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan, not that I was carrying any carnations.

The President arrived and the large audience of Pakistanis, some local, others from near and far, rose and gave him the sort of ovation that must have immediately improved the bad taste in his mouth left by unhelpful editorials in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. It was most impressive, but Pakistanis are such spoilsports, because one sitting next to me whispered in my ear that he had heard even lustier cheering for Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq and anyone and everyone who has come along from the catbird seat in Islamabad. I found that most reassuring.

The community meeting, as the Pakistan embassy had billed it, was actually paid for not by the community, its upwardly mobile (Gen Musharraf’s favourite expression) fat cats notwithstanding, but by that old workhorse, the Pakistani taxpayer. Why the meeting wasn’t held at the embassy, as originally announced, but at Mayflower Hotel, Washington’s most expensive, is something for Mr Shaukat Aziz’s desk at the finance ministry to work out. After all, he it is who is going to issue a special sanction for this road-show. The proceedings began on a most extraordinary note. The address of welcome was made not by a member of the community but by the Charge d’Affaires Mohammad Sadiq, who is rather given to describing himself by a rank that does not exist in the diplomatic blue book: Acting Ambassador.

General Musharraf is generally a cool and laid-back person, but one could see that he was thrown by the His Acting Excellency’s performance (and in fact said as much when he finally and at long last got an opportunity to speak). For a moment, I at least was transported to those heady meetings at Mochi Gate, so overwrought was Gen Jehangir Karamat’s future No 2. I have seldom heard a more emotional and sycophantic introduction in my life, and I have heard a few. It actually had the President blushing. The said Mr Sadiq informed everyone that in his 24 years as a diplomat, he had never known a leader to interview whom, even for five minutes, the media would mob an embassy. Such popularity, he said to titters from the less discreet, fell to the lot of only a few leaders. He said everyone in that auditorium had come in response to “just one e-mail” (nice to know that all Pakistanis are now computer savvy). So emotional had Mr Sadiq become by now that I was getting worried about his blood pressure. He did in the end sit down, but not before he had declared, “Like the green Hilali Parcham, our hearts are also green.” Normally, green has been taken to be the colour of jealousy. Didn’t the Bard call jealousy the “green-eyed monster?”

Since I have already reported the President’s speech in some detail in this newspaper, I will skip what he said. What is interesting is what the President did NOT say. He said not a word about the newly-inducted civilian government. He said not a word about the National Assembly or the Senate. He said not a word (but let me first wipe away a tear) about Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. He said not a word about the No 1 hit parade item in Pakistan, his uniform. And he said not a word about the press for which he always has either some choice epithets or some advice.

He did remind everyone though that “If you live in the river, it is not a smart idea to have the crocodile for an enemy.” I think I will send the President a complimentary copy of a book I once wrote, called The Crocodiles are Here to Swim.

Khalid Hasan is Daily Times’ US-based correspondent.

November 20th, 2004

National PSA & Rising Leaders Fall 2004 Conference

Washington, DC: The Pakistani-American youth organizations – Rising Leaders and the National Pakistani Students Association – organized their Fall 2004 Conference at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington DC, on November 20-21, 2004.

Rising Leaders is a professionally managed organization that operates at Capitol Hill and is a joint venture of the Pakistani-American youth and the Embassy. The National PSA was also established by the Embassy and brought together on one platform chapters of the Pakistani Students Association operating in major university campuses across the US.

The theme of the conference was “Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s Challenges.” It featured panel discussions, presentations, leadership workshops, etc. Prominent Pakistani professionals such as Mr. Shahid Javed Burki, former Finance Minister of Pakistan; Ms. Bapsi Sidwa, renowned novelist and author; Dr. Akbar S. Ahmad, Ibn Khaldum Chair of Islamic Studies, American University; Mr. Shahid Hussain, former Advisor on Finance to the Government of Pakistan; and Mr. Mowahid Hussain Shah, Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab, author and political analyst were among the speakers at the conference.

The main highlight of the day was a banquet hosted by Ambassador Jehangir Keramat for the delegates during which he also delivered his first address in the US as Ambassador of Pakistan.

After the inauguration of the conference and a brief ice-breaking session, a Professionals Panel began its deliberations. The theme was “Politics is not just for Politicians.” The participants included Dr. Akbar S. Ahmad, (academic), Ms. Bapsi Sidwa (author), Mr. Shahid Hussain (economist), Dr. Rafiq Rahman (physician), Mr. Tariq Khan (engineer) and Mr. Haroon Khan (lobbyist). The speakers called upon the young audience to become more involved in the American political system because the present was a time of great challenges and great opportunities. They called upon them to learn m ore about their faith, their religion and cultural heritage in order to build a bridge between the East and the West. Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa stated that politics came naturally to all Pakistanis and in Pakistan they had a strong tradition of dissent, particularly among the poets. The panelists emphasized that it was the age of ideas and young Pakistani-Americans could only become more effective by being more aware of their rights and by participating in the politics of the country.

Paradise Lost.” Three young Kashmiri Americans and former interns at DCM Sadiq’s Office – Mr. Osman Ashai, Mr. Hyder Syed and Ms. Hafsa Kanjwal – highlighted the plight of Kashmiris in the Indian Held Kashmir. They had visited Indian Held Kashmir in summer this year. Ms. Hafsa Kanjwal in her narrative focused on the psychological and mental trauma endured by the courageous women of Kashmir who have been the long suffering victims of unending t ragedies unleashed upon them in the form of rape, torture and murder. She, however, said that people had pinned their hopes in the ongoing Pakistan-India dialogue, and hoped that a solution to the problem would soon be found so that the energies and resources of the people could be diverted to their socio-economic uplift. Mr. Hyder Syed dwelt at length on the harder political and factual side of the issue, and highlighted the record of crackdowns, checkpoints, curfews, human rights abuses and use of rape as a weapon of war, torture and murder in Indian Held Kashmir.

Mr. Osman Ashai’s presentation included screening of strikingly beautiful pictures he took during his visit to Kashmir. The keynote speaker, Mr. Mowahid Husain Shah (a regular columnist of Pakistan Link) said as a result of his frequent interaction with the American academia he felt that there was a “hunger” to know more about Kashmir, to find out the causes of the dispute, and to explore possibilities of a lasting solution. He called upon the Pakistani-American community to seize the moment, to be vigilant and to respond to the challenge in order to educate the people of the true nature of the issue. He emphasized that “facts, principles and law” were all on the side of Kashmiris and it was imperative for the Pakistani-American community to reach out and play a positive role in the resolution of this dispute.
The presentation on Kashmir was followed by a debate on “Pakistani-Americans: Leaning Left or Right.” The participants included Mr. Faizan Haq, Secretary General of the Pakistani-American Congress; Mr. Nasim Ansari, elected Kalamazoo County Commissioner; Mr. Umair Khan, Congressional Staffer from “Muslims for Kerry;” and Mr. Akir Khan Congressional Staffer from “Muslims for Bush.” The participants debated the policies of the Republican the Democratic parties.

Day one of the conference also featured readings by Ms. Bapsi Sidwa and Dr. Akbar S. Ahmad form their books followed by book signing.
In the evening, the Ambassador hosted a banquet for the delegates. DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq introduced the Ambassador. He referred to the Ambassador as a “distinguished soldier”, “great scholar” and a “fine human being”. Ambassador Keramat paid rich tributes to the initiatives launched by the Embassy to benefit the Pakistani community and particularly praised the DCM for providing leadership to various community projects. He also commended the Deputy Chief of Mission’s efforts in involving the second generation Pakistani-Americans in various initiatives launched by the Embassy.

Ambassador Karamat praised the leadership qualities of the Pakistani-American community and emphasized that in the globalized world countries flourished because of the strength of their diasporas, and added that “Pakistani-Americans could do a lot for Pakistan by being proud of their Pakistani heritage.” He also praised the young generation for their flexibility of thinking, energy, and analytical perspective, and most importantly, their leadership skills. He noted that the second generation Pakistani-Americans were incredibly educated and talented, and had the skills required to interact with and to integrate in the American society. He stated that they represented the balance between the East and the West and referred to the young generation as a bridge between two different sets of tradition, history, culture and societies.

He hoped that the young generation would one day become a part of the mainstream US political system as Governors, Judges, Senators and Congressmen. Ambassador Keramat said the United States needed people like the young Pakistani Americans to be active in civil society and politics, and stated that they should plan their future accordingly.

He stated that the Embassy of Pakistan had taken several initiatives to help the community achieve its ambitions. In the end, however, the Embassy could only be a catalyst and the success or failure of these initiatives depended on the involvement of the community

Day two of the conference started with a number of Leadership Workshops which took place simultaneously at the Embassy on topics such as Pubic Speaking, Networking, and the Role of Literature in Politics. This session was followed by a presentation on Pakistan’s economy, “Issues of Economic Disparity in Pakistan”. The keynote speaker was Mr. Shahid Javed Burki who spoke at length about the challenges faced by Pakistan in the field of economy. The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.

DCM Mohammad Sadiq delivered a lecture on Pakistan-US relations. He pointed out that relations between states were always based in national interest. The relations could transform with a change in national interest. Coincidence of national interests provided an opportunity to establish the relationship between Pakistan and the US on firmer foundation. He said Pakistan was an import ant country for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Talking about the war on terror, he emphasized that the US needed to pay attention to dealing with the root causes of terrorism that included disputes of Kashmir and Palestine. Resolution of these disputes will bring about a major change in the situation.

Commenting on the domestic situation in Pakistan, Mr. Sadiq stated that five important developments had taken place in Pakistan in recent years: women had gained unprecedented representation in electoral politics at all levels; Pakistan’s economy had been transformed; defense expenditure had been reduced as a percentage of GDP; a media explosion had brought about a new awareness in the society; and Pakistan’s relations with all its neighbors and major powers had improved. He acknowledged that the system was not perfect; however, a start had been made and now needed to keep up the momentum and to concentrate on improving the lot of common people.

Mr. Sadiq’s lecture was followed by the last panel discussion of the two-day conference. The Professional Pakistani Women’s panel comprised Ms. Bapsi Sidwa, Ms. Alfreda Gill, an educationist and Ms. Nayyera Haq, a Congressional staffer. The topic was “Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Culture and Society.” The panelists spoke at length about their varied experiences in their field of professional expertise and underlined the need for a greater participation of women in all walks of life.

The conference ended with a debriefing session by Mr. Sadiq. The next Youth conference is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles in January 2005 that will be followed by a conferences in Houston and New York

October 22, 2004-

Hi Pakistan Online

Pakistanis Asked to get Registered on Arrival and Departure from United States

WASHIINGTON: As the first phase of US VISIT program went into operation early Monday morning at 115 airports, as well as 14 seaports of the United States, the Pakistan Embassy Washington DC has asked Pakistani nationals to register themselves on “entry as well as exit from the U.S.”

US VISIT (Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) program replaces National Security Entry and Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which ended on December 2, 2003.

Under the US VISIT program, all visa holders arriving and departing the “ports of entry and exit” will undergo the process of fingerprint, scanning and photographing, through an efficient biometric system.

“Under the US VISIT program, data will be checked against terrorist watchlist and used to determine if a person has over stayed a visa,” U.S. officials say.

There are exceptions as visitors from 28 countries mostly in North America and Europe are not required to take part, because they are allowed to visit the U.S. upto 90 days without visas.

Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security Department (HSD), told broadcast media early Monday morning that we have begun today a couple of pilot projects to determine the kinds of technology we want to use to gather departure information- having set up kiosks at Washington, and another pilot project at seaport at Miami. “It’s a first step in a process.”

He said: “The US-VISIT program is a cornerstone of the Department’s goals to improve border management at our ports of entry.”

The HSD states the fourfold goals of US-VISIT program are to Enhance the security of U.S. citizens and visitors, expedite legitimate travel and trade, ensure the integrity of the immigration system, and safeguard the personal privacy of our visitors.

While like others, the Pakistani community has heaved a sigh of relief, the Pakistan Embassy has asked the nationals to follow the laid down rules strictly, “and to undergo registration at both entry as well as exit from the United States.”

The Deputy Chief of the Mission, Mohammad Sadiq told APP that US VISIT program is less discriminatory, as the biometrics process takes only few minutes.

He said it is a misperception that registration at the time of departure has ended. “No, it is very much there on exit, as it is there at the time of arrival,” Mr. Sadiq categorically said.

He, however, said that Pakistan Embassy has been and remains engaged with the U.S. officials to seek welfare of the Pakistani nationals.

Earlier, Second Secretary Imran Ali in a notification to the community said “Registration on exit is mandatory, and is very much in place and likely to remain there for the long-term future. Violation, even if inadvertent and in a family emergency, can lead to the extreme penalty of denial of re-entry into the U.S..”

He has asked Pakistani passengers not to ask the airline representatives at the airport– as they might not be aware of the rules. Whenever in doubt, it is advisable that they go to the immigration office at airport and nobody else.”

It may be noted that earlier with the domestic registration phase, 25countries, mainly Muslim and including Pakistan, were required to undergo the mandatory domestic registration. Such domestic or call-in registration was suspended on December 2, 2003.

Most Pakistani nationals used to fall in that category. Embassy sources have expressed concern that many Pakistanis have wrongly assumed that with the US-VISIT, exit registration has also ended in December 2003.

“That’s not the case,” Mr. Imran emphatically stated. “It is still mandatory not only for Pakistanis but for all visitors requiring visa under the US-VISIT. However, for other visitors falling under US VISIT, it will be some time before exit procedures are defined. For our community, they are already defined under NSEERS. You have to register on exit, no exceptions for visa holders. ” The Pakistani community have been advised to clear any misconceptions by emailing the embassy at info@embassyofpakistan.org

The Embassy has also advised the Pakistani passengers falling into this category not to consult the airline agents, but to report to the immigration office at the airports and seek their advice before exit.

According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the US-VISIT program comes into effect at 115 airport throughout U.S. airports and seaports, that handle 26 million international traveller public per year.

“All visa holders arriving at the ports of entry will undergo the process of fingerprint, scanning and photographing, through an efficient biometric system.”

The US VISIT Program is different from the National Security Entry and Exit Registration System (NSEERS)- which is being replaced-since it will be non-discriminatory, risk-free, meets high standards of security, evaluation and database, and takes minimum time.

“It will prove that the United States remains a welcoming society- while highest standards of security will be met.”

Asa Hutchinson said “US VISIT is part of a message- yes, to enhance security and at the same time improve the integrity of our immigration system,” adding it would also benefit and facilitate those who wish to travel to the United States.

US VISIT system, he said is mandated by the United States Congress.

October 18, 2004

Daily Times

U.S. will work with Musharraf to develop Pakistan
Hillary says Islamabad made the right decisions

WASHINGTON: The United States has forged a new partnership with Pakistan and without Pakistan’s cooperation, waging the war on terrorism would not have been possible, said US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In his remarks to the US Global Leadership Campaign, Powell said, “I called President Musharraf two days after 9/11 and he agreed that it was time for him to make a strategic choice – and he made that choice.”

“Now, three years later, we are working in close partnership with President Musharraf, as we help him to move his country forward at a pace that Pakistani people can absorb.”

Powell said America had provided South Asia with unprecedented cooperation. “We have transformed our relationship with India and we have forged a new partnership with Pakistan.”

Powell said United States no longer viewed India and China as they had been viewed earlier. “Both of them are now important friends and partners, and because of that relationship, we can help them as they deal with their difficulties.”

“We work with our Quartet partners, the Russian Federation, the United Nations and the European Union to be ready to do what we can to move the Middle East peace process along so we can achieve the goals of the roadmap which were laid out by the President in June, 2002. A Palestinian state that is free and at peace with the state of Israel remains our goal and we will do everything we can to achieve that goal”, he said.

Meanwhile, the decisions Pervez Musharraf had to make in the war against terrorism were difficult, but he made the right choices, said Senator Hillary Clinton to a group of Pakistani-Americans at a reception held in Los Angeles.

Hillary said United States and Pakistan faced several challenges – the most significant from the “menace of terrorism”.

The senator recalled her meetings with President Gen Pervez Musharraf, particularly her last visit to Pakistan, and said that Pakistan’s commendable role in the fight against terrorism ensured that it was in the interest of the US to maintain a long-term relationship with it.

She said Pakistan should be extended all the support for the social development of its population, human resources and educational system and she praised the Aga Khan Foundation’s philanthropic contributions towards these goals.

The reception, hosted by Rehman Jinnah, a prominent Pakistani businessman and director of Pakistani-American LiaisonCenter (PAL-C), was attended by Charge d’Affaires at the Pakistani Embassy, Mohammad Sadiq and Consul General Noor Mohammad Jadmani.

During his stay in California, the acting Pakistani ambassador also met Congress opposition leader Nancy Pelosi and discussed bilateral issues.

Earlier, at a meeting in Orange County with community leaders and activists, Sadiq said the embassy would continue to do its for Pakistani-Americans.

Community activists Parvaiz Lodhi, Ahmad Ali, Hamid Malik and Faiz Rehman, the executive director of Congressional Pakistan Caucus, thanked the embassy for pursuing community welfare.

Sadiq expressed his gratitude to the community for its active role in the establishment of the Pakistan Caucus in a short period of time. – APP

September 26, 2004

Daily Times

POSTCARD USA: The General in Washington

The President said NOT a word about the newly-inducted civilian government. He said not a word about the National Assembly or the Senate. He said not a word (but let me first wipe away a tear) about Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. He said not a word about the No 1 hit parade item in Pakistan, his uniform. And he said not a word about the press

Gen Pervez Musharrf is come and gone, from Washington that is, and the sun has still risen from the east the next morning and the traffic on the beltway has been just as bad. He came for half a day, his entourage in tow, which, as in the past, was small, though complete with our immaculately turned out foreign minister, Mr KM “Blameworthy” and information wizard and ebullient spokesman Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, his face flush with good health and his jet black hair as free of grey as it has been since the day he acquired it. The special flight from New York landed at the Andrews Air Force Base near Washington and, contrary to earlier information, the ten or so journalists covering the tour were brought along.

One of the early acts in office of the General was to abolish free trips for the press; however, that “mistake” has since been corrected, thanks to the discreet ministrations of my good friend Sam, known otherwise as Syed Anwar Mahmood, the eyes and ears of this regime. I also saw for the first time a gent I only see on TV, announcing military victory after military victory over the residents of South Waziristan. Because of the tight security in effect, I was unable to get within carnation-throwing distance of Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan, not that I was carrying any carnations.

The President arrived and the large audience of Pakistanis, some local, others from near and far, rose and gave him the sort of ovation that must have immediately improved the bad taste in his mouth left by unhelpful editorials in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. It was most impressive, but Pakistanis are such spoilsports, because one sitting next to me whispered in my ear that he had heard even lustier cheering for Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq and anyone and everyone who has come along from the catbird seat in Islamabad. I found that most reassuring.

The community meeting, as the Pakistan embassy had billed it, was actually paid for not by the community, its upwardly mobile (Gen Musharraf’s favourite expression) fat cats notwithstanding, but by that old workhorse, the Pakistani taxpayer. Why the meeting wasn’t held at the embassy, as originally announced, but at Mayflower Hotel, Washington’s most expensive, is something for Mr Shaukat Aziz’s desk at the finance ministry to work out. After all, he it is who is going to issue a special sanction for this road-show. The proceedings began on a most extraordinary note. The address of welcome was made not by a member of the community but by the Charge d’Affaires Mohammad Sadiq, who is rather given to describing himself by a rank that does not exist in the diplomatic blue book: Acting Ambassador.

General Musharraf is generally a cool and laid-back person, but one could see that he was thrown by the His Acting Excellency’s performance (and in fact said as much when he finally and at long last got an opportunity to speak). For a moment, I at least was transported to those heady meetings at Mochi Gate, so overwrought was Gen Jehangir Karamat’s future No 2. I have seldom heard a more emotional and sycophantic introduction in my life, and I have heard a few. It actually had the President blushing. The said Mr Sadiq informed everyone that in his 24 years as a diplomat, he had never known a leader to interview whom, even for five minutes, the media would mob an embassy. Such popularity, he said to titters from the less discreet, fell to the lot of only a few leaders. He said everyone in that auditorium had come in response to “just one e-mail” (nice to know that all Pakistanis are now computer savvy). So emotional had Mr Sadiq become by now that I was getting worried about his blood pressure. He did in the end sit down, but not before he had declared, “Like the green Hilali Parcham, our hearts are also green.” Normally, green has been taken to be the colour of jealousy. Didn’t the Bard call jealousy the “green-eyed monster?”

Since I have already reported the President’s speech in some detail in this newspaper, I will skip what he said. What is interesting is what the President did NOT say. He said not a word about the newly-inducted civilian government. He said not a word about the National Assembly or the Senate. He said not a word (but let me first wipe away a tear) about Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. He said not a word about the No 1 hit parade item in Pakistan, his uniform. And he said not a word about the press for which he always has either some choice epithets or some advice.

He did remind everyone though that “If you live in the river, it is not a smart idea to have the crocodile for an enemy.” I think I will send the President a complimentary copy of a book I once wrote, called The Crocodiles are Here to Swim.

Khalid Hasan is Daily Times’ US-based correspondent.


August 25, 2004

64 Pakistani Detainees in U.S. to Return Home

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s charge d’ affaires in Washington Mohammad Sadiq has said that 64 Pakistani detainees in the U.S. will be sent back to Pakistan through charter planes in 48 hours.

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan embassy in Washington Mohammed Sadiq said “All arrangements for sending the detainees back to Pakistan have been made by the Pakistan embassy, US immigration and customs enforcement and homeland security departments.

He said that half of the detainees are those who were advised to leave the country a few days back but they did not follow the advice and the rest of the people were charged of credit card frauds and domestic crimes, they have completed their sentences and are being sent back to home.

This will be the eighth chartered flight, as 1682 Pakistanis have been sent back to Pakistan earlier.

Mr. Mohammd Sadiq, Charge d’Affaires a.i.’s Interview with FOX News on August 22, 2004.

Transcript of Fox News Live Interview

Pakistan’s Charge d’Affaires in Washington Mr. Mohammad Sadiq was interviewed by Fox News Live on Sunday, August 22. He said “war on terror is our war, and we have to fight it.”

Following is the transcript of the interview:

Q: Who is behind this?.

Sadiq: Well, we have made several arrests in last week of suspects who have links with al-Qaeda. Two of their leaders who are Egyptian nationals are at large. We are looking for them.

Q: What about bin Laden?

Sadiq: It is very difficult to say. We believe that bin Laden is alive and we are looking for him, and we hope to find him.

Q: Are you under good deal of pressure now from the US to produce results on terrorism.

Sadiq: No, it is a total misperception. We are under no pressure. We know that War on Terror is our war and we have to fight it. We are under no pressure, whatsoever.

Q: Human intelligence led to these arrests?

Sadiq: Probably yes, we have better human intelligence now. It was basically an all Pakistani intelligence agencies’ operation. They got the information and worked on it. Since the operation is on, and we are still looking for more suspects a lot of information is not made public at this stage including the identities of the people already arrested.

Q: You are questioning these people, what kind of information you are getting?

Sadiq: This interrogation and questioning have established that they have links with al Qaeda

Q: What kind of links with al Qaeda.

Sadiq: Like other terrorist organizations, probably al Qaeda also has targets and leaders but not necessarily an elaborate list of members and associates. As a significant portion of its leadership is put out of action, it is probably no longer a monolithic organization. I understand, it works in different cells – some of them are sleeping cells, some of them are basically gangs which take one or two actions, and then disappear. They may even don’t know about each other. The group we busted, we believe is linked to al Qaeda. It may not have a name even or what kind of direct links it had with al Qaeda. But the people on the top the group who were giving directions to the people arrested have definite al Qaeda links.

Q: It sounds, if it’s like a franchise out, then it’s not monolithic as you were describing. Then what is at the top, who is dictating to follow the orders.

Sadiq: The terrorist organizations work clandestinely. They work underground they do not have an open membership, for example. They may have different cells, but these cells are not necessarily linked with each other, or some time they do not know about each other. I think, by nature, this is an activity, one could expect that they will act like this.

Q: A lot of people think, a lot of most the experts we talked with believe that OBL is in Pakistan, or right there on Pakistan-Afghanistan border? If you think he is, and if so, what keeps you from going after?

Sadiq: We do not know what is the exact location of OBL. We will be very happy to know the location of OBL. People who think they know where bin Laden is should share this information with us. It is widely suspected that he is operating somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan border. We are on the look out for him.

August 18, 2004

Pakistan has 100,000 Troops Along Afghan Border: Envoy

(Hindustan Times) – Pakistan has admitted for the first time that it deployed “over 100,000” troops along its border with Afghanistan, implying a thinning of troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The “surprise admission” by Mohammad Sadiq, acting Pakistani ambassador to the US, was made during a panel discussion on Fox television about an earlier report that a “terrorist summit” had been held in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area, said Daily Times in a report from Washington.

“Pakistan has over 100,000 troops on the western border now – on the border with Afghanistan. It is a territory where troops had never been stationed in history.

“Since soldiers are there in the border area and they are taking action there, a lot of terrorists from that area have dispersed to other places and they are on the run,” said Sadiq.

The paper said in the past Pakistani authorities had put the number of troops deployed in the area at under 70,000.

“If the number is now as high as stated by the Pakistani diplomat, then it can be assumed that the number of troops holding defensive positions along the Line of Control is thinner.”

“What implications on the country’s defence against sudden or possible attack will appear to be in need of careful analysis,” it said.

The LoC is the military ceasefire line that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

Husain Haqqani, senior scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said while Pakistan deserved credit for arresting a large number of terrorists and terrorism suspects, it should be realised that President Pervez Musharraf was an “ally of convenience, not commitment”.

Participating in the discussion, he drew the panel’s attention to constant charges that politics was being played in Pakistan with the war against terrorism.

One crucial question to ask was why after two years of this war against terrorism, Al-Qaeda still seemed to consider Pakistan as a place it could operate and assemble in, as well as a place where it could seek refuge, said Haqqani.

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August 18, 2004

100,000 Troops Deployed Along Afghan Border


Terrorists on the run from tribal areas due to Army operations

WASHINGTON: For the first time, it has been officially stated that there are “over 100,000” Pakistani troops on the country’s border with Afghanistan.

The surprise admission from Mohammad Sadiq, acting Pakistani ambassador to the Untied States, was made during a panel discussion on Fox television regarding an earlier report by the right-wing cable channel that a “terrorist summit” had taken place in the area.

Mr Sadiq said, “Pakistan has over 100,000 troops on the western border now – on the border with Afghanistan. It is a territory where troops had never been stationed in history. Since soldiers are there in the border area and they are taking action there, a lot of terrorists from that area have dispersed to other places and they are on the run.”

In the past, the figure for Pakistani troops deployed in the area has been placed at a maximum of 70,000. If the number is now as high as stated by the Pakistani diplomat, then it can be assumed that the number of troops holding defensive positions along the Line of Control is thinner. What implications that has from the point of view of the country’s defence against sudden or possible attack will appear to be in need of careful analysis.

Also taking part in the programme was Husain Haqqani, senior scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who said that while Pakistan deserved credit for arresting a large number of terrorists and terrorism suspects, it should be realised that Gen Pervez Musharraf was an “ally of convenience, not commitment.” He also drew the panel’s attention to charges constantly being made that politics was being played in Pakistan with the war against terrorism. He added that one crucial question to ask was why after two years of this war against terrorism, Al Qaeda still seemed to consider Pakistan as a place it could operate and assemble in, as well as a place where it could seek refuge.

By Khalid Hasan

Mr. Mohammd Sadiq, Charge d’Affaires a.i.’s Interview with FOX News On 15/08/2004

“At Large with Geraldo Rivera”
Pakistan has continued month long crack down. In the past several days, authorities there have busted a dozen more foreign and local al-Qaeda suspects.

There has been operation in Waziristan. The terrorists have been posing threat to President Musharraf’s life. Tonight we will tell you about the secret terrorist summit. Discovery of summit by al-Qaeda, second standing leaders of al-Qaeda attend. Officials feel the meeting was a pivotal planning session. Some summit attendees have been arrested to date. Orther summit suspects still at large. A U.S. homegrown terrorist is at large.

There was another fierce fight between Pakistan army with tribesmen the lawless tribesmen from the lawless areas along the Afghan border yesterday. The have been fighting since March, when the first major Pakistani military operation was launched in the violent province of Waziristan. That coincided with ‘Operation Mountain Shadow’ – a major U.S.-led operation on the other side of the border line. At that time, experts speculated that Pakistan was only acting under pressure from the United States to finally do something about the terrorists thought to be hiding in the rugged region.

Since then, Pakistan has more than proven itself a firm ally in the fight against terrorists- busting scores of them. And, otherwise demonstrating that they are willing to take bold action against al-Qaeda. When the tribesmen put up a surprisedly dogged fight back in March, Pakistani authorities speculated that they were doing it to protect high ranking terrorists in their midst. And, now U.S. and Pakistani authorities have proved that there was, indeed, terrorists’ summit in that border region in March, 2004- as TIME magazine reports in its current issue. The fear is that the meeting was a planning session for a terrorist strike in this country, and that some of the summit participants have been busted. Others are still at large and considered very dangerous.

Joining now for a more exclusive information are:

Elaine Shannon, TIME magazine’s special correspondent.

Geraldo: Do you really think this happened, this is not just mish-mash talk. We really have physical proof or you talked to reliable sources who had that kind of proof that there really was a terrorist summit, whose some of the participants are still at large and very dangerous.

Elaine: That’s right. President Musharraf told my colleague about it. He is quite positive, and he has his own intelligence.The U.S. has intelligence too. There is an eye witness man who was there. Who is now cooperating with FBI in the witness protection program. He was arrested right after he came back to New York from this meeting. He talked to police, and he is now talking about it.

Geraldo: Can we assume, therefore, that whatever they were attempting to hatch has been thwarted. Is there optimism.

Elaine: It’s probably thwarted for now. But, everybody knows that al-Qaeda people were very persistent. They have many different timelines many different plots running on parallel tracks. so that if one group of one plot is taken down there, others are in works.

To discuss the secret summit and progress on the war on the radicals is Pakistani Charge d’Affaires, Mohammad Sadiq.

Geraldo: Mr. Charge d’ affaires: Pakistan seems to be on an incredible role, how are you attaining such incredible success?.

Sadiq: Basically, three very important things happened in recent months:

– We have almost 100,000 troops on the western border now -on border with Afghanistan. It is a territory where troops were never stationed in history. Since, soldiers are there and they are actively pursuing the terrorists, the terrorists from that area have dispersed to other places. They are on the run.

– Better intelligence, which is available to us now. In our past operation, we learnt several things. New techniques as well as better human intelligence are helping us.

– We are better equipped today. Technically, we have a much superior capability now than, let us say, a few months ago. These three things contributed to our success.

Geraldo: Congratulations. It really has been extremely impressive.

Hussain Haqqani:

Q-What is your comment on the scores of arrests they made since July?.

Haqqani: Pakistan always invites the metaphor of proverbial half empty half full glass. Yet, there are achievements, and one should give credit where credit is due. At the same time the fact
remains that two years after 9/11, al-Qaeda still thinks that Pakistan is a place where it should have a terrorist summit; and, we found out about the summit six or seven months after it
actually took place.

So, while achievements have been made, there is a long way to go.

Geraldo: Well, Mr. Charge d’affaires, commenting on Ambassador
Haqqani’s statement is the glass in your view more than half full?.

Sadiq: First, I will comment on the story of Time magazine. There was a meeting in March and this is the information provided by Pakistan to the TIME magazine. Actually, President Musharraf spoke about it. But, calling it a summit is not right. As far as we know, there were two foreigners who visited that area and met some people there. But, calling it a summit, is a bit too much, I think. It’s just sensationalizing the whole thing

Secondly, yes, I totally agree a lot needs to be done and we are doing a lot more. Terrorism is a huge problem, it will need a lot of effort to eliminate. We never said, it will be easy. We know that it is very difficult, and we are determined to do it. And, hopefully, with the support of our friends, we will be able to root it out.

Geraldo: Col. David Hunt (Fox News Commentator): Isn’t Pakistan the key to all this war to this whole war, because whatever reason as ambassador Haqqani suggests they still think, Pakistan is a place to hang out. Are they the case President Musharraf may be the most important man on the side of President Bush in the whole war?.

Hunt: There’s no question on that part of world, we could not get to deal with al-Qaeda or really make a dent we need to – without Pakistan’s help.

What the two things have happened since the past two months: retired special forces have been hired to go to Pakistan and help the military on that part. It’s CIA program, that news broken a week ago.

Secondly, what’s still happening now is we are not being allowed to come across the border from Afghanistan and help more aggressively.

We need more NATO and U.S. and Coalition/NATO forces to go across the border, where you were Geraldo 8 months ago, often that’s mountainous area. Let our guys go back and forth. That’s the only thing, I think, we are missing. It is better with Pakistan, they have done their job –which we congratulate it, but, much more needs to be done. You right, they’re the key.

August 7, 2004

Ansar Mahmood Deported

On August 12, after spending more than 30 months detained at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, New York, Ansar Mahmood was driven to New York’s JFK airport and deported to Pakistan on a commercial flight, accompanied by two U.S. guards. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Russ Knocke said Mahmood arrived in Pakistan around 5 p.m. on August 13. Mahmood had been “extremely cooperative” while in the agency’s custody, said Knocke, and he might one day be able to return legally to the U.S.

Mahmood entered the U.S. in April 2000 as a permanent legal resident and began working delivering pizzas in Hudson, New York. On October 9, 2001, he was arrested on suspicion of terrorism after asking guards at the Hudson water treatment plant to take his photo to send to his family. Mahmood was cleared of any connection to terrorism, but while he was detained investigators searched his apartment and accused him of “harboring illegal aliens” because he had co-signed an apartment lease and registered a car for a couple whose visas had expired. (The couple was deported.) Mahmood was released on bond on October 18, 2001; in January 2002, on the advice of an attorney, he pled guilty to the “harboring” charge; he was then ordered deported and was detained at the Buffalo facility.

Residents of the Hudson area formed a defense committee which sought to win Mahmood’s release and halt his deportation. His case won considerable press attention, and seven U.S. senators and 20 U.S. representatives took up his cause. Mahmood’s case is one of 13 included in an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) petition to the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights, protesting the U.S. government’s arbitrary detention of Arab and Muslim men following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. (New York Times 8/14/04; AP 8/13/04; Email from Ansar Mahmood Defense Committee (AMDC) 8/13/04; Fact Sheet from AMDC website)

Mahmood was deported two weeks after he met with Pakistan Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq on July 30 in Washington. The embassy had Mahmood flown specially from Batavia for the meeting, which was joined by ICE Buffalo acting field director William Cleary. Sadiq explained he had been unsuccessful in efforts to stop Mahmood’s deportation; Cleary praised Mahmood for his good behavior and said he perhaps could return to the U.S. someday. (AMDC Update 8/7/04).

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July 2, 2004

Pakistan to Protest New Security Rules

Top Diplomat: Terror Camps Don’t Exist, Islamabad Doing More Than U.S. Army

WASHINGTON – Pakistan will formally protest a new federal counterterrorism measure to intensify screening of Pakistani travelers entering the U.S. at major airports across the country, a top Pakistani diplomat said yesterday.

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered immigration inspectors at six of the nation’s busiest airports, including Washington Dulles International, to check all passengers of Pakistani descent – including naturalized U.S. citizens – for minor wounds possibly received while training at terrorist camps in Pakistan.

U.S. authorities fear Pakistanis trained at such camps are determined to carry out terrorist activities in the U.S. before the November elections.

News of the increased scrutiny, first reported Monday by WorldNetDaily, stirred the ire of Pakistani government officials, who called it “unfair” and “damaging” to U.S.-Pakistani relations. Publicly, President Bush has praised Pakistan as a “key ally” in the war on terrorism.

Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, says he’s been directed by Islamabad to lodge a complaint with the State Department. He complained that Islamabad was not told of the special operation singling out Pakistanis.

“We will be formally protesting to the U.S. administration on this at a very high level, because we think this is unfair treatment of Pakistani nationals,” Sadiq said in a WorldNetDaily interview.

“There were no Pakistanis among the hijackers of 9-11,” he added. “And Pakistanis in this country are law-abiding citizens. They have not given any reason to Homeland Security or any department to treat them so harshly.”

The new action is detailed in a closely held two-page bulletin circulated among U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at major airports. WorldNetDaily obtained a copy of the official bulletin. Citing recent terrorist activities in other parts of the world, it warns that “persons of Pakistani descent are increasingly being identified with many of these extremist activities, including supporting [and] protecting the operations of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.”

The FBI recently issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for a Pakistani woman, Aafia Siddiqui, who it suspects may be an al-Qaida “facilitator” for U.S. operations. Authorities say the U.S.-educated Siddiqui returned to Pakistan shortly after 9-11 with her husband. The FBI is also seeking an American Muslim convert, Adam Gadahn, who is allegedly connected to al-Qaida. Authorities say Gadahn traveled to Pakistan to train at al-Qaida camps following his conversion.

Although most of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi nationals, one of them met with 9-11 plot mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Karachi, Pakistan, before the attacks. Mohammed, along with senior al-Qaida operatives Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh, were captured in Pakistan after 9-11. In addition, funds left over from the 9-11 operation were withdrawn in Karachi, according to the FBI.

Suspected al-Qaida and Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo include 82 Pakistanis, the third largest nationality represented at the prison behind Saudis and Yemenis.

More recently, a group of young Americans convicted in Virginia on terror-related charges made trips to Pakistan to train and participate in jihadi warfare.

Sadiq maintains the security alert is “based on misinformation.” He denies the existence of terrorist training camps in Pakistan, including along the Afghan border.

“There are no terrorist camps in Pakistan,” he insisted.

“Point them out if they know there are training camps,” Sadiq challenged the administration. “If we have training camps, then we should not be allies of the United States, should we?”

Just three days before federal authorities issued the politically sensitive June 17 internal warning on Pakistani travelers, Vice President Dick Cheney praised Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terrorism during a speech in Florida.

Sadiq noted: “If we are an ally, and President Bush and everyone else in the administration is saying that we are doing a wonderful job there in curbing terrorism, then there definitely is some disconnect between these departments (Homeland Security and Justice) and the rest of the administration.”

The June 17 bulletin suggests recent Pakistani raids near the Afghan border have yielded evidence of terrorist training.

“Recent police raids and military operations in Pakistan also document the terrorist-related threat posed by individuals traveling to train at terrorist camps in Pakistan,” the internal document said. “It is reasonable to expect that many of the individuals trained in the Pakistani camps are destined to commit illegal activities in the United States.”

The bulletin lists “any travel to the area known as Waziristan, Pakistan,” as one of several red flags airport inspectors should look for when processing Pakistani passengers. Waziristan, a tribal area along the Afghan border, is known as an al-Qaida hotbed.

“This area is generally void of activity other than narcotics smuggling and terrorist training [and] recruitment,” according to the bulletin.

Still, Sadiq insists there are no terrorist training camps in Waziristan, either.

“In Waziristan, the Pakistani army is taking action against foreigners. There are no camps as such,” he said. “There are people who were hiding there. There are just people who were hiding there.”

U.S. intelligence believes Osama bin Laden and members of his inner circle, including al-Qaida’s No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, escaped to the Pakistani badlands in December 2001 from Afghanistan. It wasn’t until last year, however, that Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf ordered his troops into the tribal region to hunt for the al-Qaida leaders. U.S. officials say results so far have been disappointing. Nearly three years after ordering the attacks on the U.S., bin Laden and his No. 2 are believed to be still at large in the border region, and both leaders are still able to have tapes delivered to Arab media from there.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan recently criticized the Pakistani military for not doing enough to capture or kill al-Qaida fugitives inside Pakistan’s sovereign territory.

“The Pakistani army should do more to put an end to this threat in this part of the world because we clearly know it is there,” Lt. Gen. David W. Barno recently was quoted as saying.

Sadiq, however, praised the efforts of the Pakistani army.

“The Pakistani army has taken casualties fighting terrorists there,” he noted. “In fact, we have taken more casualties than the entire U.S. forces in Afghanistan fighting against terrorism there.”

Musharraf has barred U.S. forces based in Afghanistan from crossing the border to help Pakistani forces hunt for bin Laden – or even counterattack marauding al-Qaida forces.

In fact, “politics associated with the border have complicated an effective lethal response to the rocket fire” against American forces in Afghanistan launched from al-Qaida and Taliban fighters on the Pakistani side of the border, according to an after-action review authored last year by Army Lt. Col. Robert Chamberlain. He said the local command on the Afghan side had gathered “irrefutable, easily understood evidence of the violations for use in addressing the Pakistani government.”

Asked about the ban on American forces in Pakistan, Sadiq became testy and suggested the Pentagon doesn’t want U.S. troops to join the hunt for al-Qaida leaders on the other side of the border for fear they would be stretched too thin.

“U.S. troops are based in Afghanistan. Do they want to come to Pakistan to fight the terrorists? Huh? Yeah, I think it is better you check with them. Better check with the U.S. troops or the DOD (Department of Defense). Just better you check with them, you know,” he said. “Because Afghanistan’s territory is larger than Iraq, and there are only 10,000 American troops there” compared with some 140,000 in Iraq.

Sadiq says Musharraf has posted about 70,000 Pakistani troops on the Afghan border.

President Bush wants Congress to reward the Musharraf government with a five-year, $3 billion assistance package. He has already lifted economic and some military sanctions on his regime, which took power in a military coup.

A Times of India article citing WND¹s scoop says Islamabad is playing a double game with Washington.

“Their military-dominated government patronized terrorism right up to 9-11 when it changed course in the face of U.S. anger,” the June 30 article said. “Almost every major terrorist strike in the 1990s originated from Pakistan.”

Indeed, the 9-11 Commission found that the Pakistani government husbanded the Taliban and al-Qaida before 9-11, and it said one former senior official even tipped off the head of the Taliban about planned U.S. military strikes.

Also, Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies reportedly coordinated terrorist recruiting and training efforts with al-Qaida. A senior 9-11 Commission staff member told the Los Angeles Times the Pakistanis were in with the Taliban and al-Qaida “up to their eyeballs.”

The whole Taliban movement was born in Karachi, where strict Islamic schools called madrassas churn out anti-American extremists.

The Indian article went on to say the Pakistani government, particularly its military intelligence service, “has never been called to account” by the Bush administration for its role in cultivating terrorism.

Sadiq also decried the increased scrutiny of Pakistanis as racist.

“The treatment of Pakistanis at the airport is already very, very bad, and the administration is aware of it,” he complained. “And now it will get even worse, so that does not improve the U.S. image in Pakistan,” where a recent Pew Research Center poll found that 65 percent of Pakistanis favor the anti-American views of bin Laden.

But Michelle Malkin, author of the bestseller “Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, And Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores,” praised the U.S. move as “exactly the kind of vigilant security measures” the government should be undertaking to win the war on terror. She says immigration and transportation authorities in Washington have been too racially sensitive when it comes to protecting the American homeland from the foreign Islamic threat.

July 2, 2004

‘Bruised’ Pak Blasts U.S. for its ‘Ignorance’ over Terror Checks

New York(ANI): Stung by the US’ decision to check its nationals for injuries like rope burns, unusual bruises, and scars which might have occurred by training in terror camps, an apparently humiliated Pakistan has strongly taken up the issue with Washington, The Nation reported Friday.

It decried as unwarranted the US order requiring its inspectors at the major airports to closely examine all the passengers of Pakistani descent for any terrorist links.

“We have taken up the matter with the US authorities,” Mohammad Sadiq, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Pakistan embassy in Washington, told the paper. “It is not only unfortunate, but based on ignorance. Warnings like these……..harm a lot to us, Pakistani Americans and the Pakistani citizens visiting United States,” he reportedly said.

According to the paper, a two-page “action” bulletin of the US Customs and Border Protection Department, released on June 17, says: “The recent intelligence received from Pakistan and elsewhere indicates that people of Pakistani descent are increasingly being identified with ‘extremist activities’, including supporting and protecting the operations of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.”

The document further says that officials in Washington believe that many of the individuals trained in the Pakistani camps “were destined to commit illegal activities in the US”. As a precautionary measure, airport inspectors were advised to closely look at the people of Pakistani descent, including the American citizens, who have taken short trips to Pakistan.

-ANI

June 22, 2004

No Help To Al-Qaeda, says Riyadh, Islamabad

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia rejected on Sunday the assertion that their support to the Taliban regime enabled Al Qaeda to launch terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. “We have not enabled the terrorists to attack the United States, it is a completely wrong assertion,” said Mohammed Sadiq, Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington.

Saudi foreign policy adviser Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Washington that a bipartisan commission investigating the 9-11 attacks had vindicated Saudi Arabia by determining that neither its government nor senior officials financed Al Qaeda.

“We are very pleased, because it vindicates what we have been saying all along. It is unfortunate that Congress had to spend millions of dollars in order to pursue outrageous charges,” he said.

The Pakistani diplomat also said that no Pakistani government had ever supported Al Qaeda but acknowledged that Pakistan did recognize the Taliban regime. Explaining Pakistan’s position on this issue, Sadiq said: “We have always supported whichever government controlled Kabul.”

“With a long and porous border with Afghanistan, we cannot afford to ignore the authority that runs Kabul,” he said, adding that Pakistan maintained an embassy in the Afghan capital even during the Soviet occupation.

“With common border, ethnic affiliations and economic inter- dependence, we cannot afford to ignore the government in Afghanistan,” he said. The Saudi foreign policy adviser, however, sought vindication for the Saudi position in the 9-11 commission’s report.

“Here we have an independent commission saying categorically there was no Saudi government involvement or involvement by Saudi princes or Saudi government officials in the financing of Al Qaeda or the 9-11 hijackers,” Jubeir said.

June 16, 2004

Funeral For Pakistani-American U.S. Army Officer Held

WASHINGTON, USA: DCM Mohammad Sadiq and interns from the Embassy of Pakistan Tuesday evening attended the funeral of Captain Humayun Saqib Khan held at the Arlington National Cemetery, says an Embassy press release.

He was laid to rest with full military honors. Captain Khan was a Pakistani American who served in the U.S. army as an ordnance officer, being the senior-most community member to die in Iraq. His colleagues and superiors remembered him for his courage, honesty, sense of humor and grace while in the field, even under pressure. Captain Khan’s colleagues eulogized his exemplary services and praised him for the leadership he provided to his troops.

The Muslim chaplain who led the Nimaz-e-Janaza after the military honors, specifically highlighted the ethnically-diverse group that had come to pay its respects to Captain Khan. He was one amongst the growing number of Pakistani Americans in the U.S. army.

March 4th, 2004

Internship Opportunities at the Embassy of Pakistan
By Zara Khan

School of Foreign Service

Georgetown University

The Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC is the first Government agency to start an organized internship program designed to give students firsthand experience in American as well as Pakistani politics. It exposes them to the practice of diplomacy, and offers them a practical introduction to the dynamics of international relations. The Embassy seeks to broaden the horizons of individuals who wish to affect positive change, offering a learning environment where motivated young men and women can channel their creative energies. It is also an ideal setting to apply what they are taught in university towards their professional development.

Interns work directly under the supervision of the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC. The DCM, Mr. Mohammed Sadiq, joined the Embassy in August 2002. Mr. Sadiq serves as a mentor for the interns, and offers a wealth of global experience. He holds a masters degree from Columbia University and has held various diplomatic postings as part of Pakistan Foreign Service, in addition to working with the United Nations. Nadia Naviwala, a student of Foreign Policy at Georgetown University and pioneer coordinator of the internship program, often tells people, “He’s done everything from working with the United Nations to living with the Amish.”

Mr. Sadiq is especially popular with second-generation Pakistani-Americans because of his confidence in their potential as future leaders. He often jokes that his office has started to look more like a college campus than a diplomat’s office.

One of the highlights of being at the Embassy is that distinguished public figures are always passing through. Intern Maria Raza from University of California, Berkeley remembers that “the best day of the internship was meeting President Musharraf.” In addition to President Musharraf, interns met Prime Minister Jamali, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokar, US Attorney General John Ashcroft, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Senator and lobbyist Charlie Wilson, executive producer of the film “Jinnah” and distinguished Professor Akbar S. Ahmed, the President of PAKPAC, founder of Human Development Foundation and Minister of State Dr. Nasim Ashraf (NCHD), and a delegation of women parliamentarians.

Although an unpaid position, the internship provides college and graduate students valuable, firsthand knowledge of international relations and Pakistani-American affairs. The duties and responsibilities of the interns cover a broad spectrum of interests that serve both the interns’ learning objectives as well as the embassy’s needs. Interns draft press releases, prepare reports, write speeches, update the website, and attend events on behalf of the Embassy. They also play a significant role in organizing events at the Embassy. During the summer of 2003, interns organized the reception of 500 guests at President Musharraf’s inauguration of the new Embassy building and arranged the Embassy’s Independence Day celebrations on August 14, 2003. A number of diplomats and senior administration officials attended this event, including Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca.

Aisha Sarwari, a recent graduate and journalist reflects, “If anyone is interested in positively making a difference, this is the place to be. I must say that this internship is part of a historical process. This is a time of significance for anyone interested in Pakistan-US relation. And by interning here, one witnesses this without any media lens. By being here you realize now’s the time, and I am the one to do it. Any good ideas, hard work and dedication will be easily implemented and results will be visible.”

Public accolade from the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the Ambassador, as well as praise from several parliamentarians and Ministers of State, have ascertained that efforts to establish the Government of Pakistan’s first-ever internship program have been worthwhile. Due to the high volume of interest and applications, the Embassy is now working to expand opportunities for students to develop their professional experience. Working through the Pakistani-American Leadership Initiative, the Embassy hopes to open up more internship opportunities in fields that are traditionally neglected by the Pakistani-American community. Prospective placements include the offices of Congressman, think tanks, the media, and even a theatre group. For details on up and coming opportunities, please join the PALI list-serve by sending an email to contact@pali.us or see http://www.pali.us.

Osman Ashai, the program’s only Kashmiri-American and aspiring politician, offers his evaluation of the Embassy program, “I really enjoyed the experience. I learned so much about Politics, Diplomacy, and International Affairs. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in these areas.” More information about internship program can be found by visiting the website online at http://www.embassyofpakistan.org/internship.php. Deadline for Summer Applications is April 1, 2004.

February 20, 2004

End Of A Futile Exercise

The reported scrapping of the controversial control on foreign visitors from 25 countries by the US government on Monday, will be undoubtedly welcomed by the adversely affected countries, mostly Muslim. It will be noted that the control, which had been hastily introduced by the US government in the aftermath of the ghastly nine-eleven terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. Quite understandable is the American administration’s quandary that led to the imposition of the control as sort of a pre-emptive measure against repetition of similar or ghastlier incidents. As for targeting of Muslim nations in particular, this should become enough evident from a cursory glance at the list of the affected 25 countries, which is as follows: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Moreover, in so far as its application mostly on the visitors from the Muslim countries is concerned, this was owed evidently to the apprehensions arising from the identification of Osama bin Laden’s extremist Al-Qaeda network, with its base in Afghanistan. More to it, most of the suspects in that terrorist attack, as also in other incidents of similar nature happened to belong to the Muslim countries.

It is, however, just another matter that the hasty decision to target US visitors, particularly Muslims, including legal immigrants, proved counter-productive from all available indications. It was bound to prove so, more so because of the simple fact that, generally speaking, the Muslim peoples from all over the globe, did neither subscribe to the Al-Qaeda philosophy nor derive any inspiration from its ill-conceived agenda.

For one thing the nine-eleven holocaust will be seen to have shocked many a Muslim country, including Pakistan, which lost no time in wholeheartedly joining the global coalition’s US-led war on international terrorism as a frontline state as primarily focusing Taleban-ruled Afghanistan, believed to be the nerve centre of Al-Qaeda. Despite this, a large number of Pakistani residents and visitors were reported to have been put to unnecessary harassment during erratic implementation of that erratically applied control. Under the original programme, males 16 years or older and nationals of the 25 countries had to be fingerprinted and photographed at the border. They had to re-register 30 days later and on the year’s anniversary of original registration. It will be noted that talking to reporters, Asa Hutchinson of the Department of Homeland Security said with immediate effect, men from 25 nations, who will still be photographed and fingerprinted on arrival, will no longer have to re-register after 30 days and then one year after entering America.

The Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security said that scrapping of the control would free up resources to target more effectively potential terrorists based on individual and not geographic factors. Hutchison is also reported to have said that it was a significant resource commitment to handle these re-registrations, and that the resources could be better used in individual targeting. Moreover, quoting DHS sources, the report under reference said that re-registration had only minimal benefits in terms of national security, pointing out that the officials “never” received any national security “leads” from re-registration. It will be recalled that critics in large numbers had accused the government of unfairly targeting thousands of people on grounds of nationality. That the scrapping of the control would mean quite a big relief to Pakistanis stands confirmed by acting Pakistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, who is reported to have said that the Embassy had been actively engaged with the concerned US officials, in this regard since long, and that the element of unnecessary tension for the community over. He is also reported to have observed that it would save the community of time, energy and money spent on the advocates and the involved legal process.


January 31, 2004

State-of-the-art Boeing 777 inducted in PIA

SEATTLE: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) – the national flag carrier – received its first Boeing 777-200ER here today.

The aircraft – equipped with the most modern equipments and increased safety measures – is economical in maintenance and fuel-efficient with low operational cost thus making it competitive with other airlines of the world.

The Boeing 777-200ER was handed over to the PIA at a delivery ceremony held at Boeing Field in this US city on the West Coast. The delivery document was signed by Chairman PIA, Ahmad Saeed, on behalf of the PIA, and John Quinlivan, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing company.

Senior officials of PIA headed by PIAC Chairman Ahmad Saeed attended the historic occasion. The top management of Boeing company was also present. The PIA Acceptance Team, PIA Legal Counsel, PIA Technical Acceptance team and CAA Director General had already inspected the aircraft. The PIA engineers, pilots and crew members have already acquired training to handle the aircraft.

The plane left Seattle on the same day for Pakistan en-route to London where it will pick up 200 passengers, making it a commercial flight. The Chairman PIA announced on the occasion he would be the first revenue passenger of the newly inducted plane.

Ahmad Saeed, who formally received the plane, said PIA has been turned around and its revenue has increased manifolds. It earned profit of Rs3.5 billion in 2003, which he hoped would increase to Rs5 billion in 2005.

He conveyed the greetings of President, Gen Pervez Musharraf to the US President, George Bush and the people of the United States. He said with the induction of this aircraft, the PIA has entered into a new era of aviation history where it would take a jump-start to touch new horizons.

The induction of seven more aircrafts, the PIA will procure from the Boeing company during the next four years, will revolutionise the airline. With the induction of two more aircraft during the next two months, he said, the western sectors will be strengthened.

After the restoration of air links with India, Pakistan will get more openings on its eastern sides, Saeed added.

He said PIA appreciates its long-term partnership with Boeing company, adding: “PIA was given a task and we have done it.” He said sky is the limit and PIA will further progress in the days to come.

John Quinlivan, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing said his company will continue its long-term partnership with PIA and it will be further strengthened to the benefit of both.

US Senator from Washington, Patty McMurray said Pakistan is an ally of the US in fight against terrorism and the US appreciates its cooperation in the fight against terror. She said PIA is an important airline, which will win over global market. The agreement will benefit both the partners.

Congressman from Seattle, Jim McDermott said it is a great day and he was optimistic about the future of this strong partnership.

Mohammad Sadiq, Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Mission, Washington said it is an historic occasion and it shows us towards bright future. He said PIA will take a jump start now. Later talking to the APP here, Chairman PIA Ahmad Saeed said a new era has begun and effective policies are being adopted which will make PIA competitive and comparable with other airlines. The long-standing cooperation with Boeing company will benefit PIA in a big way.

The Chairman said Pakistan needs more aircraft to face the emerging challenges. The change of colour of the planes and uniforms of its crew-members will give a new look to the airlines. The loan it has received from EXIM Bank to purchase the aircraft will be paid back in twelve years. PIA has struck the best deal, he said.

Saeed said Pakistan has signed component exchange programme with Air France and Boeing Company. Later, PIA will establish code sharing with Air France.

The Chief Executive Officer of Boeing, Alan Mulally said Boeing company has the honour to enter into a long-standing partnership with PIA. It is ready to provide more aircraft to Pakistan’s national flag carrier.

He said Boeing has produced the best planes equipped with the most modern technology. The Boeing 777 family is fuel-efficient and will meet all the requirements of PIA.

After picking up 200 passengers from London, the new aircraft is destined to reach Islamabad at 6.20 am today (Saturday). PIA will receive two more aircrafts before the end of March this year while it will be handed over two 777-200LR in 2006.

The last three 777-300ER will be delivered in 2008. The aircraft 777-200ERs will seat 327 passengers in a two-class configuration. The 777 sets a new level of comfort and spaciousness for air travel because of its new Boeing Signature Interior.

The aircraft will be powered by GE90-94B and GE90-115b engines. General Electric Aircraft Engines is the sole producer of engines for the 777-200LR and 777-300ER airplanes. The 777 family provides the flexibility with different capacities and range capabilities to meet all of PIA’s demands.

January 29, 2004

Political Pakistanis

The Pakistani ambassador is urging Pakistani-Americans to get involved in U.S. politics and show their Islamic values and American patriotism in this presidential election year.

“Pakistani-Americans must play an active role in all stages of the election process,” Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi wrote in an open letter to U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin.

“Other American communities should see you as an active, concerned, cooperative, effective, dynamic, informed, organized and united community. Only then will your views count.”

Mr. Qazi told Pakistani-Americans that they should contact their political officials at all levels of government and reach out to other community associations.

“Project your Islamic values, Pakistani culture and American patriotism as much by example as by word,” he said. “Let Americans be proud of you as Americans of Pakistani origin and Pakistanis proud of you as Pakistanis in America.”

Mr. Qazi also announced plans to open a Jinnah Center, named for Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. The center will be located in the former Pakistani Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW and promote Pakistani history, philosophy and culture, the ambassador said.

The embassy also is compiling a directory of Pakistani-American organizations. Groups can register by sending e-mail to Mohammad Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission, at dcmsadiq@embassyofpakistan.org.

They should include: the names, addresses, e-mail and phone and fax numbers of the organizations; names of their officers; the purposes of the organizations; and their membership numbers.

By James Morrison

Novermber 18, 2005

$1bn aid resolution moved

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov 18: A bipartisan resolution has been moved in the US Congress, seeking $1 billion for the earthquake victims in Pakistan. The resolution, jointly signed by two key members of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, Dan Burton and Sheila Jackson Lee, was proposed at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Later in the afternoon, the two members of the Congress submitted a formal resolution in the house while a concurrent resolution is expected to be moved in the Senate as well. The movers have acquired signatures of two senators required to submit a formal resolution.

“We hope that it will be adopted,” said Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, Mohammed Sadiq. “There’s a strong support for the resolution in both chambers.”

On Thursday, representatives of major Pakistani groups in North America gathered on the hill to demand more attention to the plight of the quake victims amid a perception that donor fatigue has set around the world following a spate of natural disasters, topped by the Dec 26 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

They met more than 120 senators and congressmen on a single day, seeking their support for rebuilding the lives destroyed by the Oct 8 earthquake.

This was the largest ever lobbying effort by the Pakistani community on the hill.

Later, Pakistan Ambassador to US Jehangir Karamat urged leaders of the Pakistani-American community to stay engaged with the legislators as it was the only way to influence policy-making in the US.

He said that while helping the survivors of the earthquake should be their priority, they needed to focus on other issues concerning Pakistan as well.

He identified the issues as bilateral trade and investment, a free trade agreement with the US and continued cooperation in the fields of defence and security.

Novermber 17, 2005

US lawmakers call for $1bn

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov 17: Several prominent US lawmakers on Thursday urged the Bush administration on Thursday to raise its contributions to the earthquake relief and rehabilitation efforts in Pakistan to $1 billion. The proposal was presented by two key members of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, Senator Dan Burton and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and was supported by other legislators as well.

“Our target is to seek up to $1 billion,” said Ms Lee, urging the administration to stay engaged with Pakistan.

“Pakistan is a staunch supporter of the United States in the ongoing war on terrorism. We must help them cope with this disaster,” said Tom Davis, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Referring to his recent visit to Pakistan, Congressman Davis said: “I consider myself a friend of Pakistan. Our destinies are inter-twined and we must continue to work together.”

Earlier, an unusually large number of senators and congressmen attended a bipartisan breakfast on Capitol Hill to express solidarity with the earthquake victims.

Addressing the participants, about two dozen United States lawmakers urged the international community to come forward to help the survivors of the October 8 earthquake before it’s too late.

The lawmakers urged the US government and Congress to do more for the survivors before the severe winter makes life more difficult for them. The Congressional Pakistan Caucus and the Pakistani American Leadership Centre, vowed to work with the lawmakers to raise awareness about the earthquake in the US.

Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission, Mohammad Sadiq, said: “It’s a happy omen that all community organizations, political parties and community activists are working together for a noble cause.”

Monday, November 17, 2005

Day on the Hill” Gathers Record-Breaking Congressional Support for Pakistani Earthquake Relief
By Fauzia Tariq


L to R: Congresswomen Sheila Jackson-Lee, Caucus Co-chair Dan Burton, two groups of guests and Ambassador Jehangir Karamat

Thursday, November 17th marked the achievement of “Day on the Hill”, an unparalleled, cooperative effort by numerous Pakistani-American organizations to garner Congressional support for earthquake relief in Pakistan. The day’s activities included a breakfast reception with Members of Congress in Rayburn House Office Building, followed by constituent meetings to lobby Members of Congress about the dire need for additional U.S. assistance for the humanitarian crisis at hand. The “Day on the Hill” culminated with a community feedback session and dinner hosted by Jehangir Karamat, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US.

During the breakfast reception and individual meetings numerous House Representatives and Senate leaders from both political parties interacted with Pakistani-American organizations, community leaders and concerned citizens. All Members of Congress that attended spoke at the breakfast, articulating their commitment, support, and ideas for strengthening U.S. assistance.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, Co-chair for the Congressional Pakistan Caucus was an honorary host during the morning reception and welcomed her colleagues as well as thanked the organizers. Ms. Jackson-Lee, with fellow Co-chair Dan Burton, introduced H. Res. 562, a resolution urging the U.S. to reaffirm its commitment to earthquake relief through additional support and by pledging long-term reconstruction efforts in affected areas. Ms. Jackson-Lee also confirmed an upcoming visit to Pakistan by House members in order to assess damage and support reconstruction efforts.

Representatives speaking included Robert Simmons of Connecticut, who committed to building a school in an earthquake-affected area. Representative John Conyers of Michigan articulated his admiration for the response by the Pakistani-American community and commended them for their efforts. Representative Chris Van Hollen lamented the lack of media coverage concerning the earthquake and reinforced the need for gathering international support for Pakistan given its strategic role in combating terrorism. Other distinguished Members of Congress that spoke in support of earthquake relief efforts in Pakistan included Representatives Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Thomas Davis of Virginia, Jim Moran of Virginia, Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania and Linda Sanchez of California.

In addition, the event featured remarks by leaders of co-sponsoring organizations. Dr. Saud Anwar, Secretary General of the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC), moderated the event. Aisha Chapra, Executive Director of the Pakistani-American Leadership Center (PAL-C), Pervaiz Lodhie, member of the Board of Directors of PAL-C, and Hussain Malik, President of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA), Dr. Wasiullah Khan, President of the Pakistani American Congress (PAC) and Mr. Hanif Akhtar of PAL-C addressed the group, detailing the contributions of each organization to the relief effort and updating the community of future plans. Also in attendance were Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai, Mr. Rehman Jinnah and Dr. Mansoor Shah of the PAL-C Board of Directors, Mr. Shaukhat Sindhu of PAANA, Mr. Irfan Malik of OPEN and NAPA and Dr. Pervez Shah and Dr. Raza Bokhari of PAKPAC.

Additionally, Mr. Akbar Khawaja, Senator from Pakistan rallied those gathered on behalf Pakistan saying, “We’re all connected and we must respond together. Every contribution, big or small, will impact a life.” Mr. Mohammad Sadiq, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Pakistan, concluded the morning reception with remarks on the successful coming together of so many community organizations for earthquake relief efforts.
The remainder of the day was spent in constituent meetings with Congressional Representatives by state delegations from all across the United States. Community members asked their Representatives and Senators to sign H. Res. 562 and provide additional and long-term relief to Pakistan.

After a long day of lobbying, members of the community came together one final time at the Embassy of Pakistan to reflect on the efforts and successes of the Day. Ambassador Jehangir Karamat applauded the community for their continued support of earthquake victims in Pakistan and highlighted the efforts of the Embassy in relief work. The following organizations were recognized for instrumentality in organizing the massive lobbying day: PAL-C (Pakistani American Leadership Center), PAKPAC (Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee), APPNA (Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America), Rising Leaders, National PSA, OPEN (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, NAPA (National Association of Pakistani Americans), PAANA (Pakistani American Association of North America), COPAA (Council of Pakistani American Affairs), AOPP (Association of Pakistani Professionals), APSENA (Association of Pakistani Scientists and Engineers of North America), PAC (Pakistani American Congress) and PAGW (Pakistani Association of Greater Washington).

The “Day on the Hill” was successful in bringing together and mobilizing committed community members and Congressional leaders in unprecedented force to bring immediate relief for the survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan.

THE SATURDAY POST ……………………….. November 15-21, 2005

Why Should I Donate to the President’s Relief Fund?
An Interview with Mr. Mohammad Sadiq
DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, PAKISTAN EMBASSY, WASHINGTON DC

The President of Pakistan has established a special relief fund for earthquake victims, which (in addition to financing the immediate relief effort) has announced victims’ compensation at Rs.50,000 for the injured and Rs.100,000 for families of the deceased. Like with any government related financial entity, the public is responding with a mix of blind faith and skepticism. The Fund has received generous donations from thousands, while others are holding their purse strings and questioning the honesty of appropriations from this Fund. We are bringing you information that will help you make a more informed decision.

We interviewed Mr. Mohammad Sadiq, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC. Mr. Sadiq is, like all of us, a Pakistani citizen first, and then a diplomat. This tragedy has affected many people he personally knew and he can appreciate people’s concerns about donating to the Government. Read below for his insights on the matter of donating to the President’s Relief Fund.

What can you tell the public about the benefits of donating to the President’s Relief Fund as opposed to other relief agencies and NGOs?

The last thing we want to do is make earthquake relief efforts a competition for funds. Pakistanis should not be working against each other, they should be working together for the greater common good, and that is why we are strongly encouraging people to donate wherever they feel most comfortable.

While there are a few NGOs already on the ground and doing a commendable job, you have to keep in mind that their reach is limited and they can only follow where the Government has already cleared the path. In a disaster of this magnitude, the Government is the only institution that has the capability for a response. But what actually worries me the most is the sudden mushrooming of NGOs that want to work in the earthquake stricken areas. Somebody counted the establishment of 700 new NGOs in last one week. They are collecting comparatively smaller amounts of $10-$20K. They have no experience. They, in most cases, are sending money to untested NGOs. Without due diligence, this money could be wasted. In last one week I received over two dozen calls requesting me to speak at fundraisers that would send money to Kashmir or Hazara to NGOs just started by an uncle or an aunt. This is diluting the whole effort. Wastage is almost certain. My favorite quote is “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions alone are not enough. We need good thinking too.

I could sit here for hours explaining to you the benefits of donating to the government, but in the end, the question is simple: who can reach the most people the fastest?

“In a disaster of this magnitude, the Government is the only institution that has the capability for a response” – Mr. Sadiq

Many people have aired some misgivings about bureaucratic corruption and the potential for misappropriation of the funds being donated to the President’s Relief Fund. What can you tell them to reassure them about the sincerity and transparency of the funds appropriation process?

Some of us are reluctant to give to the government because it is suspected that government is prone to pilferage and wastage. President Musharraf in a televised speech on October 12th assured all the donors that the government is accountable for their donations. I believe in this promise and have made my personal donation to the President’s Fund.

We need to trust the government and as citizens we should take it upon ourselves to make it accountable. I don’t intend to cast aspersion on any organization but it is a well-known fact that even major NGOs spend up to half of the donation money on their administrative needs because they have to pay salaries and rents, etc. The government does not meet the establishment expenses from the donated monies. It pays salaries to soldiers and civil servants from its own budget.

Pakistan has never experienced a disaster of this scale and the world is watching to see how we handle it. We cannot afford to falter for the sake of millions of lives and future credibility in the international community.

Above all, it is our responsibility to be with our country whether it is right or wrong! If it is right we are with it by taking pride in it. If it is wrong we should prove that we are with it by putting it right. We don’t walk away from our country.

“Above all, it is our responsibility to be with our country whether it is right or wrong! If it is right we are with it by taking pride in it. If it is wrong we should prove that we are with it by putting it right. We don’t walk away from our country.”

A lot of people want to help with the shortage of medical, clothing, and food supplies and are collecting many such items to send to Pakistan via PIA. They are getting conflicting information from different sources about whether these supplies are viable to send or not. What is the Embassy’s position on sending supplies?There is no general shortage of supplies in the region. The problem is getting the supplies to those who need them and getting them there as quickly as possible. Right now, roads are blocked and airports flooded with the supplies that are coming in.At the moment, tents are the only major item that is in short supply. We need probably half a million or more of them as millions are rendered homeless. We may need some other items down the line. But the best way to contribute is cash which can buy supplies several times cheaper in Pakistan. If there is shortage of a particular item in coming days, we will be notified and could campaign for it.

“The best way to contribute is cash which can buy supplies several times cheaper in Pakistan.”

What is the Embassy’s target for raising funds for the President’s Relief Fund and how much further do we still need to go as a community to meet that target ?

If I said that the Embassy had a definite target, then I would be telling you that we had already identified a point at which our efforts would be exhausted. Granted that we have been running at maximum capacity since October 8 and are quite exhausted, our crisis management cell at the Embassy will continue with fundraising work as long as there is still community support.

The efforts of the past week, while historic for our community, were just the beginning. We have only started the search and rescue process; there is no complete assessment of destruction in the area, millions are left homeless as winter is approaching, and infrastructure has to be rebuilt.

“The efforts of the past week, while historic for our community, were just the beginning

What is the Embassy doing to reach out to non-Pakistani Americans for raising funds?

The Embassy is using all its resources to reach out both to the Pakistani and non-Pakistani communities. We have called on the US Administration, corporate sector, the US Congress, academia and media for help. The non-Pakistani community has been very sympathetic and we are receiving hundreds of donations from them daily.

However, the Embassy is limited in the sense that we need the community’s help to spread awareness and to make sure that relief efforts do not fizzle out.

” We need the community’s help to spread awareness and to make sure that relief efforts do not fizzle out

THE SATURDAY POST ……………………….. November 12-18, 2005

RENDEZVOUS: Interview with Mr. Mohammad Sadiq

Mohammad Sadiq

Mr. Mohammad Sadiq is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC. He has been in his current position for three years – all of which have spelled dramatic and remarkable progress in the Embassy’s operations, community outreach and public relations, and the integration of young Pakistanis into the mainstream activities of the Embassy. Mr. Sadiq is perhaps one of the best known faces of the Pakistani Mission, who has opened his heart to new ideas and people, and put his mind to garnering support for critical initiatives that have fueled a rapid integration and connectivity within the Pakistani American community. From a small school in rural Sindh near the Thar desert, Mr. Sadiq has taken an educational journey through the University of Peshawar for his MS Political Science, and then the Columbia Univeristy for his MS in International Relations. As you will read from his interview below, his quest for learning was a main motivation for his career choice, and his intellectual journey still continues on the job. We walked away convinced that his intellectual curiosity and his ability to develop innovative solutions to old problems is the foundation for the successful initiatives he has implemented, for the benefit of all Pakistanis living in the US. We felt extremely proud of this gentleman, who is humble, approachable, and a very progressive thinker in all respects, with a great track record to beat.

Mohammad Sadiq
Deputy Chief of Mission
Embassy of Pakistan

Tell us about your personal background, where you grew up, your family and childhood?

Well, I grew up in Pakistan. I went to school in rural Sindh, very close to the Thar desert; my college and graduate studies were in Peshawar, where I got my Masters in Political Science from Peshawar University. Then I did my civil services exam and joined the Foreign Service. After that I studied at the Columbia University and obtained a Masters in International Relations. I come from a large family of four brothers and three sisters. All of them are in Pakistan. It’s very interesting that none of my closest family members live abroad. They always went back to Pakistan, in fact, all of my elders have eventually retired in our ancestral village and even though I can’t appreciate the reasons for doing that at this stage, maybe eventually I’ll fulfill my dream of retiring in a small place by doing the same. It will probably be my wife’s worst nightmare to see me growing vegetables in a small village (laughs).

Why did you choose to join the Civil Services as opposed to other professions like medicine or law?

Well, I was a pre- med student in my undergrad and almost got into medical school, but I decided to go for CSS instead. There was a lot of pressure from my family for me to go to medical school but I didn’t want to do that. From the very beginning I wanted to either join Foreign Service or teach. The reason is very simple. I have never told anyone this before but I think I am senior enough now to share it (laughs). Basically, I have had two hobbies growing up: traveling and reading books. I wanted a career where I could read a book or magazine on the job, and not be criticized. In Foreign Service, the more I read on the job and the more I travel, the more hardworking I should be considered. Teaching could satisfy the intellectual portion, but Foreign Service could satisfy both travel and the intellectual progress. It is a career that provides you with the opportunity to travel, observe different cultures, analyze and report on the situation in different countries, influence policy, and develop ideas and solutions that will help one’s country on a global level. I’m very satisfied with my choice. I actually love what I do and if I had to relive this, I would do it all over again. I would not trade my life for any other profession. I look around and see my colleagues who may be richer or live a more luxurious life but I would still opt for this career

It is a career that provides you with the opportunity to travel, observe different cultures, analyze and report on the situation in different countries, influence policy, and develop ideas and solutions that will help one’s country on a global level

On board nuclear aircraft carrier Harry S Truman
First diplomat to land and take off from USS Truman

Commander of USS Truman presenting a shield to Mr. Sadiq

Where have you served before coming to DC and how has the experience been in your different posts?

I think as it’s true for every profession, each place is different from the previous, and has its own challenges and opportunities. I don’t know if I am lucky or unlucky but I have a knack for landing in places amid extraordinary circumstances (laughs). Like the day I landed in China, India had exploded its nuclear devices; I had to be briefed at the airport and from day one, got into discussions with the Chinese government. From China I went back to the Foreign Office n Islamabad as Director for Kashmir affairs, which is again a very busy, challenging, yet interesting desk. Before China I was in Brussels and dealt with the European Union at a very interesting time. That was a challenging time and a lot of responsibility; I had to travel a lot to cover the meetings at the European Council presidency capitals and the European Parliament. Washington too has a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities. I have had to work here in the post-9/11 environment which is a very challenging time for the whole world, and more so from our point of view. I am very happy that I got all these opportunities. But my favorite place has to be Yugoslavia. That was my first posting and in Foreign Service they say that your first posting is like your first love – you always remember it! Both my daughters were born in Yugoslavia, we traveled a lot and absorbed the country and its culture. It really hurt me to see the War in Yugoslavia; I was living in New York then, and I went back to support and help my friends there in any way I could.

Now that you are the DCM in Washington DC, what are your responsibilities and what role do you play in the Pakistani Mission?

Typically, Pakistani Embassies don’t have a DCM post. But in United States the DCM is an established position, because of the structure and requirement of the US government and Foreign Service. Essentially, the DCM’s office is like a clearing house. Some 170 letters and files pass through my office everyday. I perform a range of functions, but essentially my job is to assist the Ambassador. My second responsibility is to coordinate the activities of all the Pakistani consulates in the United States, and the activities of all the wings within the Embassy. Then finally, research and drafting of reports and policy papers consume a lot of my energy and it is also the part I enjoy the most. We have a wonderful team of diplomats in the Embassy and a leader like Ambassador Jehangir Karamat whose intellect, ability to guide and personal compassion are exemplary!

Briefing Mr. Bush on the Earthquake Aftermath

What would you say are your three biggest achievements in your term as DCM, that you are most proud of?That’s a very difficult question. We actually built upon the work of our predecessors in a lot of cases. But when I look back at my three years here, I will feel very proud of working to establish the Pakistani Caucus on Capitol Hill, the large scale electronic communication and database of the Pakistani Community, and the integration of our second generation, younger Pakistani Americans into the mainstream activities of the community and Embassy.

What is the Pakistani Caucus on the Hill and how are you faring in its development?

This is something that the community wanted to do for a long time. For a while the Embassy was opposed to the idea because we did not have enough pull to successfully build the Caucus. It took us a while to understand how to do it, and finally we did it. I am proud to say it is already amongst the largest country Caucuses on Capitol Hill today and it is growing fast. In a little over a year we have 70 members, and by next summer we should have about a hundred.

With Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX)

Today, we have the largest list serve of Pakistanis anywhere in the world. According to our demographic study, there are about half a million Pakistanis living in the US.

Please tell us about the electronic communication initiative you’ve implemented…

We really started from the scratch. Government offices are not equipped to develop electronic databases. I still remember my first “mass” email. It was sent to 14 people. Today, we have the largest list serve of Pakistanis anywhere in the world. We have been able to cover a lot of Pakistanis who are internet savvy.

We also conducted a demographic study of how many Pakistanis live in the US, in different states, and in different Congressional districts. This was a huge undertaking. We started this project amongst a lot of skepticism about the success of such a study. But we found ways. With a team of interns who went through the old records, conducted surveys and we were able to put together the results. According to our demographic study, there are about half a million Pakistanis living in the US. Initially these results were challenged but now they are being widely used by institutions, researchers and authors. We are now working on updating this study. It was originally issued in December 2003.

The Rising Leaders initiative has been a great success. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind it and how it’s doing?

I think it’s very important to work with the second generation Pakistanis to introduce and reinforce the Pakistani identity. The biggest dilemma for the second generation Pakistanis was their Pakistani identity which was so difficult for them to explain and accept and some times to be proud of. Normally if they were religious they would associate more with the Muslim identity, if they were secular then they would go for the South Asian identity. They would forget about their Pakistani identity which is so important for us. We are Muslims, we are South Asians, we are Americans, and we are Pakistanis. But we have a very specific and very special identity as Pakistanis and Rising Leaders is all about that. Initially we thought we were not going anywhere with the idea of creating a youth-based networking organization, but we persisted, and now it’s a real success story. We have people applying for membership everyday; Rising Leaders have an office at Capitol Hill; they have funds coming in and a lot of people are showing interest. The Rising Leaders members who have moved from students to being young professionals are also now in a position to contribute to the efforts.

With Rising Leaders

In Pakistan, family is the basic network through which we go forward in our lives, select careers, get advice on education, and related issues for which one needs to learn and educate oneself before proceeding. The basic utility of Rising Leaders is to provide that networking opportunity.
You mentioned that the main thinking behind Rising Leaders is to reinforce the Pakistani identity; what else do you think can it bring for the community and the youth themselves?

It’s basically a networking organization. In this day and age, especially in the Western society, where you don’t necessarily have a Khalu, Mamoo, Chacha or cousin to guide you, this network that can help align you with what you want to achieve. In Pakistan, family is the basic network through which we go forward in our lives, select careers, get advice on education, and related issues for which one needs to learn and educate oneself before proceeding. The basic utility of Rising Leaders is to provide that networking opportunity. If you join Rising Leaders you would meet, say, members from San Francisco, New Hampshire or Buffalo, so you have this network all over the place. Tomorrow if there is a job opportunity you have all these people who would stay in touch with you and you can reach out to them. In this way, everyone brings something to the table. It has a lot of value in this society. Better networking affects the larger Pakistani- American society. If a Rising Leader gets a job in the Senate or Congress, then Pakistanis know they have a somebody there and they could go to that person for advice. Also, most Rising Leaders are born Americans, or have been here for many years, so they are the mainstream Americans. This provides a critical linkage between the first generation Pakistani-Americans (who usually like to meet each other), and the larger American society.

You have done a remarkable job in transforming the Pakistani mission. What was your inspiration and how did you make it happen?

The first thing is that the Embassy is an institution where you keep on building upon what people had done before you. Similarly, we have also built on the achievements of our predecessors. They did a lot of good things here, and we leveraged them. I think my biggest inspiration came when I was at Columbia University, I knew a lot of Pakistanis and could see that it was a very resourceful community but there was a lot of confusion in it as well. You see, if you are doing well in Pakistan you will not leave it, so people who come here are generally not satisfied with Pakistan, and are looking for a brighter future and better economic opportunities and education. Which is fine! Pakistan’s economy cannot absorb everyone and reward all of them at the same level of financial success they can achieve here. But that initial reason for migrating makes it very critical to keep the Diaspora connected and interested in their heritage, culture, and country. Otherwise, the country risks alienating a great resource. Now, nobody will work with you if you have a bad image or poor customer service; you can make speeches, write good arguments, but no one will listen to you if your image is poor. So we had to take some actions to let the community know that we care. We were lucky to move to a new building, which gave us a better image and work environment. Then we transformed our consular services and made them a lot more client-friendly. We opened new Consulates and now have a total of four consulates in the US. Having the database has enabled greater outreach as well, and combined with our operational transformation, we have received tremendous response and acknowledgement from the community. Where we had a few hundred people attend the Embassy events organized for a visiting dignitary, we now have thousands. We are very inclusive and we invite and communicate with everyone. A handful of people have been offended because they lost their exclusive access to the Embassy, but we believe that everyone’s equal and as such, all our community members are included in our activities. My inspiration as such was to give it my 100% and I hope I succeeded in doing that.

It is very critical to keep the Diaspora connected and interested in their heritage, culture, and country…otherwise the country risks alienating a great resource.

With Embassy Interns

What are the obstacles that you have faced and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenges in big organizations like an Embassy or the government in general, is inertia. People get used to doing things in a certain way and changing that is the most difficult part. The outside challenges are easier to address than these inside challenges. For example, take the idea of internship; every body praises it and likes it, but initially it was really difficult to sell it internally. I think breaking down these internal barriers takes persistence. If people are not ready to work with you, that’s fine; keep them informed and eventually they will come and join. This is what has happened with us as well.

If you had a chance to stay on, what plans or vision do you have?

Honestly, I think I should move on. I have played my inning in Washington and somebody else should get a chance to work here. However, one thing that needs to be done here is to work with the US media. I did try to reach out to the mainstream media consistently but a lot is desired to be done. We regularly get bad press in this country. We need to improve on that. But that on its own is a full time job. You need a good strategy and resources to make a dent. Also, the good news coming from Pakistan should be consistent, and we should be able to use that here.

Work with the US media…we regularly get bad press in this country and we need to improve on that.

Doctors and engineers are critical, because they can help build a rich community, but a rich community is not necessarily a strong community…(we need) people with softer skills who could communicate with other segments of the American society

People who are not like us are not our adversaries; they could become our best friends

You have been here post 9/11 what would you say are some of the biggest challenges for the Pakistani community in the US; and how do you feel the community can meet these challenges?

9/11 was a wake up call for the community; suddenly we realized that we don’t have a spokesperson here. We had no representation in the media or the government. We are very well represented in some professions but not in positions that matter. So after this turning point, you see that the number of Pakistani students in nontraditional fields has grown. They are entering journalism, political science, government, law, etc. This was not common before 9/11. To build a community abroad, you need doctors and scientists but you need journalists, poets, authors, and people in the government; and congress more. Doctors and engineers are critical, because they can help build a rich community, but a rich community is not necessarily a strong community particularly when it is a minority community. I don’t mean to offend anyone by this example, but Jews in Germany were in the same position in the 1930’s. They were good professionals and entrepreneurs. It was a very rich and law-abiding community. But they had little say in politics. So when the political troubles started they did not have the skills to identify and mitigate the risks in time. The Nazi knew no bounds. The dominant powers of the day looked the other way. As a result the sufferings of that helpless community remain unparalleled in modern history. For the sake of humanity and our sanity, it should never happen again to anybody. After 9/11, our community faced a situation that changed their thinking in major ways. I now see the realization to become a part of the mainstream society, and work with everybody else. People who are not like us are not our adversaries; they could become our best friends. The community realized that it needed to have people with softer skills who could communicate with other segments of the American society. So that is the challenge and opportunity provided by 9/11 for the Pakistani community.

The community has come together in a remarkable way after the earthquake in Pakistan. How was your experience in getting community support, what are some of the challenges still ahead of us, and how can the community meet those challenges?

The earthquake has been the worst natural disaster in our history. The community here has proven that they are very much alive to the issues regarding Pakistan, and they have come together as a nation. I have never seen the community gel together like that in my entire career in Foreign Service, or in Pakistan. The community has connected so quickly and collected so much money for Pakistan, it is remarkable! But we still need to do more. We are talking about 3.3 million homeless. An entire generation has been wiped out. 8,000 schools have been destroyed. 15,000 villages are affected. The entire infrastructure is gone. The expectations from the community are at two levels. First it has to make personal sacrifices to raise funds, which they are already doing and I am sure they will do more. Secondly, on a collective level, we need to work with the US Congress and the Administration. We need a lot of support from here. For example, on November 17, the community is organizing a Day on the Hill, to sensitize the Congress about the reconstruction work required in Pakistan. This is a step in the right direction. The community needs to reach out to their Congressmen, inform them of the challenge Pakistan faces and seek their support. People need to use this opportunity to learn how to establish and maintain a bond between them and their political representatives. In short, the community mobilization is already happening, and we are very proud of it. We need the community to establish linkages with the US government, not just for the short-term, but on a long-term basis.

Continue to raise funds…and reach out to your Congressmen to seek their support. We need the community to establish linkages with the US Government on a long-term basis .

Mr. Sadiq’s interns, staff, and Rising Leaders have garnered tremendous community support and raised several hundred thousand dollars for earthquake relief

How can the community help and support the Pakistani Mission in establishing a stronger base for Pakistan here in the US?

We would like the community to stay in touch with the Embassy. It is their Embassy; it is their institution! We know that if we are a good Embassy, the community will be proud of us. We want them to attend the embassy functions, communicate with us, and send us ideas and proposals. We encourage people to tell us about our mistakes. That helps improve and refine our initiatives. For example if you visit the Embassy web site and see a problem and send an email, somebody sitting here can improve on that one little thing. That will be a valuable contribution. This is how nations are built; this is how institutions are built. No one person can do that. Small things like correcting a grammatical mistake, or picking up a broken chair, or cleaning a table actually improve institutions. At times you don’t know how much contribution you have made to the institution by a small helpful note. For example, we hold art exhibitions every few months now for the last year and a half, to portray the softer image of Pakistan. People are very generous with their compliments and they are very encouraging. They also give us ideas on how to improve these exhibitions. Slowly and gradually we have learnt to hold better art exhibitions, invite more appropriate guests and have more interesting inaugural functions. This marked change in out art exhibitions from a year ago is because of those little suggestions here and there we received from the community.

Do you have any message for our youth?

I have one very basic message, for the entire community, but particularly for the youth. American society is a mosaic of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities. One could be part of this society and keep one’s own identity, culture and values. If you look at successful communities in this society, they have one thing in common. They have a lot of pride in their origins. For example Armenians are proud of being Americans and being Armenian-Americans; same is true for Greeks, Irish, German, and other communities. There is no contradiction between being a proud Pakistani and a proud Pakistani-American. The pride has its responsibility as well and you have to act in a responsible way that would make your community proud of you too.

There is no contradiction between being a proud Pakistani and a proud Pakistani-American

DR. AKBAR AHMED HOSTS THE EMBASSY OF PAKISTAN’S MOHAMMAD SADIQ AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

By Jerusha Ghazanfari

November 10, 2005

(WASHINGTON, D.C., November 10, 2005) – Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed welcomed Mohammad Sadiq, the Embassy of Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission, to the American University on Thursday, November 10th for a guest lecture on Islam and South Asia.

To introduce his lecture Mr. Sadiq shared with the students the outcome of a recent poll taken of 400 young professional Pakistanis. About 90% described Dr. Akbar Ahmed as the best-known Pakistani role model in the United States and the best recognized Pakistani outside of Pakistan. Inside Pakistan’s borders, of course, President Pervez Musharraf was the best recognized.

Mr. Sadiq provided insight into Islam’s historical expansion into South Asia by detailing the religion’s 8th century introduction to the region by Sufis, thereby establishing the message of tolerance and peace throughout the culture. He also skillfully answered complex questions regarding education, Pakistan’s recent earthquake and its implications, and other economic issues facing the South Asian region today. Mr. Sadiq discussed the history of Kashmir as well as the evolution of tension between India and Pakistan regarding this region. He also explained the role of the madrasa and how its students are easily misunderstood in the controversy surrounding education these days.

Dr. Ahmed was honored to also introduce Shahid Hussain, former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, to the AU audience. Mr. Hussain spoke briefly about his interpretation as to why many Muslim countries currently find themselves in a period of transition, tension and intellectual decline.

“By inviting such distinguished guests to my Contemporary Islam and International Relations class, my students have the opportunity to learn directly from the individuals responsible for implementing policies that change the world they live in,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at the American University, has been actively involved in inter-faith dialogue for several years. He continues to foster understanding between Islam and the West by inviting distinguished guests such as Mohammad Sadiq and Shahid Hussain to speak to his classes. Eminent guest speakers this fall have included Dr. Radwan Masmoudi of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, internationally-renowned Pakistani Rockstar and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Salman Ahmad, Imam Muhammad Magid of the Adams Center, John Milewski from C-SPAN’s “Close Up,” Dr. Nisar Chaudhry of the Pakistan American League, American University’s Chaplain Rabbi Kenneth Cohen, Mr. Rafael Harpaz, Director of Public Affairs at the Embassy of Israel, Daniel Sutherland, Advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Khalid Hasan of Pakistan’s Daily Times as well as other leading scholars.

As with Dr. Ahmed’s previous guest speakers, students were eager for the opportunity to listen to Mr. Sadiq as well as ask candid questions regarding Pakistan’s stance on difficult issues such as illiteracy, the recent earthquake, and Kashmir. “Mohammad Sadiq was excellent. He stressed education and clearly explained the Kashmir situation, which always confused me,” said Ryan Grannon-Doll, a senior majoring in international studies at AU. “I thought both Mr. Sadiq and Mr. Hussain spoke clearly and to the point, giving the class a much-needed education on topics that can possibly transform the Middle East and South Asia.”

Monday, November 10th, 2005

By Jerusha Ghazanfari

DCM Sadiq and Shahid Hussain Enthrall American
University Students

Washington, DC: Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed welcomed Mohammad Sadiq, Embassy of Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission, to the American University on Thursday, November 10th when he arrived to give a lecture on Islam and South Asia.

To introduce his lecture Mr. Sadiq shared with the students the outcome of a recent poll taken of 400 young professional Pakistanis. About 90% described Dr. Akbar Ahmed as the best-known Pakistani role model in the United States and the best recognized Pakistani outside of Pakistan. Inside Pakistan’s borders, of course, Pervez Musharraf was the best recognized.

Mr. Sadiq provided insight into Islam’s historical expansion into South Asia by detailing the religion’s 8th century introduction to the region by Sufis, thereby establishing the message of tolerance and peace. He also skillfully answered complex questions regarding education, Pakistan’s recent earthquake and its implications, and other economic issues facing the South Asian region today. Mr. Sadiq discussed the history of Kashmir as well as the evolution of tension between India and Pakistan regarding this region. He also explained the role of the madrassa and how its students are easily misunderstood in the controversy surrounding education these days.

Dr. Ahmed then introduced Shahid Hussain, former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, to the AU audience. Mr. Hussain spoke briefly about his interpretation as to why many Muslim countries currently find themselves in a period of transition, tension and intellectual decline.

“By inviting such distinguished guests to my Contemporary Islam and International Relations class, my students have the opportunity to learn directly from the individuals responsible for implementing policies that change the world they live in,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at the American University, has been actively involved in inter-faith dialogue for several years. He continues to foster understanding between Islam and the West by inviting distinguished guests such as Mohammad Sadiq and Shahid Hussain to speak to his classes.

As with Dr. Ahmed’s previous guest speakers, students were eager for the opportunity to listen to Mr. Sadiq as well as to ask candid questions regarding Pakistan’s stance on difficult issues such as illiteracy, the recent earthquake, and Kashmir.

“Mohammad Sadiq was excellent. He stressed education and clearly explained the Kashmir situation, which always confused me,” said Ryan Grannon-Doll, a senior majoring in international studies at AU.
“I thought both Mr. Sadiq and Mr. Hussain spoke clearly and to the point, giving the class a much-needed education on topics that can possibly transform the Middle East and South Asia.”

November 04, 2005,

Shawwal 01, 1426 AH, Volume 7 Issue No.296

Washington Interfaith Gathering Raises Over $80,000

WASHINGTON: Participants raised over $80,000 for the victims of earthquake in Pakistan, at an impressive interfaith gathering in a Washington DC suburb Sunday. The iftar/dinner was hosted by Dr. Aquil ur Rahman at his house in Potomac, Maryland.

Representatives of several Pakistani and Muslim organizations as well as the American Jewish Committee and several Pakistani Americans listened as Dr. Rahman highlighted the needs of the victims of the worst natural disaster in Pakistan. He urged people to donate generously.
Tom Kahan, a representative of the American Jewish Community, presented a token cheque to Pakistan Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission for the President’s Fund for Earthquake Relief.
In his remarks, Kahan said the American Jewish community “felt the pain of their cousins, the children of Abraham (AS), and is coming forward to ease the pain of the people of Pakistan.”

Israel’s Gaza Pullout Brings Dividend
By Eli Lake
JewishLedger.com | October 31, 2005

In the aftermath of Israel’s decision to pull its soldiers out of Gaza, relations between the Jewish state and Muslim nations are quietly thawing.

The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, said he would be interested in pursuing formal relations with Israel after the establishment of a Palestinian state. This was followed by a statement from the government of Pakistan that it would be willing to accept aid from Israel for earthquake relief. Israel is planning on sending approximately 100 tons of water purification kits, blankets, and other relief supplies through the United Nations.

Next month, Israel’s Tunisian-born foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, will attend a U.N. summit on information technology in Tunis at the invitation of the government there. Meanwhile, Israeli diplomats are quietly meeting with their counterparts from Indonesia, Morocco, and Tunisia to revive long dormant trade relationships in light of Prime Minister Sharon’s decision to evacuate settlers from Gaza and hand over the territory to the Palestinian Authority.

The development could have wide-ranging repercussions for the war on terror as Arab and Muslim governments quietly inch toward recognizing a state that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have repeatedly pledged to destroy.

While the gestures of some countries are largely symbolic and do not yet amount to recognition, Israeli diplomats say they are optimistic about their relationship in the region for the first time in years. To date, Egypt and Jordan are the only members of the Arab League to recognize Israel as a state. The state-run press in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran still refer to Israel as the Zionist entity.

Pakistan, a nation believed to have assisted Iran’s nuclear program in the 1980s and 1990s, was the first major Muslim country to openly discuss the possibility of normalizing ties with Israel last month when President Musharraf was photographed shaking hands with Prime Minister Sharon. While at the United Nations’ annual parley he met with Jewish leaders to discuss the relationship.

“The president in that meeting was clear, he said, ‘we have taken a step, we have established a contact,'” the deputy chief of the mission for Pakistan in Washington, Mohammad Sadiq, said. When asked whether Pakistan could one day recognize Israel diplomatically, Mr. Sadiq was optimistic.

“That could happen once there is a Palestinian state and the future of Jerusalem is decided.”

Those kinds of words would be almost unthinkable in 2001 after the beginning of the Palestinian intifada, when Muslim public opinion of Israel sunk to new lows and Islamic leaders went out of their way to show solidarity with Yasser Arafat. But Mr. Sadiq said there was not public outrage after the president’s photograph with Mr. Sharon. The flurry of diplomatic activity between Israel and some Islamic states is reminiscent of the height of the Oslo negotiations years, when the Jewish state established under the radar embassies, in the guise of trade missions, in Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Tunisia. After the Palestinian uprising, only the missions in Mauritania and Qatar stayed.

“We have seen this before. It has gone up and down depending on what happens in the region,” a former assistant secretary of state for near east affairs, Edward Walker, said. “In light of what Prime Minister Sharon has done there is more openness to explore a relationship with Israel now. People for a long time reacted to Sharon viscerally. He seems to have managed to dispel that view, at least in part among the elites.”

Mr. Walker, who is president of the Middle East Institute, a think tank here funded in part by Arab governments and businessmen, said he was closely watching Qatar, a country that maintained its trade mission in Israel throughout the intifada and is often used as a back channel between Arab states and the Israelis.

But Mr. Walker noted that private money from Saudi Arabia and government funds from Iran were still going to Hamas and other terrorist groups that sought to scuttle any progress Mr. Sharon’s government would make with the Palestinian Authority.

 October, 27, 2005


INTERVIEW: The Other Side Of The Quake by Mr. Mohammad Sadiq

President Bush offeres condolences at the Pakistan Embassy in DC, Ambassador Karamat (left) and DCM, Mohammad Sadiq (right).

Even in the US, a nation with abundant resources, and so much emphasis on paperwork, planning and detail, it took them 11 days to respond to the hurricane Katrina. Hurricanes actually give governments time to respond, they can be predicted. Earthquakes are sudden and unexpected. Another important fact to keep in mind is that the region where this earthquake occurred is so rough that on a good day it is very difficult to get there. After the quake the entire government in the affected area became dysfunctional, several of its functionaries were dead, its buildings and structures were gone, and its communication system broke down. And let us not forget that the Army was the worst-hit organization in terms of loss of life with some 500 casualties.

VIBES: What kind of donors are the most effective in this relief effort?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq : There are governmental donors and there are non-governmental donors. The non-governmental donors are of three kinds. They are individuals, corporate sector, and philanthropic foundations. All of them are important. We areapproaching all three.

The response of the individual givers was very quick. A lot of this was prompted by the TV images of the devastation. Their donations are small in quantity but the number of donors is large.

For example, the Pakistani American community alone has donated about $2 million through the Embassy up till now. This is despite the fact that people are skeptical about giving to the government, due to unfortunate betrayal of trust by previous governments. Similar amounts are donated to notable charities like Edhi.

The corporate donations have topped $15 million from the US. President Bush just announced an initiative on corporate donors. This will be led by CEOs of GE, Citi, Pfizer, USP and Xerox.

The last which we are now pursuing are the private foundations. Getting funds from them also involves a process and will take time.The State and Multi-lateral organizations form another set of donors.

VIBES: Would you recommend Vibes Readers to donate to the President’s relief fund, although you mentioned that government systems are bureaucratic?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: You can’t have a government without bureaucracy. Even NGOs, if they are sizeable, are bureaucratic. Donating to the President’s Relief Fund is more pragmatic. Allow me to explain why.

People give to NGO’s that they trust, or they give to established charities such as the International Red Cross Red Crescent, or they give to the government. All three choices of charity have advantages and disadvantages.

Somebody counted 700 new charities that have formed in response to the October 8th quake. Most of them are untested. You may trust the people who have created them but you can not be sure of their expertise in working in disaster hit area. Most of the money given to these trusted people will sadly be wasted. Not because the funds will be stolen but because the organizations are ill-equipped to deal with the challenge. If such an NGO collects $10,000 it won’t go a long way with this money. It would buy relief goods at retail prices and get them transported by paying several times higher fare. This way over 50% of the funds are lost simply to market forces. Now the goods reach theearthquake area. You have no lists of affected people, no definite information on the casualties, and no way to know who is more deserving to receive aid. In most case, the relief goods will be off loaded at road side to people who may or may not deserve them.

Then there are large charities. Some organizations focus on shelter, some on schools, but these organizations cannot provide their specialized relief, unless the government reaches there first. The government must airlift the injured to hospitals or reconstruct badly damaged roads to open access to remote badly affected areas, for the organizations to proceed with their relief work. The organized charities have certain strengths but some weaknesses. Take for

But I must say, sadly, that all their money is going to be wasted. Not because they are not good people, but becausethey are simply ill-equipped to deal with the challenge. If you collect $10,000 it won’t buy you anything.

example a leading global charity, The International Red Cross Red Crescent. A large portion of donated money pays its administrative cost. Red Cross is a very good organization, it’s most effective, yet it needs to pay salaries to its staff and maintain offices etc. So less the 50 cents of each dollar you donate there reaches the victim. There are smaller NGOs who spend up to 80% of your donation on their own administration.

VIBES: Don’t we find high administrative costs if we donate to the Government?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: Yes, I am going to clarify that. People are justified in their skepticism. But lets think about this. The Government has an infrastructure already in place, it must only be shifted and directed more efficiently toward the relief effort, it already gets its salaries from the budget and not from the donated money.

Assuming there is 10% wastage here despite the whole world’s media attention and heightened audits internally, and this is a significant portion of total aid. Despite that, 90% of donations most definitely get utilized in direct relief as fast as it’s needed.

Moreover, the government does bulk buying from preferred vendors who commit to further discounts given the long term business relationship. Prices of relief goods are much lower and whatever value is supposedly wasted is just as easily recovered because your money can buy goods worth much more.

And it’s high time we be accountable. President, Pervez Musharraf is on record, publicly declaring that the audits and accounts will be transparent. Given previous government records, there must be a very high standard of accountability. We absolutely need to change perceptions that governments aren’t accountable, and we will take this opportunity to determine that there is now an end to that culture of mistrust.

VIBES: Can you give me an assessment of the scale of the disaster according to the latest government figures?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq : Sitting here in Washington it is a bit difficult to comment on a natural disaster in Pakistan accurately. I can only repeat confirmed numbers that the Government has already declared.

VIBES: Is it true that these initial figures quoted by the government and the figures currently quoted of about 35,000 dead, are grossly understated?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: The government is not sitting on numbers. The Government can only state a confirmed number of dead. We can’t assume. It’s essential that the figures are accurate and based on a body count.Please do not forget that the government became briefly dysfunctional in the earthquake affected areas initially. Like all other buildings, the Government offices also collapsed. Several officials died. The communication links disappeared. It was not possible to organize accurate databases right away.

However, the media has discretion to state estimates. Often times the media reports the maximum suspected casualties whereas governments rely on more conservative statistics which are updated as more data becomes available. A good example is how the Katrina disaster in the US was handled. The US government declared that about 100 people had died, and the media reported approximately 10,000 dead. Now we know the figure is about 1,000.

VIBES: Do you believe that the conservative estimates stated by the government are the cause of insufficient funding? Apparently only one third of the needed aid is donated so far, according to UN reports.

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: Donors respond to appeals and reports of disaster experts not merely media reports. The figures we quote may affect private donors. The state and institutional donors have their own experts who deal with disaster management work year after year as a career. This is a regular profession for them to state calculated estimates in regions needing relief all over the world, from Azerbaijan to Turkey to Iran.

VIBES: But are you still appealing for more donations?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq : Yes, we are asking for more funds. The magnitude of the quake and the cost to provide relief is tremendous. One hour operation of a helicopter costs up to six thousand dollars. We have to reach out to some 15000 villages. A large number of them are accessible only through helicopters.

The initial process of allocating aid by governments is marred by bureaucracy and delays. Governments are run under a certain system and reaching decisions to give government money takes time. It involves budgeting, approving and allocating funds. The process takes weeks and sometimes even months.

The US government initially declared $100,000 as relief assistance by their embassy in Islamabad. On Day Three it raised it to $50 million and now they have announced $156 million. Similarly, the World Bank declared $20 million, then $40 million, and now it has announced $470 million.

The authority to channel government funds is granted as requirements are made apparent.

VIBES: This may not be a pleasant question to ask in times of crisis but relates to the trust and credibility factor you spoke of earlier. What would you say to people who demand to know why, after such high budget allocation to defense didn’t the Pakistan army’s response be more swift and effective?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: The strategic needs of a nation are predictable, natural disasters are not. Nations, however, need to cater for both. The defense budget depends on a nation’s threat perception. When a major natural disaster strikes the defense forces are the best equipped to provide rescue and relief. It is not so in Pakistan only. It is true of everywhere else also. You can not get half a million able bodied, organized people from any other service. Ideally, there should be a blueprint of mapping out disaster allocation and emergency training. But its easier said than done.

In the US, a nation with abundant resources, and so much emphasis on paperwork, planning and detail, it took them several days to respond to hurricane Katrina in a very accessible area. These are difficult challenges.

Another important fact to keep in mind, is that the region where this earthquake occurred, is so rough, that even on a good day it is difficult to get there. After the quake, the government in the area became dysfunctional briefly because its offices were gone, several of its funtionaries were dead, and communication systems were down. And let us not forget that the Army was the single most badly hit organization in terms of loss of life. Some 500 casualties belonged to the Pakistan Army.

Yet we saw the very next day, the president and the Prime Minister visiting the region, the helicopters beginning to transport the wounded, relief started arriving, and a basic structure quickly

It is easy to criticize, but there is always a story on the other side. There are many government relief workers, who lost their loved ones in the quake, but focused on relief work and didn’t even stop to mourn.

VIBES: What do you make of the role of the media in this disaster?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: It is very interesting. Media always faces a dilemma: For them mostly negative event is news-worthy. Positive events don’t make it to the headlines for obvious reasons. But we have a responsibility to look for the positives that do exist and only then cast assertions.

What would happen, is that the Army engineers and some expert relief workers from abroad would clear roads and open regions for aid, and immediately reporters would rush in the blocked villages and push cameras and microphones in the faces of people who had been cut off from aid for days, and naturally these people would have nothing good to say because they had been though hell. When there is no passage how can relief reach?

One could ask the correspondents why they didn’t take doctors with them, why they didn’t carry relief, why they didn’t take medicines to these desperate people, why a camera. And of course, she or he would take a camera, because that’s the profession, that’s what they do for a living.

Media is a very powerful tool. It can say and show things that no one else could. It has a role that if played properly could change the world. I am a strong advocate of government functionaries interacting with media. It is good for both sides. I found some of the early feedback on my office’s performance from my friends in media.

We have a very free media in many ways but it is still maturing and we need to support it. A lot of people were shocked when Pakistani channels showed very disturbing scenes of casualties without prior warning. But most of them were handling an event of that dimension for the first time. They were simply not prepared for it like everybody else.

We live in an imperfect world. NGOs, media, private sector, government, all are human and none is perfect. They have the same culture, the similar temptations and almost similar work-ethic.

VIBES: Can you tell us about international donations? Didn’t Turkey donate a surprisingly high amount?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq : OIC countries donated the most. Turkey and the Gulf state as well as other countries, which of course shows Muslim solidarity. The US has also been very responsive. Dealing with the US leadership here in Washington, you could feel the sympathy they have for the earthquake victims. We have commitments of some $1.5 billion in international assistance and we hope that this assistance will go up.

VIBES: Are you worried that competing charitable causes will reduce the aid that will flow to Pakistan?

DCM Mr. Mohammad Sadiq: It happened with Tsunami. It’s a fact of life that even in the most severe tragedies, people move on.

Earthquake is our tragedy and we have to make sure it remains in people’s minds. We need to proceed with care and gain international confidence to gain continued support.

About Mr. Mohammad Sadiq

Mr. Sadiq joined the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington D.C. as Minister/Deputy Chief of Mission in August 2002. In his diplomatic postings, Mr. Sadiq had served as Political Counsellor in Beijing (1998-2000), Brussels (1994-1998), and as Second Secretary in Belgrade (1984-1988)At the Foreign Office, Mr. Sadiq held the positions of Director for Kashmir Affairs (2001-2002), Commonwealth of Independent States (1993-1994), and administration (1989-1990)

He has also represented Pakistan in several multilateral and bilateral conferences and meetings abroad, and was member of the UN Election Observer Team that oversaw the elections in South Africa which ended the Apartheid regime.

Mr. Sadiq holds two Masters Degrees, in Political Science and International Affairs respectively from University of Peshawar, Pakistan (1980) and Columbia University, New York (1992).

TalkBacks
Mazhar768 – I am really feeling after reading this
At this time when our all nation is working together to help our kashmiri brothers/sisters, I am sad to see that these people are playing blame game and who is right and who is wrong. At this time our nation need solution provider not blamers or good talkers. I would have appreciated if these people have taken this time to collect some things for needy ones in Kashmir. Now I would leave this topic and would put my words out.MR sadiq explained it quite clear that govt. is best equipped to perform these tasks but unfortunately we have alot people in govt who consider Bribe(taking Allah ka fazal) is their right. I even know defence people were involved in taking commissions or defence deals. but it’s too late to blame them for this. but i think best course of action will be that if any charity come with money then we can provide them informations about pakistan govt’s plan and explain how they can contribute in achieving those tasks. Rather then saying that they will waste most of the money and money will not be used properly. All this is happening because of lost of trust and it will take long time to rebuild this trust. As you know we still have alot old lutera’s in assembly who were looting same pakistan with other govt’s. I will not name anyone but I can’t stop myself from saying that this govt is still much better then previous ones. If this govt. keeps up the good work then definitely they will be able to rebuild the lost trust. May Allah Help them and us so we can come out of this disaster.
Shahzelle – Baseless just like your agenda :
I read your link about mr.ayaz ….nothing surprises me when he presents a view….its always a doom’s day senerio….while I agree with some bits, its nothing new we already know it….but lets not play the blame game here its not the Army who is at fault for crying out its what people make it be ….slow response bull ….the army was there already suffered 500 causualities …. was the first to assist and distribute I was doing it myself with them …..the local and civil administration vanished …..thank God for an army as opposed to the bhuttos,sharrifs,and the chaudhrys….look at them each posing as a leader ….I recently commented that the army cannot be and is not a solution but it is definitely part of the solution ….why ….simply to keep a balance ….and your misrepresentation about musharaf’s comment on the women issue ….he spoke in anger about the plight of these women in the hands of these people who become their saviors as if the rest of pakistan were against these women …. a system is in place for just such issues here in Pakistan and not canada or u.s …mr.ayaz and the likes of him should survey abuse in north america where every two minutes a woman is being raped but those women are not going to europe to get justice …. no …they fumble n toil with their own system to get justice with help of their local support groups… ….musharaf’s anger was directed towards that we as pakistanis have to stand up aganist these crimes locally to bring about the desired change long over due ….. so spare me your concern and links I am well aware of what is happening around pakistan…please see the special Oparah did on the relief operation of the american army and its local govt….. too slow you better believe it …thats what i call toooo slow …
Titfortat – Proof
Again, your personal attacks are senseless and juvenile, and baseless.What you call a lie is a reference to Musharraf’s comments to the Washington Post regarding rape victims (I can post a link if you like). Not sure what Wall Street has anything to do with all this.As for issues of defence. Please read when you have the time.
Shahzelle – You have missed the point again
Who are you comparing Pakistan with when you make these comparisons and its need to keep a defence ….. the mexicons! where are you getting your inside info on Pakistan’s defence purchases ?! wall street I think ….helloo …. by the way your nick and your general negative tone about our leadership sets the titfortat in anyone …so if you want to rationalize start by changing the nick to ‘willing to listen’…. since your departure from the forefathers land …. many thing have changed example: India Pak dialogue has evolved …. and it is in the interest of better relationship that the purchase of the flying machines has been postponed …. first and foremost we need to enable n maintain peace …. or do you think that also has a military agenda I dont think so …… the need for Pakistan’s defence preparedness is a reality and directly the result of our neighbors policies …..and lets not forget the main issue encompassing both neighbors … yes the quake region….so we are not at liberty to sit back and wait…..the other lie that you have posted from wall street is the ‘women’ issue …. all I can say to you on that is that you are misrepresenting ….and if you continue I will want you to give proof ….while you have been away to the wonderland the military has empowered women to their rightful position and role …so we dont need a bigot like you to tell us what is happening here….
Shahzelle – Baseless just like your agenda :
I read your link about mr.ayaz ….nothing surprises me when he presents a view….its always a doom’s day senerio….while I agree with some bits, its nothing new we already know it….but lets not play the blame game here its not the Army who is at fault for crying out its what people make it be ….slow response bull ….the army was there already suffered 500 causualities …. was the first to assist and distribute I was doing it myself with them …..the local and civil administration vanished …..thank God for an army as opposed to the bhuttos,sharrifs,and the chaudhrys….look at them each posing as a leader ….I recently commented that the army cannot be and is not a solution but it is definitely part of the solution ….why ….simply to keep a balance ….and your misrepresentation about musharaf’s comment on the women issue ….he spoke in anger about the plight of these women in the hands of these people who become their saviors as if the rest of pakistan were against these women …. a system is in place for just such issues here in Pakistan and not canada or u.s …mr.ayaz and the likes of him should survey abuse in north america where every two minutes a woman is being raped but those women are not going to europe to get justice …. no …they fumble n toil with their own system to get justice with help of their local support groups… ….musharaf’s anger was directed towards that we as pakistanis have to stand up aganist these crimes locally to bring about the desired change long over due ….. so spare me your concern and links I am well aware of what is happening around pakistan…please see the special Oparah did on the relief operation of the american army and its local govt….. too slow you better believe it …thats what i call toooo slow …
Titfortat – Proof
Again, your personal attacks are senseless and juvenile, and baseless.What you call a lie is a reference to Musharraf’s comments to the Washington Post regarding rape victims (I can post a link if you like). Not sure what Wall Street has anything to do with all this.As for issues of defence. Please read when you have the time.
Shahzelle – You have missed the point again
Who are you comparing Pakistan with when you make these comparisons and its need to keep a defence ….. the mexicons! where are you getting your inside info on Pakistan’s defence purchases ?! wall street I think ….helloo …. by the way your nick and your general negative tone about our leadership sets the titfortat in anyone …so if you want to rationalize start by changing the nick to ‘willing to listen’…. since your departure from the forefathers land …. many thing have changed example: India Pak dialogue has evolved …. and it is in the interest of better relationship that the purchase of the flying machines has been postponed …. first and foremost we need to enable n maintain peace …. or do you think that also has a military agenda I dont think so …… the need for Pakistan’s defence preparedness is a reality and directly the result of our neighbors policies …..and lets not forget the main issue encompassing both neighbors … yes the quake region….so we are not at liberty to sit back and wait…..the other lie that you have posted from wall street is the ‘women’ issue …. all I can say to you on that is that you are misrepresenting ….and if you continue I will want you to give proof ….while you have been away to the wonderland the military has empowered women to their rightful position and role …so we dont need a bigot like you to tell us what is happening here….
Titfortat – Charity begins at home
Shahzelle -Not sure what I woke up from, or what exactly you are talking about. My 2 posts are very consistent. Your personal attacks are baseless at best.

Regardless, I would like people such as yourself to explain why they deem helping/ donating and holding people in authority accountable to be mutually exclusive.

The fact that Pakistani Military just had to postpone the F-16 deal worth billions, because people and press started holding them ACCOUNTABLE proves that we must keep up the pressure and hold those in charge responsible. The military just put in an order worth 1 Billon dollars to buy jet fighters from SAAB while begging the outside world for charity. This too should be cancelled.

We need to tell the Military rulers that Charity begins at home, and not let them hide behind vauge “national security” reasons, while our earthquake victims lay dying in the cold.

Musharraf might not feel sympathy towards the rape victims because that is his personal character, but he needs to deflect a large portion of our budget towards helping fellow Pakistanis, because that is the character of our nation. Pakistanis want to help their fellow citizens with THEIR TAX MONEY, Charity and the Loans that are being taken in their name by the Govt.

Horizon753 – Well said
Shahzelle: Very well said. Hurricane Katrina was hardly disastrous “compared” to this earthquake and USA being a country with ample resources is still having tremendous problems coping up. Lawsuits are being filed against FEMA. In fact, people have very little idea of the exact marathon task ahead for the government of Pakistan.
Shahzelle – Dont believe everything u hear always verify
I would like to know who is spreading these viscious rumours about Aid not reaching the masses ….what masses are u talking about …. for your information there are so many foreign n local Ngo’s distributing relief items on a hourly bases along with the Army …. truck loads have been sent and consumed…..but if you have a source that can verify that the Local Political Govt is withholding Aid supplies and preventing it from getting to the needy is a very serious charge and one which must be made public with facts to support it…..we all know now that people posing as affectees have been challenged at the local level and turned away …. and if those are the people crying wolf then let them …..for crying out loud look at the size of the tregedy 70,000 have perished and twice that are injured and being nursed at various levels ….It is a national disaster of unbelievable proportion … please start helping positively and over look the minor glitches….
Faizali – Hopeless govt.
I have heard, that donations given to govt. have not reached the masses,– only ones to other organizations.

No one now takes an account from the govt. We are very disappointed by it.

Shahzelle – Organization was never our forte:
Yes Tariq organization is exactly what the doctor has prescribed for Pakistan and Muslims ….but how do u get them to take the medicine ….that is the Question that plaques my mind ….but I guess there is no short cut to that as they will have to swallow the bitter pill this time …. as sugar coating didn’t work and never does ….. for a start Pakistanis should not spring clean in the midst of a crisis …. but spend/give/donate/share/eatless the list goes on …….
Shahzelle – Organization was never our forte:
Yes Tariq organization is exactly what the doctor has prescribed for Pakistan and Muslims ….but how do u get them to take the medicine ….that is the Question that plaques my mind ….but I guess there is no short cut to that as they will have to swallow the bitter pill this time …. as sugar coating didn’t work and never does ….. for a start Pakistanis should not spring clean in the midst of a crisis …. but spend/give/donate/share/eatless the list goes on …….
Shahzelle – Thanks for the links
Good thinking and good advise
Shahzelle – Better late then not at all
I wondered where this response of mine had gone…but it seems the editor decided to put it up after all …. reading it again redeems my good old resolve of PROUD TO BE A PAKISTANI …..but this was not in response to mr.sadiq but infact to ‘mr. titfortat’ who blamed the armed forces for not being able to respond adequately to the Quake….but it seems titfortat has woken up and has sumised the problem very well bravo ….
Snowdrifter – The other side of the quake
I think this is an excellent article to bring Americans up to speed on the mechanics of international relief efforts. We are very myopic when it comes to understanding international emergency systems. Indeed, we hardly understand the workings of our own state governments let alone the lumbering’s of FEEMA as we slog along trying to salvage our own shores washed away in bureaucratic bungling.

Mr. Sadiq makes a good case for donating directly to “the government”. Which government does he refer to? If it is Pakistan, how does one donate directly to it?

If one would like to donate to a relief agency, what safe guards would a donor have to insure that you don’t accidentally donate to a terrorist’s pocket?

I think that is an unspoken question in the back of many people’s minds that should be addressed.

Cheemy – Duty as Muslims, Pakistanis, and part of Humanity
Insightful interview, albeit weakened by the apparent yet understandable political undertones. Donations, in my opinion, should be given to relief organizations with a reputable name and track record, such as Edhi Foundation and Islamic Relief, as well as through governmental programs such as the President’s Relief fund. Part of the challenge that the Pakistani government will face is the massive fraud, human trade, and various other crimes that typically ensue after such tragedies and reports of which have already began. The rebuilding process will be a long-term one, and for all the Pakistani ex-patriots who proclaimed a love for their country – this is a chance to put your money where your mouth is.
Titfortat – Notions of Accountability and Justice
I am not interested in personal attacks on our “patriotism” and intellect. But I find it interesting the way some Pakistanis have decided to define “politicians” as just civilians. I am one to hold ALL POLITICIANS accountable and I would hope that we include Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf in the political history of Pakistan as politicians. No matter who is running the country, military or civilian politicians, they must be held accountable for their misdeeds,misuse of treasury and praised for their good decisions (all debatable matters). Why would reasonable people have any problem with the notions of justice and accountability is beyond me.
Horizon753 – Facts
1) The tragedy and the task is humungous.
2) Pakistan army was there as fast as possible and did all they could with the limited sources. In fact, they lost more than 500 lives of their own troops in this rescue. There were cases where they had deaths in their own families including a person whose own son died but this jawan decided to stay in the rescue team instead of attending his son’s funeral.
3) They did a wise thing not allowing Indian helicopters but accepting aid from India.
4) The delays wre mainly caused due to disorganisation. There were 100s of containers flown in from UAE and other Gulf countries in less than 48 hours but no one knew what was in which container especially blankets and tents.
5) It is pathetic that many people took this chance to do spring house cleaning. In one of the containers they found saris and ties.
6) The mullahs and the so called religious leaders again hampered the efforts. There was a report where some mullahs created a rucus at a shelter distributing food as they would not allow food being served in Ramadan….pathaetic.
Shahzelle – Bravo
Read your article and agree with your rationale …keep writing and maybe one of these days you will make a dent in the cynical mind set of the drawing room intellect….Pakistan needs spokes people like you to futher its cause…best regards
Waqas72 – Wow over 1000 reads and only ONE reply!?
Then again wtf are we supposed to say to this? Rather then state the obvious. I see no point in wasting time and energy criticizing and complaining.. Fact is right NOW and for a long time to come there are people who desperately need our help!! And according to all I’ve been following up on they’re NOT GETTING ENOUGH period !! Nor is the situation getting any better with winter ..well pretty much here already!

We’ve got to be a hell of a lot more organized and proactive in getting the word out not just in the Muslim community but everywhere about just how serious the situation is over there! Yes, we all have our own responsibilities and problems.. And there’s a lot of confusion about whom we can trust but that doesn’t mean you do nothing at all! Even the smallest things will make a difference!!

Do your own research! Find out which organizations out there are most reliable and will use your donations most efficiently and honestly. All of us have family living in Pakistan, get in touch with them! Find out everything you can! Edhi’s not the only trust worthy person in Pakistan, though certainly my favorite. There are still so many good people there and even overseas who really want to help.. many with the resources to do so much more but you all need to be a lot more organized and cooperative

…this shouldn’t be about ‘oo look at me! I want to make sure people know we get all the credit..’ Though I guess maybe a little competition and seeing who can do the most good certainly couldn’t be a bad thing. ..

And I can’t believe how many people are running around saying ‘ohh you should help so you can get reward!?’

Wtf!! You should and must help cause there are people in this world less fortunate then you and suffering every single day everywhere!! If you have the resources and knowledge of this it is your duty to do so regardless of what faith, nationality etc they maybe be from!? I can not believe how many indifferent people I come across all the time and the stories I’ve been hearing.!? and then you wonder why the world is such a #(*ing mess to begin with!!

Anyhow we’re all doing what we can. I got my little list going…

link

so please do continue to send me more info, updates. Especially if you’re actually in Pakistan and Kashmir please tell us what else we can all do!!!

Hmm I should have thought of this earlier.. I just started a new village called SA-EARTHQUAKE.

link

Please wherever you are whatever you’ve got organized spread the word! Be nice if we could have one place that’s constantly updated with info about all the ways we can help. Don’t wait for others to take the initiative.. get up do something already! Dunno where to start? Start asking questions and you’ll find your answers.

Shahzelle – Go back to your beauty sleep
Its seems like an another case of a brain drain ….via the american media or this time maybe its through the so called opposition in Pakistan these days ….. how would u sum the Indian Army slaughtering khashmiris in the name of democracy ….. very prepared ehh …. I think its irresponsible for any one to comment about the efforts of the Pak Army in the wake of the quake of 8th october ……katrina happened not so long ago ….oprah did a special on the not so quick relief operation by the American Govt n its Army …. so my advise to you is to study Pakistan’s polictical history n the work of its politicians ….. Pakistan does not have the luxuary like the west to experiment with ‘what works best for you’ theory of ‘politicking’…. Pakistan is dealing with major nightmare sonerios as a nuclear power and cannot afford to let any ambitious politician play with its assets any more ….with India and Isreal formetting American foreign policy we can not for a moment experiment or wish ….so our reality is that the Army be part of the solution not merely the solution ….. in the end I will salute the armed forces for their services rendered in the face of the quake and its devestation unseen or recorded in recent memory…
An_onimous – Reason for army’s loss
“And let us not forget that the Army was the single most badly hit organization in terms of loss of life. 500 casualties belonged to the Pakistan Army alone.”

That makes sense, because Army occupies almost every corner and resouce of the country.

Titfortat – Unprepared Military
No matter how they try to spin it, the fact remains that the Pakistani Military did not even have helicopters to reach survivors or heavy equipment to lift the rubble. The question is, where is all the money being budgeted towards defense going? The Pakistani Military acts like a political party but refuses to be held accountable. Perhaps Mr. Sadiq can figure out military spending and get back to us on that.

Remarks by President Bush After Meeting With Pakistan Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq 
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ — The following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush after meeting with Pakistan Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq:

The Oval Office 12:53 P.M. EDT (White House)

THE PRESIDENT: I would like to thank the Pakistan Embassy for coming by to brief me on the tragedy that has taken place in that country. I was just told that this is going to be the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history; thousands of people have died; thousands are wounded; and the United States of America wants to help.

I spoke to President Musharraf. I expressed our nation’s deepest condolences. And I told him that we want to help in any way we can. To that end, we’ve already started to send cash money and other equipment and goods that are going to be needed to help the people in Pakistan. Moving eight choppers over; the Charge told me that one of the biggest concerns for the government of Pakistan is not enough airlift capacity to get to some of theserural areas where people are suffering. So we’re moving choppers.

Secretary Rumsfeld is surveying the assets that he may be able to move in the area. We’re working with Pakistan at all levels of government. Pakistan is a friend of the United States government and the people of the United States will help as best as we possibly can. So I appreciate you coming by.

Finally, as I told the President — President Musharraf — I said there are a lot of Americans who will be asking for the Almighty God’s blessings on the people of Pakistan.

Thank you all

 News

U.S. sends quake recovery aid to Pakistan

By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer | October 9, 2005

WASHINGTON –The United States is sending cash and eight helicopters, with more military aid on the way, in response to Pakistan’s plea for international assistance with earthquake recovery.

“Thousands of people have died, thousands are wounded, and the United States of America wants to help,” President Bush said from the Oval Office on Sunday.

Saturday’s magnitude-7.7 earthquake killed at least 20,000. Officials said the death toll could climb much higher, and Bush called the quake the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a statement that he will designate a dedicated task force commander in the region to work with the affected governments, help assess their needs, and draw on U.S. military resources from inside or outside the region.

Five CH-47 and three UH-60 helicopters are being moved into Pakistan immediately, Rumsfeld said. Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, and others have been in contact with military officials in Pakistan, he said.

“Additional capabilities for airborne reconnaissance, heavy-lift ground equipment and medical support are being identified and dispatched from within the Central Command region,” Rumsfeld said.

With Pakistan’s ambassador away from Washington, Bush invited the embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Mohammad Sadiq, to the White House to offer condolences in person. He spoke to reporters with Sadiq by his side, in front of a fireplace in the Oval Office.

Bush also said he called Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“I told him that we want to help in any way we can,” Bush said. “To that end we’ve already started to send cash money and other equipment and goods that are going to be needed to help to the people in Pakistan.”

Musharraf has asked other nations for help, particularly cargo helicopters to bypass roads that have been made impassible by mudslides.

The U.S.-led coalition and a separate NATO-led peacekeeping force have dozens of heavy-lift choppers and transport airplanes in Afghanistan. Many are based near Kabul, about 300 miles from areas worst hit by the earthquake.

Bush did not take questions from reporters and did not specify how much cash the United States was sending. He added that many Americans will “be asking for the almighty God’s blessings on the people of Pakistan.”

A State Department spokesman, Kurtis Cooper, said the helicopters are bringing relief supplies to remote areas of Pakistan. A C-17 military aircraft has been assigned to bring blankets, tents and other relief supplies, and a shipment of relief supplies via charter aircraft has been ordered. Other relief missions will follow, Cooper said.

The U.S. also is sending a seven-person team to Pakistan to assess relief needs and to coordinate assistance, Cooper said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has contributed $500,000 to the American Red Cross for Pakistan relief.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, who heads the Senate subcommittee that controls foreign spending, said it was too early to determine how much money the United States should send to Pakistan.

McConnell, R-Ky., cited Pakistan’s role as ally in the fight against terrorism, suggesting that could be a factor in the decision.

Sen. Dick Durbin noted the quake occurred as the Senate is debating how best to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. He said Americans want to help victims in Pakistan and India, which also was hit by the earthquake.

“America will be there. I’m not sure in what capacity or to what extent, but we will be there,” said Durbin, D-Ill., who joined McConnell on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

QUAKE-BUSH-ASSITANCE

Bush calls up Musharraf to offer help in quake relief

WASHINGTON, OCT 9 (PTI)
US President George W Bush today called up Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to extend all possible assistance in quake rescue and relief operations and offer condolences over the tragedy.

“I told him (Musharraf) that we want to help in any way we can… To that end we’ve already started to send cash and money and other equipment, goods and immediate help to Pakistan,” Bush told reporters here.

Bush said he expressed “our nation’s deepest condolences” to Musharraf.

Thousands of people have died, thousands are wounded, and the US wants to help, he said adding that his country was sending cash and eight helicopters to help with earthquake rescue and recovery.

“I was told one of the biggest concerns for the government of Pakistan is not enough airlift capacity to get into the rural areas where people are suffering.. So we’re moving choppers,” he said.

He said additional help could be on the way. “(Defense) Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld is surveying the assets that he may be able to move in the area,” Bush said.

Bush had invited the Pakistan embassy’s deputy chief of mission Mohammad Sadiq to the White House to personally offer his condolences, as the country’s ambassador was out of town.

In statement issued by the White House yesterday, the President had said “the people of the United States offer our deepest sympathies for the loss of life and destruction.” The death figure in Pakistan in yesterday’s killer earthquake was estimated at upto 30,000 while on the Indian side of Kashmir it has crossed 650.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said in Islamabad that the eight US helicopters will arrive in Pakistan tomorrow.

“The US is sending them but it takes time to arrange and we have been told they will be here tomorrow,” he told a press conference.

The US embassy in Islamabad tonight said the eight military helicopters would facilitate delivery of relief supplies in remote areas.

Besides the helicopters, two plane loads of tents and blankets besides a million dollar cash assistance have also been sent, the embassy said in statement.

Two C-130 U.S. Military aircraft will bring tents, blankets, and other relief supplies while a separate chartered aircraft would bring in rolls of plastic sheeting and water containers, it added.

Also a seven-person Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) would reach Pakistan on October 10 and 12 to assess the assess humanitarian needs and help required.

In his media interviews, Musharraf today sought helicopters and material assistance from foreign countries.

Musharraf seeks US facilitation in Kashmir troops reduction
Pakistan Times Foreign Desk

September 16, 2005

NEW YORK (US): President General Pervez Musharraf Tuesday sought US help in India’s overall troop reduction in the Occupied Kashmir, particularly from some specific areas to achieve some forward movement for the resolution of long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

He made this proposal during a 30-minute, one-on-one meeting with President George W Bush, a day ahead of his bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN Summit.

President Bush held the meeting with President Musharraf before a reception hosted by him for world leaders, who are here to attend the Summit, marking the 60th anniversary of the world body.

President Musharraf said a pullout of troops from certain areas – later identified by Ambassador Jahangir Karamat as Baramula and Kupwara – would be a definite step towards meaningful progress on Kashmir.

The Pakistani leader pointed out that if there was no Indian reciprocity on the key Kashmir issue, all other confidence building measures would lose their impact.

“The proposal is a message for India and the United States as well,” Karamat said in reply to a question and added that Washington has all along been facilitating the peace process between the two South Asian neighbours.
Briefing newsmen, Ambassador Karamat described the meeting – one of the few, President Bush has had in view of his preoccupation with Hurricane Katrina – as “very important and one in which the two leaders reviewed a wide spectrum of bilateral ties including defence cooperation.”

President Musharraf expressed sympathies over colossal losses wrought by Hurricane Katrina. President Bush thanked Pakistan’s gesture in contributing to relief efforts.

On Afghanistan, President Musharraf reaffirmed Islamabad’s commitment to peace and stability in that country, especially during the upcoming parliamentary elections.

In this regard, he recounted Pakistan’s recent steps including beefing up of troops on its side of the border, increasing the number of border posts to 800 and called for a balance in troop deployment on the Afghan side for effective check on any incursions.

He said the relocation of refugee camps from the Pakistani side to the Afghan side of the border would help control any illegal movement across the border.

On Middle East, President Musharraf expressed satisfaction at Israeli pullout from Gaza and called for similar withdrawal from the West Bank and ultimately for moving towards settling the status of Jerusalem.
President Musharraf asked the American leader to expedite the process of free trade between the two countries, saying Pakistan looks forward to bolstering its exports to the robust US market. The two leaders felt that the bilateral relations were moving forward satisfactorily, especially in the defence field.

Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq flanked the Ambassador during the briefing. Pakistan Times’ Editor and Special Correspondent Mumtaz Hamid Rao adds from New York:

President General Pervez Musharraf says that the recent contact between Pakistan and Israel does not mean recognition of the Jewish state.

In an interview with The New York Times published in Tuesday’s edition, he said that the opening to Israelcould flourish “in case there is forward movement” on negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But, he added, “this is by no means recognition of Israel.”

President Musharraf said that his initiative had met little opposition in Pakistan. He is to address the American Jewish Congress (AJC) for the first time on September 17. “What is the harm if I interacted with the Jewish Congress, knowing their influence here?” he was quoted as saying.

In the wide-ranging interview, the president also spoke about Pakistan’s efforts to track down al Qaeda leaders. He said it was possible that Osama bin Laden is still moving between remote parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan four years after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. “I will not negate entirely, with confidence, that he is not there,” he said. “But I will never accept anybody who says with confidence that he is there.” He said later that he often asks, “Do you have intelligence, have you heard him?”

The president rejected the charge that Pakistan was doing a lackluster job of pursuing al-Qaeda suspects, saying Osama bin Laden’s power is reduced, no matter where he is.

“I do not think he can influence, because he is on the run, hiding,” General Musharraf said. If Osama bin Laden is on the Pakistan-Afghan border, he is switching sides “wherever he sees danger,” President Musharraf added.

The President also rejected arguments that Pakistan was halfhearted in its efforts to root out Al Qaeda and remnants of the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan until the American-led invasion there in 2001. “We have almost eliminated them from our cities,” he said.

“We have caught about 700 of them, and we have broken their back in the mountains.” The groups no longer operate in the valleys of the Afghan border area, he said, “because we have occupied them.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, also speaking to reporters Monday at The New York Times, praised President Musharraf for working in three areas, and said the United States would be supportive: helping to pursue members of Al Qaeda, creating “diplomatic space” for operating by reaching out to India and Israel, and working to improve education and the economy to discourage militancy. “There are parts of Pakistan that are extremely poor where you get breeding grounds for this kind of extremism,” she said, and the United States would help him deal with those.

President Musharraf said that, in a meeting he had Monday with Ms. Rice, he asked her to move toward free-trade agreement with Pakistan. That is likely to meet some resistance in Congress, which derailed efforts by the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 attacks to aid Pakistan by lifting restrictions on textile imports, according to the Times.

But he said he made no demands for an agreement that would match the Bush administration’s offer to help India develop a civilian nuclear power programme.

India and Pakistan have refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and that has prevented most forms of nuclear cooperation with the United States.

The President also said that he believed that the A.Q. Khan network exported “probably a dozen” centrifuges to North Korea to produce nuclear weapons fuel. He added, however, that after two years of interrogations there was still no evidence about whether the expert also gave North Korea a Chinese-origin design to build a nuclear weapon.

President Musharraf’s comments were made a day before the United States was to reopen talks with North Korea about its nuclear programme in Beijing.

In his discussion of A.Q. Khan, President Musharraf said that two years of questioning of the scientist – which the Pakistanis insist they would do themselves, rather than allowing the United States to question him – a critical question had not been resolved: Did the scientist give the same bomb design to North Korea and Iran that investigators found in Libya, when it dismantled its uranium program. “I don’t know,” he said. “Whether he passed these bomb designs to others – there is no such evidence.”?

Katrina-Pakistanis

Affected Pakistani Americans safe and secure, Embassy in touch with U.S. authorities: official sources

WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (APP)- The Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC “is in constant touch” with the U.S. authorities, in the matter of Pakistani -Americans shifted or evacuated from New Orleans, due to devastating hurricane Katrina.

Stating this, Deputy Chief of the Mission, Mohammad Sadiq told APP Wednesday afternoon that there has been no casualty of any community member, and that they heeded to the alerts timely and got shifted to safer places.

He, however, said that the official figure of the Pakistani-Americans, as had been living in Louisiana, is 2,600.

Media reports quoting Louisiana Mayor Wednesday evening said that “hundreds, may be thousands of people may have died in New Orleans alone.”

Meanwhile, President George Bush saw the vast devastation in New Orleans and Mississippi, Louisiana from U.S. Air Force-1 jet while returning to Washington from his Crawford ranch.

“It’s totally wiped out,” he told aides at one point during the hastily-arranged inspection flight, CNN said.

President Bush curtailed his vacations to be present in the White House to supervise the relief efforts in the wake of the category 3 hurricane, which has impacted severely.

Later in the evening Wednesday, President Bush returned to Washington. He is scheduled to preside over a highlevel meeting of security and relief `agencies, and is likely to deliver a public address, media reports quoting officials said.

Showcasing Pakistani talent in US
by RANA FAWAD

August 18, 2005

Pakistan’s Independence Day celebrations this year in the United States included an art exhibition that started on Saturday and will continuefor another 10 days on the Embassy’s premises in Washington.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Gen (Retd) Jehangir Karamat inaugurated the exhibition. In his address on the occasion, he said the exhibition marked the beginning of an effort by the Embassy to highlight the remarkable wealth of talent, diversity and outlook of its people. “With its rich Indus and Gandhara civilizations, Pakistan epitomizes an amalgam full of colour and appeal,” he said.

Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq told The Nation Plus that the exhibition was one of the events organised by the Embassy in order to improve Pakistan’s image.
Works of 20 contemporary Pakistani artists from various parts of the country are being showcased in the exhibition. These include Altaf Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed, Mansrur Aye, Gulgee, Wasi Haider, Mnasoora Hassan, Abdul Hayee, Tapu Javeri, Aamir Kamal, Muhamamd Kazim, G N Qazi, Riaz Raffi, Mashkoor Raza, Nahid Raza, Jamshaid Tahir and Hussain Tariq.

The artists have used a variety of media including water colour, oil on sheet, oil on canvas, oil on board, mixed media, ink on sheet, etc.

Sadiq said the exhibition was organised in collaboration with Rising Leaders (RL), an organisation of second generation Pakistanis in the US. He appreciated the efforts of the young volunteers of the RL in putting this show together. He said RL was also helpful in arranging a discussion and the launching ceremony of books (After Terror: Promoting Dialogues Among Civilizations by Akbar S Ahmad and Brian Forst), Magnificent Mughals (by Zeenat Ziad) and the music album ‘Infiniti’ of Salman Ahmad of Junoon in connection with the Independence Day celebrations.

July 31, 2005

Sunday

Jumadi-us-Sani , 1426


US allows shipment of F-16s to Pakistan

WASHINGTON, July 30: The Bush administration has approved an initial shipment to Pakistan of two F-16 fighter jets, a down payment on what is expected to be a larger sale of newer US fighters over Indian objections, congressional sources briefed on the plan said on Friday.

The decision to initially provide Pakistan, a war on terrorism ally, with two older but refurbished F-16s comes less than two weeks after President George W. Bush reversed long-standing US policy by promising to help India develop its civilian nuclear power sector. India had expressed concern to Washington about its proposed sale of F-16s to Pakistan.

One congressional source said of the timing of the decision, “They (Bush administration officials) didn’t want to start moving F-16s to Pakistan until after the Indian prime minister had come and gone.” Notifying Congress just before the start of the month-long August recess could also help “blunt any backlash among the friends of India in Congress, of which there are many,” the congressional source added.

Key lawmakers were notified on Friday of the decision, and administration officials made clear a larger sale of newer fighter planes to Pakistan was still in the works. The White House initially announced plans in March to sell F-16s to Pakistan but offered few details about the number of fighters and specifications.

The sale had been blocked for 15 years to Pakistan for its nuclear weapons programme. Administration officials said the policy change on the planes reflected Islamabad’s role helping the United States in the region after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks. Mr Bush last year named Pakistan a major non-NATO ally, making it easier for the country to acquire US arms.

The single engine, multi-role F-16 is built by Lockheed Martin Corp. Pakistan’s planned purchases would boost its fleet of about 32 F-16s acquired before the US Congress cut off sales in 1990 over Islamabad’s nuclear programme.

India warned the United States in March that F-16 sales to Pakistan could have “negative consequences for India’s security environment.”

In an attempt to address India’s concerns, the Bush administration is letting Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp compete for a potential $9 billion market in India for as many as 126 combat aircraft, as India replaces its fleet of Russian-built MiG-21s.

Lockheed is pitching India its F-16 Block 50/52 and Boeing is offering its dual-engine F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.—Reuters

Anwar Iqbal adds: Pakistan embassy in Washington confirmed Bush administration’s decision.

“Islamabad had asked for two F-16s before schedule and Washington agreed to oblige,” said deputy chief of mission Mohammed Sadiq.

A Pakistani team is expected to arrive in Washington in late September or early October to fly the planes home.

India Monitor

New Terror Camp?; In a potential embarrassment for a key
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenba
June 13, 2005

Monday June 13, 2005,NEW YORK:U.S. ally, an alleged Al Qaeda supporter claims that the group has built a major training facility inside Pakistan and that recruits are being taught how to kill Americans.

June 8:An FBI investigation into a suspected Islamic jehad group in California has produced sensitive new evidence that Al Qaeda may have reconstituted a major terrorist training camp inside Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks a subject that the U.S. government has been reluctant to publicly talk about.

The assertion that Al Qaeda which President Bush recently claimed is “on the run” was still capable of operating a significant training facility inside Pakistan is contained in an FBI affidavit released Tuesday night in connection with the arrests of Hamid Hayat, 24, a U.S. citizen, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, an ice cream truck driver, in Lodi, Calif., south of Sacramento. The two men are accused of lying to the FBI about a two year sojourn that Hamid Hayat made to Pakistan between April 2003 and this year.

The affidavit states that the younger Hayat, after flunking an FBI administered polygraph, confirmed to the agents just last week that for part of his trip he spent six months at an Al Qaeda backed training camp in Pakistan, where he observed “hundreds of attendees from various parts of the world.”

Hamid described the camp as a facility that provided “structured paramilitary training,” including training in weapons, explosives and hand to hand combat, the affidavit states. During weapons training, photos of President Bush and other high ranking U.S. political figures were “pasted onto their targets,” and attendees were “being trained on how to kill Americans,” Hamid admitted, according to the affidavit by FBI agent Pedro Tenoch Aguilar.

The FBI affidavit does not identify where in Pakistan the terror camp is located or how long U.S. officials have known about its existence. An FBI spokesman said today that all such details are classified. But last year, in a little noticed announcement, the Department of Homeland Security directed customs agents and inspectors to scrutinize all travelers of Pakistani descent for signs of rope burns, unusual bruises and scars. Such bruises or scars, a department bulletin asserted, could be signs that the travelers might have spent time in Islamic militant training camps in Pakistan. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington did not return phone calls for comment today. Last year, Mohammed Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission of the embassy, told the Los Angeles Times that the Homeland Security warning was “not only unfortunate, but based on
ignorance.”

“It’s a little bit disturbing that there are Al Qaeda training camps popping up in countries that are U.S. allies,” said Evan Kohlmann, a New York based counterterrorism consultant who works closely with the FBI. “It’s not a very good statement about the progress that has been made in shutting down Al Qaeda’s infrastructure.”

The evidence of a large Al Qaeda training camp, if confirmed, could also prove diplomatically and politically embarrassing as well as a painful reminder of President Pervez Musharraf’s limitations in maintaining control over his own territory. The destruction of Al Qaeda’s training camps inside Afghanistan has often been cited as the most important accomplishment of the U.S. invasion of that country in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks. The Bush administration also has put great stock in Musharraf’s government, calling Pakistan “one of the United States’ most important partners in the war on terrorism,” in the State Department’s annual counterterrorism report released last month.

The report praised Musharraf’s government for aggressively pursuing Al Qaeda, singling out in particular last year’s Pakistani Army raids on purported Al Qaeda “safe havens” in South Waziristan, a remote mountainous region in the northwest portion of the country that borders Afghanistan. The State Department report asserted that the Pakistani raids had “significantly degraded” Al Qaeda’s “command and control capabilities in the region.” The report makes no reference to any suspected Al Qaeda training camps in the country.

But Kohlmann said the existence of such training camps in Waziristan (where some intelligence officials believe Osama bin Laden has been hiding) has actually been known to the U.S. counterterrorism community for some time. Islamic militant groups have actually distributed videos and CD ROMs showing militants training at one or more of such facilities. The videos of such training have also recently appeared on Internet Web sites, he said.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivenature of the information under discussion, told NEWSWEEK that U.S. intelligence agencies had assembled information indicating that after 9/11, Al Qaeda forces driven out of Afghanistan had established “sanctuaries” in the remote Shkai area of South Waziristan. These sanctuaries were sufficienly hospitable to Al Qaeda that the terrorist movement could have been free to establish training facilities in the area, the official said, though such camps never existed on the same scale as the Al Qaeda camps that operated in Afghanistan before 9/11.

The official said that the Pakistani military raids late last year were in part designed to “flush out” and destroy the camps. U.S. officials believe the initiative successfully routed Al Qaeda forces out of the area, the official said.

It is still unclear precisely how much evidence of the camp’s existence the FBI has beyond the younger Hayat’s admissions to bureau agents. But there were some hints that it could be more extensive than has been publicly disclosed so far. Also arrested in connection with the same investigation were two Islamic religious teachers who had been living in the Lodi area, Mohammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed. Both Pakistani nationals were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on suspicion of violating the terms of their U.S. visas,
according to Dean Boyd, a Homeland Security spokesman. Authorities described Ahmed as the one time imam at the Lodi Mosque, Khan was described as being affiliated with an apparently rival organization near Lodi, the Farooqia Islamic Center. John Cauthen, a spokesman for the FBI in Sacremento, declined to comment on the connection between the two imams and the Hayats, but the Los Angeles Times reported that Khan and Ahmed were seen meeting with the Hayats in Lodi over the weekend just before the Hayats were arrested. Keith Slotter, the FBI special agent in charge in Sacramento, said the arrests were part of a long term investigation that had been underway for a number of years and that they may lead to further charges.

Another indication of the scope of the investigation can be found in the affidavit which asserts that the younger Hayat had been on the Department of Homeland Security’s “no fly” list when he boarded an airplane in Korea two weeks ago on his way back from his two year trip to Pakistan. The affidavit doesn’t explain why Hamid Hayat was on the list in the first place, but it does say that the realization by U.S. authorities that he was on the plane caused them to divert the plane headed to San Francisco to Japan, where Hamid, interviewed by an FBI agent, denied having nay connection to terrorist activities. Hamid was then downgraded to a “Selectee List,” a separate list that prompts closer scrutiny of travelers but doesn’t prohibit them of boarding airplanes and flying into the country.

Once home, however, Hamid Hayat voluntarily agreed to be questioned by the FBI on June 4 and agreed to take a polygraph. The polygraph examiner concluded Hayat was being deceptive. After being told this, and after two hours of questioning, Hayat finally broke down and “admitted that he had, in fact, attended a jehadist training camp in Pakistan.” He further told the FBI that at the camp, attendees were given the opportunity to choose the country in which they wanted to carry out their jehad mission with the choices including the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and other countries.

“Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jehadi mission,” the affidavit states. “Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores.”

After Hamid’s admission, his father, Umer Hayat, was reinterviewed by the FBI. When first asked if he knew anything about terrorist training camps in Pakistan, Umer Hamid at first told the FBI “there were no such training camps in Pakistan.”

But after being shown a video of his son’s confession, Umer Hayat confirmed that his son had attended such a camp, according to the affidavit. He also admitted that he paid for his son’s flight to Pakistan and provided him with an allowance of $100 per month, knowing that his intention was to attend a jiahdi training camp, the affidavit states.

With Karen Breslau in Sacramento.

CNN World News 9/6/05 FBI: Al Qaeda plot possibly uncovered; ‘Trained on how to kill Americans’

CNN’s Nic Robertson and Kelli Arena contributed to this report.

LODI, California (CNN) Authorities said Wednesday they believe a father and son arrested in this quaint northern California community were involved in a larger al Qaeda plan to carry out jehad, or holy war, against the United States.

“We believe through our investigation that various individuals connected to al Qaeda have been operating in the Lodi area in various capacities,” FBI special agent in charge Keith Slotter told reporters.

He said those included “individuals who have received terrorist training abroad, with the specific intent to initiate a terrorist attack in the United States and to harm Americans and our institutions.”

Slotter said, however, no evidence has been found of specific plans, targets or timing of a possible attack. He said more arrests were possible.

Authorities earlier this week arrested the father and son, identified as 47 year old Umer Hayat and 22 year old Hamid Hayat from Lodi, on charges they lied to FBI investigators. The son is to be arraigned Friday.

They have not been charged with terrorist involvement, although a criminal complaint alleges the son attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.

Two others in Lodi Muslim leaders Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed have been arrested on immigration violations, but authorities have not elaborated on a possible connection between the Hayats and them.

An affidavit describing the alleged activities of the Hayats was unsealed Tuesday evening by the federal court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. Lodi is 35 miles south of Sacramento.

In the affidavit, the younger Hayat admitted he attended the al Qaeda supported camp and that during his weapons training, photographs of “various high ranking U.S. political figures,including President Bush, would be pasted on their targets.”

Sacramento attorney Johnny Griffin III, who represents the father, acknowledged the affidavit is “very alarming.” But, he said, “we must keep in mind they are not charged with any terrorist activity. They are only charged with making false statements.”

Both Hayats are U.S. citizens; Hamid Hayat was born in California, the affidavit says. According to the affidavit, the younger Hayat confessed to attending the camp in Pakistan, which he said was run by al Qaeda, in 2003 2004.

He said he had gone to Pakistan ostensibly to attend a madrassa, or school, run by his grandfather.

According to immigration records, the affidavit says, Hayat left the United States for Pakistan on April 19, 2003, and arrived on April 21. His records show he departed Pakistan on May 27, 2005.

Hayat denied attending the camp to an FBI agent in Japan, where his flight from South Korea to San Francisco was diverted May 29 when his name appeared on a “no fly” list.

Hayat was allowed to continue his flight to San Francisco based on his denial.

His no fly status was changed in Japan to “selectee,” Slotter said, meaning more information was needed to determine whether he should be on the no fly list.

Asked why Hamid Hayat was on a no fly list, Charles DeMore, special agent in charge with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to answer.

The FBI interviewed Hamid Hayat again on June 3, and again he denied attending the jehadist camp, according to the affidavit. Umer Hayat was interviewed the same day and said the same thing, the document says. Affidavit details

The following day, Hamid Hayat “voluntarily appeared at the Sacramento office of the FBI to take a polygraph examination that had been requested by the FBI,” the affidavit says. With him was his father.

The affidavit says the polygraph found “his answers to the relevant questions … indicative of deception.”

After two more hours of questioning “Hamid admitted that he had in fact attended a jehadist training camp in Pakistan” for six months.

Hayat described his training and said he learned “how to kill Americans” and selected the United States as the turf for his jehadi mission, the affidavit says.

In a separate interview, his father not only denied the existence of such a camp but also his son’s participation in one, the affidavit says.

But, the document says, after seeing the video of his son’s confession, Umer Hayat confirmed his son’s story and revealed that he paid for his flight to Pakistan and provided him with $100 per month.

Umer Hayat provided details about the madrassa his son attended as well as the camp and others, which he told agents he was “invited” to visit and “assigned a driver who drove him from camp to camp.”

The elder Hayat said the camp was run by Maulana Fazlur Rehman believed to be Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, who has long been suspected of running training camps in Pakistan.

Khalil, a Hezbi mujahedeen, has on several occasions been detained and questioned by Pakistani authorities.

In 1998, Khalil was the only mujahedeen leader to hold a news conference after the United States fired cruise missiles at a training camp in an attempt to kill Osama bin Laden.

At the time, Khalil said more than a dozen of his people died and vowed revenge against the United States.

Two and a half months ago, Khalil told a media contact he had cancer. Islamic leaders held

The two local Islamic leaders Khan and Ahmed were detained on immigration charges and will face an immigration hearing, FBI Special Agent John Cauthen said

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the two were in custody on “administrative immigration violations for violating their religious worker visas” and no date has been set for their hearing.

Law enforcement sources told CNN investigators were looking to see if the two could have acted as a sort of “conduit” between terror groups and persons in the United States, although so far no charges have been made to that effect.

At least one of the Islamic leaders overstayed his visa, the sources said. Khan is the former imam of the Lodi Muslim Mosque and Ahmed is the current imam, according to Lodi News Sentinel religion reporter Ross Farrow, who has interviewed both men in the past.

Khan has been working to establish the Farooqia Islamic Center, an Islamic charter school for young children in Lodi, Farrow said.

Khan condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in the days following, Farrow said.

Several months later, Khan joined the leaders of local Christian churches and a Jewish synagogue to issue a Declaration of Peace condemning terrorism and stressing the common origins of each religion, Farrow said.

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US, British forces conducted exercise in Karachi: report
Source : Moneyplans.net Archives- 04 June, 2005

Special Forces from the US and Britain recently trained in the Pakistani port city of Karachi in areas that resemble Iranian cities, UPI reported quoting sources in the Pakistani intelligence.

A spokesman for the Pakistani military, Col. Tahir Idrees Malik, however, said these were anti-terrorist drills and had nothing to do with Iran.

President George W. Bush told NBC News Monday that he cannot rule out military action against Iran if Tehran was not forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

“I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table, if Iran continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons programme,” he said.

Intelligence sources in Karachi say the joint US, British and Pakistani exercises began in early December and ended Monday.

The American and British troops were based at Malir cantonment, a military area near the Karachi airport used by the British during World War II for stationing troops on their way to the Middle East.

On Jan 11, the troops conducted an anti-hijacking drill on a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft at an isolated place several miles from the main terminal, the sources said.

During the exercise, the US and British troops showed particular interest in areas inhabited by Baluch tribesmen and Iranian refugees, where several key Al Qaeda terrorists are also believed to have taken refuge after escaping from Afghanistan following the US military operation against the Taliban in October 2001.

Pakistani police say that it was the same area where kidnappers of a Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, had temporarily hidden him before killing him.

Culturally, this area is considered the closest in Pakistan to parts of eastern Iran and is also used by Iranian tribal smugglers who have ethnic and lingual affinities with the Baluch tribesmen living here.

Pakistani intelligence sources said that during the exercises, the troops also familiarized themselves with other Karachi neighbourhoods, roads and exit points, railway and bus stations and the airport.

Witnesses said some streets in Karachi, lined with shops on both sides with people living in the flats above, were made to resemble similar congested areas of major Iranian cities.

Malik, a spokesman for the military’s press office, said the exercises were held in a city because these were anti-terrorist drills. Asked why Karachi was chosen for this drill, he said exercises always take place where “action is expected”.

He said Pakistan was “proud to have worked with friendly countries” in these anti-terror preparations but refused to say which countries participated in the exercise.

He confirmed that an anti-hijacking drill was performed on an A-300 Airbus aircraft near Karachi airport and the troops also held similar exercises at railway stations and bus terminals which could also be targeted by terrorists.

When asked to comment on these reports, Mohammed Sadiq, Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, said: “We will never participate in any activity that will lead to military action against Iran.”

But a senior Pakistani official in Islamabad maintained that Pakistan had cooperated with the US in the nuclear investigation of Iran.

“Our cooperation, however, is confined to whatever the Iranians might have received from the Khan network,” said the official. “We have no knowledge of what Iranians have been doing and where they have hidden their nuclear assets.”

Iran has acknowledged receiving centrifuges for processing uranium from the Khan network, which was headed by the former chief of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Khan — now under house arrest in Pakistan — also confessed to providing nuclear technology to Libya and North Korea.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has posed questions through Pakistani intelligence for Khan and how much assistance he provided to Iran. The IAEA is not allowed to directly interrogate Khan.

India Monitor

New Terror Camp?; In a potential embarrassment for a key
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenba
June 13, 2005

Monday June 13, 2005,NEW YORK:U.S. ally, an alleged Al Qaeda supporter claims that the group has built a major training facility inside Pakistan and that recruits are being taught how to kill Americans.

June 8:An FBI investigation into a suspected Islamic jehad group in California has produced sensitive new evidence that Al Qaeda may have reconstituted a major terrorist training camp inside Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks a subject that the U.S. government has been reluctant to publicly talk about.

The assertion that Al Qaeda which President Bush recently claimed is “on the run” was still capable of operating a significant training facility inside Pakistan is contained in an FBI affidavit released Tuesday night in connection with the arrests of Hamid Hayat, 24, a U.S. citizen, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, an ice cream truck driver, in Lodi, Calif., south of Sacramento. The two men are accused of lying to the FBI about a two year sojourn that Hamid Hayat made to Pakistan between April 2003 and this year.

The affidavit states that the younger Hayat, after flunking an FBI administered polygraph, confirmed to the agents just last week that for part of his trip he spent six months at an Al Qaeda backed training camp in Pakistan, where he observed “hundreds of attendees from various parts of the world.”

Hamid described the camp as a facility that provided “structured paramilitary training,” including training in weapons, explosives and hand to hand combat, the affidavit states. During weapons training, photos of President Bush and other high ranking U.S. political figures were “pasted onto their targets,” and attendees were “being trained on how to kill Americans,” Hamid admitted, according to the affidavit by FBI agent Pedro Tenoch Aguilar.

The FBI affidavit does not identify where in Pakistan the terror camp is located or how long U.S. officials have known about its existence. An FBI spokesman said today that all such details are classified. But last year, in a little noticed announcement, the Department of Homeland Security directed customs agents and inspectors to scrutinize all travelers of Pakistani descent for signs of rope burns, unusual bruises and scars. Such bruises or scars, a department bulletin asserted, could be signs that the travelers might have spent time in Islamic militant training camps in Pakistan. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington did not return phone calls for comment today. Last year, Mohammed Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission of the embassy, told the Los Angeles Times that the Homeland Security warning was “not only unfortunate, but based on
ignorance.”

“It’s a little bit disturbing that there are Al Qaeda training camps popping up in countries that are U.S. allies,” said Evan Kohlmann, a New York based counterterrorism consultant who works closely with the FBI. “It’s not a very good statement about the progress that has been made in shutting down Al Qaeda’s infrastructure.”

The evidence of a large Al Qaeda training camp, if confirmed, could also prove diplomatically and politically embarrassing as well as a painful reminder of President Pervez Musharraf’s limitations in maintaining control over his own territory. The destruction of Al Qaeda’s training camps inside Afghanistan has often been cited as the most important accomplishment of the U.S. invasion of that country in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks. The Bush administration also has put great stock in Musharraf’s government, calling Pakistan “one of the United States’ most important partners in the war on terrorism,” in the State Department’s annual counterterrorism report released last month.

The report praised Musharraf’s government for aggressively pursuing Al Qaeda, singling out in particular last year’s Pakistani Army raids on purported Al Qaeda “safe havens” in South Waziristan, a remote mountainous region in the northwest portion of the country that borders Afghanistan. The State Department report asserted that the Pakistani raids had “significantly degraded” Al Qaeda’s “command and control capabilities in the region.” The report makes no reference to any suspected Al Qaeda training camps in the country.

But Kohlmann said the existence of such training camps in Waziristan (where some intelligence officials believe Osama bin Laden has been hiding) has actually been known to the U.S. counterterrorism community for some time. Islamic militant groups have actually distributed videos and CD ROMs showing militants training at one or more of such facilities. The videos of such training have also recently appeared on Internet Web sites, he said.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivenature of the information under discussion, told NEWSWEEK that U.S. intelligence agencies had assembled information indicating that after 9/11, Al Qaeda forces driven out of Afghanistan had established “sanctuaries” in the remote Shkai area of South Waziristan. These sanctuaries were sufficienly hospitable to Al Qaeda that the terrorist movement could have been free to establish training facilities in the area, the official said, though such camps never existed on the same scale as the Al Qaeda camps that operated in Afghanistan before 9/11.

The official said that the Pakistani military raids late last year were in part designed to “flush out” and destroy the camps. U.S. officials believe the initiative successfully routed Al Qaeda forces out of the area, the official said.

It is still unclear precisely how much evidence of the camp’s existence the FBI has beyond the younger Hayat’s admissions to bureau agents. But there were some hints that it could be more extensive than has been publicly disclosed so far. Also arrested in connection with the same investigation were two Islamic religious teachers who had been living in the Lodi area, Mohammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed. Both Pakistani nationals were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on suspicion of violating the terms of their U.S. visas,
according to Dean Boyd, a Homeland Security spokesman. Authorities described Ahmed as the one time imam at the Lodi Mosque, Khan was described as being affiliated with an apparently rival organization near Lodi, the Farooqia Islamic Center. John Cauthen, a spokesman for the FBI in Sacremento, declined to comment on the connection between the two imams and the Hayats, but the Los Angeles Times reported that Khan and Ahmed were seen meeting with the Hayats in Lodi over the weekend just before the Hayats were arrested. Keith Slotter, the FBI special agent in charge in Sacramento, said the arrests were part of a long term investigation that had been underway for a number of years and that they may lead to further charges.

Another indication of the scope of the investigation can be found in the affidavit which asserts that the younger Hayat had been on the Department of Homeland Security’s “no fly” list when he boarded an airplane in Korea two weeks ago on his way back from his two year trip to Pakistan. The affidavit doesn’t explain why Hamid Hayat was on the list in the first place, but it does say that the realization by U.S. authorities that he was on the plane caused them to divert the plane headed to San Francisco to Japan, where Hamid, interviewed by an FBI agent, denied having nay connection to terrorist activities. Hamid was then downgraded to a “Selectee List,” a separate list that prompts closer scrutiny of travelers but doesn’t prohibit them of boarding airplanes and flying into the country.

Once home, however, Hamid Hayat voluntarily agreed to be questioned by the FBI on June 4 and agreed to take a polygraph. The polygraph examiner concluded Hayat was being deceptive. After being told this, and after two hours of questioning, Hayat finally broke down and “admitted that he had, in fact, attended a jehadist training camp in Pakistan.” He further told the FBI that at the camp, attendees were given the opportunity to choose the country in which they wanted to carry out their jehad mission with the choices including the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and other countries.

“Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jehadi mission,” the affidavit states. “Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores.”

After Hamid’s admission, his father, Umer Hayat, was reinterviewed by the FBI. When first asked if he knew anything about terrorist training camps in Pakistan, Umer Hamid at first told the FBI “there were no such training camps in Pakistan.”

But after being shown a video of his son’s confession, Umer Hayat confirmed that his son had attended such a camp, according to the affidavit. He also admitted that he paid for his son’s flight to Pakistan and provided him with an allowance of $100 per month, knowing that his intention was to attend a jiahdi training camp, the affidavit states.

With Karen Breslau in Sacramento.

CNN World News 9/6/05 FBI: Al Qaeda plot possibly uncovered; ‘Trained on how to kill Americans’

CNN’s Nic Robertson and Kelli Arena contributed to this report.

LODI, California (CNN) Authorities said Wednesday they believe a father and son arrested in this quaint northern California community were involved in a larger al Qaeda plan to carry out jehad, or holy war, against the United States.

“We believe through our investigation that various individuals connected to al Qaeda have been operating in the Lodi area in various capacities,” FBI special agent in charge Keith Slotter told reporters.

He said those included “individuals who have received terrorist training abroad, with the specific intent to initiate a terrorist attack in the United States and to harm Americans and our institutions.”

Slotter said, however, no evidence has been found of specific plans, targets or timing of a possible attack. He said more arrests were possible.

Authorities earlier this week arrested the father and son, identified as 47 year old Umer Hayat and 22 year old Hamid Hayat from Lodi, on charges they lied to FBI investigators. The son is to be arraigned Friday.

They have not been charged with terrorist involvement, although a criminal complaint alleges the son attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.

Two others in Lodi Muslim leaders Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed have been arrested on immigration violations, but authorities have not elaborated on a possible connection between the Hayats and them.

An affidavit describing the alleged activities of the Hayats was unsealed Tuesday evening by the federal court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. Lodi is 35 miles south of Sacramento.

In the affidavit, the younger Hayat admitted he attended the al Qaeda supported camp and that during his weapons training, photographs of “various high ranking U.S. political figures,including President Bush, would be pasted on their targets.”

Sacramento attorney Johnny Griffin III, who represents the father, acknowledged the affidavit is “very alarming.” But, he said, “we must keep in mind they are not charged with any terrorist activity. They are only charged with making false statements.”

Both Hayats are U.S. citizens; Hamid Hayat was born in California, the affidavit says. According to the affidavit, the younger Hayat confessed to attending the camp in Pakistan, which he said was run by al Qaeda, in 2003 2004.

He said he had gone to Pakistan ostensibly to attend a madrassa, or school, run by his grandfather.

According to immigration records, the affidavit says, Hayat left the United States for Pakistan on April 19, 2003, and arrived on April 21. His records show he departed Pakistan on May 27, 2005.

Hayat denied attending the camp to an FBI agent in Japan, where his flight from South Korea to San Francisco was diverted May 29 when his name appeared on a “no fly” list.

Hayat was allowed to continue his flight to San Francisco based on his denial.

His no fly status was changed in Japan to “selectee,” Slotter said, meaning more information was needed to determine whether he should be on the no fly list.

Asked why Hamid Hayat was on a no fly list, Charles DeMore, special agent in charge with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to answer.

The FBI interviewed Hamid Hayat again on June 3, and again he denied attending the jehadist camp, according to the affidavit. Umer Hayat was interviewed the same day and said the same thing, the document says. Affidavit details

The following day, Hamid Hayat “voluntarily appeared at the Sacramento office of the FBI to take a polygraph examination that had been requested by the FBI,” the affidavit says. With him was his father.

The affidavit says the polygraph found “his answers to the relevant questions … indicative of deception.”

After two more hours of questioning “Hamid admitted that he had in fact attended a jehadist training camp in Pakistan” for six months.

Hayat described his training and said he learned “how to kill Americans” and selected the United States as the turf for his jehadi mission, the affidavit says.

In a separate interview, his father not only denied the existence of such a camp but also his son’s participation in one, the affidavit says.

But, the document says, after seeing the video of his son’s confession, Umer Hayat confirmed his son’s story and revealed that he paid for his flight to Pakistan and provided him with $100 per month.

Umer Hayat provided details about the madrassa his son attended as well as the camp and others, which he told agents he was “invited” to visit and “assigned a driver who drove him from camp to camp.”

The elder Hayat said the camp was run by Maulana Fazlur Rehman believed to be Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, who has long been suspected of running training camps in Pakistan.

Khalil, a Hezbi mujahedeen, has on several occasions been detained and questioned by Pakistani authorities.

In 1998, Khalil was the only mujahedeen leader to hold a news conference after the United States fired cruise missiles at a training camp in an attempt to kill Osama bin Laden.

At the time, Khalil said more than a dozen of his people died and vowed revenge against the United States.

Two and a half months ago, Khalil told a media contact he had cancer. Islamic leaders held

The two local Islamic leaders Khan and Ahmed were detained on immigration charges and will face an immigration hearing, FBI Special Agent John Cauthen said

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the two were in custody on “administrative immigration violations for violating their religious worker visas” and no date has been set for their hearing.

Law enforcement sources told CNN investigators were looking to see if the two could have acted as a sort of “conduit” between terror groups and persons in the United States, although so far no charges have been made to that effect.

At least one of the Islamic leaders overstayed his visa, the sources said. Khan is the former imam of the Lodi Muslim Mosque and Ahmed is the current imam, according to Lodi News Sentinel religion reporter Ross Farrow, who has interviewed both men in the past.

Khan has been working to establish the Farooqia Islamic Center, an Islamic charter school for young children in Lodi, Farrow said.

Khan condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in the days following, Farrow said.

Several months later, Khan joined the leaders of local Christian churches and a Jewish synagogue to issue a Declaration of Peace condemning terrorism and stressing the common origins of each religion, Farrow said.

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US, British forces conducted exercise in Karachi: report
Source : Moneyplans.net Archives- 04 June, 2005

Special Forces from the US and Britain recently trained in the Pakistani port city of Karachi in areas that resemble Iranian cities, UPI reported quoting sources in the Pakistani intelligence.

A spokesman for the Pakistani military, Col. Tahir Idrees Malik, however, said these were anti-terrorist drills and had nothing to do with Iran.

President George W. Bush told NBC News Monday that he cannot rule out military action against Iran if Tehran was not forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

“I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table, if Iran continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons programme,” he said.

Intelligence sources in Karachi say the joint US, British and Pakistani exercises began in early December and ended Monday.

The American and British troops were based at Malir cantonment, a military area near the Karachi airport used by the British during World War II for stationing troops on their way to the Middle East.

On Jan 11, the troops conducted an anti-hijacking drill on a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft at an isolated place several miles from the main terminal, the sources said.

During the exercise, the US and British troops showed particular interest in areas inhabited by Baluch tribesmen and Iranian refugees, where several key Al Qaeda terrorists are also believed to have taken refuge after escaping from Afghanistan following the US military operation against the Taliban in October 2001.

Pakistani police say that it was the same area where kidnappers of a Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, had temporarily hidden him before killing him.

Culturally, this area is considered the closest in Pakistan to parts of eastern Iran and is also used by Iranian tribal smugglers who have ethnic and lingual affinities with the Baluch tribesmen living here.

Pakistani intelligence sources said that during the exercises, the troops also familiarized themselves with other Karachi neighbourhoods, roads and exit points, railway and bus stations and the airport.

Witnesses said some streets in Karachi, lined with shops on both sides with people living in the flats above, were made to resemble similar congested areas of major Iranian cities.

Malik, a spokesman for the military’s press office, said the exercises were held in a city because these were anti-terrorist drills. Asked why Karachi was chosen for this drill, he said exercises always take place where “action is expected”.

He said Pakistan was “proud to have worked with friendly countries” in these anti-terror preparations but refused to say which countries participated in the exercise.

He confirmed that an anti-hijacking drill was performed on an A-300 Airbus aircraft near Karachi airport and the troops also held similar exercises at railway stations and bus terminals which could also be targeted by terrorists.

When asked to comment on these reports, Mohammed Sadiq, Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, said: “We will never participate in any activity that will lead to military action against Iran.”

But a senior Pakistani official in Islamabad maintained that Pakistan had cooperated with the US in the nuclear investigation of Iran.

“Our cooperation, however, is confined to whatever the Iranians might have received from the Khan network,” said the official. “We have no knowledge of what Iranians have been doing and where they have hidden their nuclear assets.”

Iran has acknowledged receiving centrifuges for processing uranium from the Khan network, which was headed by the former chief of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Khan — now under house arrest in Pakistan — also confessed to providing nuclear technology to Libya and North Korea.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has posed questions through Pakistani intelligence for Khan and how much assistance he provided to Iran. The IAEA is not allowed to directly interrogate Khan.

Pak sailor held in NY for sexually assaulting teenage girl:-
New York | May 29, 2005 1:22:37 PM IST

A Pakistan Navy sailor was arrested in New York on Thursday after he allegedly sexually assaulted a US teenage girl in a public park.

“They were talking in the park, he grabbed her, and he kissed her on the mouth. She struggled away and got help,” The Nation quoted a New York Post report as saying.
The Pakistan Embassy confirmed the sailor’s arrest, the paper said adding that currently he is being held at a precinct station.

“We have been informed of the arrest, and we are looking into the matter,” the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Pakistan Embassy Mohammad Sadiq reportedly said.

According to the police, the 14-year-old girl is a student of a high school in Massachusetts.
Nadeem Ahmed, the accused sailor, was one among the 700 Pakistani seamen who had arrived in New York on May 25 to participate in Fleet Week Celebrations. A couple of days later, Nadeem had gone missing from the ship. A missing person’s report was subsequently filed with the New York police. (ANI)

 

by IRSHAD SALIM – May 17, 2005

Rise Rising Leaders!

On the third floor of the Pakistan embassy in Washington, in a medium sized room with two windows, sit the incubating ‘Rising Leaders’, Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq’s brainchild….one of the very few best things to happen to Pakistan across the Atlantic, besides the post 9/11 U-turn.

There ain’t enough space in the room to fill two hundred of these ‘rising leaders’ as they are called, but these Pakistani Americans, some naturalized and some born American, are comfortably spaced and spread all over the USA, connected with one another in a string of communication hybrid focused on one simple goal – to carry Pakistan, its legacy, history and political support all the way up their carriers and social ladders as they embrace life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in USA.

One hell of a super goal for a country like Pakistan whose support for war against terror still remains questionable and cartoonized regularly by such influential right-wing conservative Washington based newspaper like The Washington Times. But here’s where the values and objectives of Sadiq’s “The Rising Leaders” light up in a sharp and meaningful focus though.

Related story: Portraying Pakistan as ‘doggy’ ally ?

If any one of these “Rising Leaders” had been an intern or an editorial staffer of The Washington Times, chan ces are he or she might haveeducated and or convinced the WT editorial pundits or the neoconized cartoonist not to hit Pakistan below the belt. The cartoon showed a US soldier patting a dog with “Pakistan” written over it; the animal holding Al Libbi while the soldier saying: “Good boy….now let’s go find bin Laden!

Unfortunately, Rising Leaders was spun off only very recently and therefore Pakistan must wait before its ‘Risen Leaders’ albeit allies will help her anyway anywhere in the USA from the ever-glade state of Florida all the way to the Capitol Hills.

If I am not mistaken, India and Israel have such programs, and if they really do have one such then why not Pakistan. The more the better. No? After all lobbying openly and proselytizing political agendas permeate Washington landscape as permanently as the dome adorning majestically the Capitol Hill building.

That is not to say that these Rising Leaders may eventually goose-march in Washington and elsewhere as future political operatives of Pakistan. All it means is it is justified as long as high moral grounds are met and political agendas are furthered not ‘by all means and war by deception’ as some might be doing but by doing so in a spirit of understanding, tolerance for differing points of views, give and take, assimilation, empowerment, etc. Hey! This is America. Anything is possible.

Age does not bar any Pakistani-American from joining the movement, which I call it rather than looking at it as an elitist happy hunting groundfor wannabe sons and daughters of rich Pakistani parents here and abroad. In fact, even I at my age of 48 could join it but as a mentor, quips Aisha Chapra, a twenty-three year old US-born but Pakistan-raised young lady with a double bachelors degree in Political Science and Social Work.

Being the program director of the ‘Rising Leaders’ organization, Aisha’s day starts when crisp early morning sun rays ricochet on her tiny desk by the window and she gets busier and busier with every hour as phones keep ringing and emails pop up piggybacked by intermittent urgent requests for press releases, write ups, please do-this and please do-that from the immediate boss.

Rising Leaders was created in recognition of the fact that Americans of Pakistani heritage are underrepresented in the American political system. The organization began as a youth initiative that has taken off to include all people who are interested in making a difference in the lives of Pakistani-Americans. But this organization is not limited to only Americans of Pakistani heritage. It welcomes young Americans of all backgrounds who share our interest in making a difference, says their website which can be reached at: http://www.risingleaders.org

The organization has grown to be an influential entity in Washington, DC and is dedicated to ensuring that there is a strong Pakistani-American presence in civic and political life in the U.S. Pakistani-American Congressional staffers Assad Akhtar, Nayyera Haq, Omar Khawaja, Umair Khan and Arif Haque are classic examples of the Rising Leaders. They discuss with the other Rising Leaders interns their experiences working with members of Congress and answer questions about what to expect in pursuing political careers.

Rising Leaders’ Executive Director is Nadia Naviwala, a twenty-one-year old Pakistani American from Alabama who is graduating from Georgetown University School of Foreign Affairs. Presently she is in Turkey, pursuing overseas study program and will be back for the summer Rising Leaders internship program in Washington soon.

Good luck and rise to the occasion Rising Leaders! Pakistan needs you all now more than ever.

May 14, 2005

Saturday

Rabi-us-Sani 5, 1426

US newspaper regrets publishing cartoon

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, May 13: The Washington Times newspaper has expressed regrets for the ‘misunderstanding a derogatory cartoon they published had caused’. In a letter sent to the Pakistani embassy, WT editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden said that in his effort to portray Pakistan as a sovereign ally in the endeavour to find and punish those who would harm America and Pakistan alike, the cartoonist had inadvertently caused offence to Pakistani citizens.

This was not his intention and nor was it the intention of the newspaper, he assured the embassy. The cartoon, published on May 6, ridiculed Pakistan’s cooperation in the war against terror in a manner that hurt the sentiments of millions of people.

Mr Pruden said the newspaper had published many editorials and cartoons recently depicting the manifold contributions of Pakistan and its people to the mutual effort to eradicate terror and it would, no doubt, continue doing so in the future. He assured the embassy of the high esteem and deep respect in which the newspaper holds Pakistan and the Pakistani people.

“It’s the strong response of the Pakistani people that made the newspaper realize that it had hurt their sentiments,” said Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington.

May 13, 2005

The Washington Times apologizes for publication of cartoon

WASHINGTON, May 13 – The Washington Times Friday formally regretted for publication of a disparaging cartoon on May 6, which caused wide condemnation and strong protests in Pakistan.

Wesley Pruden, the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, in a letter to the Pakistan Embassy, said: “The cartoonist (Bill Garner) inadvertently caused offense to Pakistani citizens.”

“This was not his intention and nor was it the intention of the newspaper,” he categorically stated.

The newspaper, Pruden said, “regrets for the misunderstanding the cartoon has caused in Pakistan.”

Mohammad Sadiq, the Deputy Chief of Mission of Pakistan Embassy, had earlier strongly protested with the newspaper over the objectionable and insulting cartoon, which had led to strong protests in Pakistan.

Subsequently, the embassy had also conveyed the strong feelings and concern expressed in the unanimous resolution adopted by the National Assembly condemning the publication of the cartoon and demanding an immediate apology.

While tendering regrets formally, the newspaper has assured the embassy “of the high esteem and deep respect in which the newspaper holds the Pakistan and Pakistani people.”

Pruden assured the embassy in his letter that “in his effort to portray Pakistan as a sovereign ally in the endeavor to find and punish those who would harm America and Pakistan alike, the cartoonist, inadvertently, caused offense to Pakistani citizens.This was not his intention and nor was it the intention of the newspaper.”

Wesely Pruden further stated that “the newspaper had published many editorials and cartoons noting the manifold contributions of Pakistan and its people to the mutual effort to eradicate terror and they would, no doubt, continue doing so in the future.”

It may be noted that Pakistan Foreign Office had expressed its strong protest over the disparaging cartoon and demanded regret; while the the unanimous resolution tabled by PML Parliamentary Party chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, had not only condemned the publication of the cartoon but had demanded an immediate apology.

May 10, 2005

Dogged by a cartoon
Parliament condemned the cartoon with a unanimous vote

Parliament in Pakistan is urging the government to seek an apology from The Washington Times newspaper over a cartoon that depicts Pakistan as a dog. The cartoon shows a US soldier patting a dog holding Libyan al-Qaeda suspect Abu Faraj al-Libbi who was recently arrested in Pakistan. “Good boy… now go find Bin Laden,” the soldier urges the dog.

Cartoonist Bill Garner says he meant no offence and the misunderstanding was caused by a “cultural gap.” Pakistan is a key US ally in the latter’s war on terror.

‘Strengthening extremism’
“We are disgusted with the insensitivity of the editors of the Washington Times,” Pakistan’s charge de affaires in Washington, Mohammed Sadiq said on May 6, the day the cartoon appeared. “It betrays the mindset of the editorial board,” he said, warning that “such things” could strengthen the hands of the extremists.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Saturday said the US government too had condemned the cartoon and hoped that it would not lead to a wider reaction. But that is exactly what happened when Pakistan’s National Assembly resumed its session on Monday.

The House passed a unanimous resolution condemning the cartoon and urged the Pakistan government to seek an apology from the paper. The resolution was presented by the ruling party president and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain who told the parliament that the “government had taken strong notice of the cartoon.”

His statement was backed by the foreign office which said the Pakistan embassy had lodged a formal protest with the editorial board of the Washington Times. “The contemptuous cartoon is an insult to the sentiments of the people both in Pakistan and the US as it strengthens the hands of extremists,” foreign office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani said.

‘Cultural gap’
Cartoonist Bill Garner told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper that he never intended to offend the Pakistani nation.
“It is a cultural gap, a cultural misunderstanding that caused the uproar. “The symbol to me was that of friendship,” he was reported as saying. “There is a saying in English that a dog is a man’s best friend. There has always been a great friendship with animals, especially dogs, in America”.

Mr Garner said that the cartoon was meant to depict “the spirit of goodwill and friendship that exists between the two countries”. He said the reaction to his cartoon was entirely different from what he had expected.

But in Pakistan, the cartoon controversy combined with the issue of desecration of the Muslim holy book at Gauntanamo Bay to trigger a fiery session in the parliament focussed on Pakistan’s cooperation with the US.
Some legislators called for a complete review of Pakistan’s alliance with the US. Leader of the opposition Maulana Fazlur Rehman said Pakistan had gone to humiliating lengths to cooperate with the US. “We want to be friends with the US, but we want friendship not a master-slave relationship,” he said.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said that Pakistan should deny the US the use of its bases.

“East is east and West is west, and never the twain shall meet,” sighed the Washington Times in an editorial on 10 May in response to the uproar in Pakistan.

May 2005

Ex-CIA official’s allegations ‘outrageous’, says Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Pakistan on Tuesday dismissed as “outrageous” allegations by a former CIA official that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan and was not being chased because of concern for a domestic upheaval. Mission deputy chief Mohammad Sadiq told National Public Radio (NPR) that Gary Schroen’s allegations were “wrong and outrageous.” Schroen had led a United States team to Afghanistan to capture or kill Bin Laden Sadiq said, “You are talking about a person who had told his followers to kill our president, kill our prime minister, kill our cabinet and then you think that we will be afraid of an upheaval in Pakistan!” He called it conjecture to say that Bin Laden might be in Pakistan. app

Pakistan seizes ‘al Qaeda No. 3’

10 other suspected al Qaeda operatives arrested
Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 12:19 AM EDT (0419 GMT)

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) — The alleged No. 3 man in al Qaeda — believed responsible for the terror group’s global operations — has been captured in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

In Washington, President Bush hailed the arrest of Abu Faraj al-Libbi and that of 10 other suspected al Qaeda members as a “critical victory in the war on terror.”

U.S. and Pakistani officials said al-Libbi and three other al Qaeda suspects were arrested Monday after a gunbattle in Mardan, a city in the country’s northwest province.

U.S. intelligence reports have said the same province is where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are believed to be hiding.

Intelligence officials and local police said seven al Qaeda members were arrested in another raid early Wednesday in Bajore, also on the northwestern frontier near the Afghanistan border.

The operation began with a raid on a house by Pakistani army commandos, security agency officers and helicopters, officials said.

Three of the men arrested are Afghan, three are Pakistani, and one’s nationality was not yet known, the officials said.

Al-Libbi — blamed for masterminding two assassination attempts against Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf — is a Libyan and has a $10 million bounty on his head.

“He was the most wanted man in Pakistan, and he’s a big catch,” said Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said. “It’s a good sign and we are going in the right direction.”

Bush said “al-Libbi was a top general for bin Laden. He was a major facilitator and a chief planner for the al Qaeda network. His arrest removes a dangerous enemy who was a direct threat for America.”

Bush praised the Pakistan government for its “strong cooperation in the war on terror.”

“We’ll stay on the offensive until al Qaeda is defeated,” Bush said.

Human intelligence cited

In Washington, U.S. counterterrorism officials said al-Libbi’s capture was due in part to U.S. intelligence.

One official called al-Libbi’s capture “great news” and said human intelligence “played a critical role.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters that al-Libbi — whom she called a “field general” — was a very important figure for al Qaeda.

She he was someone “we’ve watched a lot every single day,” even though he didn’t appear on the U.S. list of the 22 most-wanted terrorists.

“This is a truly significant arrest,” she said, praising Pakistani officials for their work.

Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said the arrest was a “big deal” and a “testament to the good cooperation we are getting from Pakistan.”

“This in many ways is their accomplishment,” Hadley said.

Sources told CNN that al-Libbi will likely undergo a joint interrogation by U.S. and Pakistani officials.

A source who has witnessed Pakistani interrogation methods said extreme psychological pressure was a hallmark of the intense sessions.

Another source who has close links to al Qaeda told CNN the arrest would slow down the group’s operation.

Intelligence officials said al-Libbi was engaged last year in coded communication with al Qaeda operatives in both the United States and Britain.

“This guy was my No. 1 target,” said former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin. “Bin Laden is, of course, more important symbolically, but in terms of practical day-to-day operations … this is the guy you want.”

McLaughlin, a CNN contributor, said that even if al-Libbi knew Monday where bin Laden was, “by now bin Laden will have moved.”

In a phone interview with the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera, Ahmad denied media reports that the raid that captured al-Libbi also netted documents that put authorities closer to capturing bin Laden.

U.S. counterterrorism officials believe al-Libbi took on the role of No. 3 in al Qaeda following the March 2003 capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan. They said al-Libbi was responsible for plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland.

Intelligence officials have said, however, that al-Libbi has not had effective control over the Uzbek and Chechen factions of al Qaeda in Pakistan, as Sheikh Mohammed did, and that the Arab contingent of al Qaeda was not getting along with the other two groups.

U.S. and Pakistani officials said it was too early to say whether al-Libbi will be turned over to the CIA as Sheikh Mohammed was, or if he will be kept in Pakistan to be tried for the assassination attempts, one of which left 17 people dead.

Al-Libbi’s arrest was kept quiet for days because of “useful information obtained from him” in an ongoing counterterrorist operation, said Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

A close lieutenant of al-Libbi — who was among six suspects identified as Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists in a poster campaign last year — was picked up in December, officials said.

CNN’s Syed Mohsin Naqvi, David Ensor and Nic Robertson contributed to this report.

Pakistan confronting terrorism in its own interest and security DCM Sadiq’s interviews with Television networks on Al-Libbi’s arrest

WASHINGTON, May 5 (APP)- the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Pakistan, Wednesday said terrorism was threatening our society, “and, we are confronting it not for the United States, but in our own interest and for ensuring our own security.”

In a CNN interview, Mr. Mohammad Sadiq said terrorism has threatened Pakistan, and it was “important for us to purge our society of this menace.”

In response to question, he said, both Pakistan and the United States have “a close cooperation” in the fight against terrorism.

Asked why arrest of al-Libbi was kept secret, the acting Ambassador said “the announcement of his arrest was delayed because an operation based on his interrogation was going on.”

“And, I believe, that there was some useful information obtained from him which helped security agencies make more arrests.”

Questioned as to the nationality of Abu Farraj al-Libbi, and whether he would be handed over to the U.S. Mr. Sadiq said that he was a Libyan national. He was found in Pakistan in Mardan. He said, al-Libbi was one of the most wanted terrorists. “It is too early to talk about his handing over to another country. We’ll see what happens down the line.”

The acting ambassador gave several interviews to mainstream print media and televisions news channels, including BBC, ABC, NBC.

Asked about the number of detained operatives, he said some 600 al-Qaida and Taliban elements have so far been apprehended.

He told BBC that al-Libbi was “wanted in several cases of terrorism” including two attempts on the life of President General Pervez Musharraf and an attempt on life of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz”

“He was a high-value target” he stated.

His interrogation, DCM Sadiq said was expected to yield valuable information, and more arrests are likely to follow.

“It was a high value target. We had been working on it for the last two and half years.”

He said al-Libbi’s arrest was not immediately made public because during these few days work on some leads was underway, which resulted in “ some arrests”.

Responding to a question by CNN, Mr. Sadiq said it was an intelligence operation and that there was intelligence-sharing between Pakistan and friendly security agencies. “But, the raid was conducted by Pakistanis” he added.

In the war on terrorism, he said, there was close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States, and the results attained were “remarkable.”

To a question, he said Abu Farraj al-Libbi was arrested from Mardan, which is neither tribal area and nor a rugged region. It is a mid-sized city which has a military cantonment.

Asked could it lead to information that would result in the arrest of Osama bin Laden, he said that. “He is a high value target, but we do not know what he knows as yet.” Bin Laden, he added was “an elusive target,” as proved in the past.

May 2005

New Details Emerge on Pakistani Networks
Paul Kerr

New details are emerging about Pakistan’s role as both a customer and supplier of materials and equipment with potential nuclear weapons applications as international investigations pry deeper into the country’s clandestine procurement networks.

Islamabad admitted in early 2004 that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the “father” of its nuclear weapons program, had been running a clandestine proliferation network that supplied countries such as Iran, Libya, and North Korea with uranium-enrichment technology. Khan developed the network through contacts he had cultivated while obtaining materials and equipment for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

Uranium enrichment increases the concentration of the uranium-235 isotope, producing either low-enriched uranium for civilian nuclear reactor fuel or highly enriched uranium (HEU). If enriched to high enough levels, HEU can be used as fissile material in nuclear weapons.

Khan’s network supplied Iran and Libya with technology and equipment for gas centrifuges, which enrich uranium hexafluoride gas by spinning it at very high speeds. In the Libyan case, Tripoli has acknowledged that the network also supplied Libya with uranium hexafluoride and designs for a nuclear weapon.

The United States has repeatedly stated that there is no evidence that Pakistan’s government was involved with or supported the Khan network. Washington has repeatedly expressed satisfaction with Islamabad’s cooperation, despite Pakistan’s refusal to allow any outside officials to question Khan.

Pakistan as Supplier
Iran

Pakistan has recently stepped up its cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation into the sources of some enriched uranium particles found in Iranian facilities. Iran has admitted to enriching uranium to very low proportions of uranium-235, but IAEA inspectors have found particles enriched to much higher levels. (See ACT, April 2005.)

As part of the investigation, IAEA inspectors have already taken environmental samples at several locations in Pakistan to determine where the uranium might have been enriched. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri told reporters April 1 that Islamabad has now agreed “in principle” to send centrifuges to the IAEA for additional sampling, but will not allow agency inspectors to interview Khan or inspect Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reported last November that the IAEA’s evidence so far “tends, on balance, to support” Iran’s claim that the particles came from imported centrifuge components, but indicated that there could be other explanations for the uranium’s presence.
North Korea

The United States has recently publicly disclosed an intelligence assessment that North Korea supplied Libya with uranium hexafluoride via the Khan network.

Speaking to an audience in Seoul March 6, then-U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill indicated that Washington has “evidence” that the material originated in North Korea and “was brokered through Pakistan with the knowledge that it would end up in Libya.”

A March 22 Department of State press statement emphasized that Washington “has no evidence that the Government of Pakistan authorized the transfer.” Several months ago, National Security Council officials briefed Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean officials about the intelligence.

Press reports of the shipment, which perhaps added a new piece to the Khan network puzzle, first appeared almost a year ago. Tripoli had disclosed that it had the nuclear material following its December 2003 decision to give up its nuclear weapons efforts, which included a uranium-enrichment program. (See ACT, March 2004.) The IAEA has since reported that Libya ordered 20 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride from the Khan network, but it has not yet disclosed the material’s country of origin. Malaysia’s inspector general of police reported in 2004 that uranium hexafluoride had been shipped from Pakistan to Libya.

North Korea has indigenous supplies of natural uranium, but whether it can produce uranium hexafluoride is unclear. In February interviews with Arms Control Today, government sources expressed skepticism that Pyongyang was Tripoli’s uranium supplier. (See ACT, March 2005.)

Pakistan as Customer
The recent indictment of a Pakistani businessman for violating U.S. export control laws came shortly after a March 15 Reuters report that Pakistan is continuing to acquire material and equipment from overseas for its nuclear weapons program.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, announced April 8 that a federal grand jury in Washington had indicted Humayun Khan for violating U.S. export control laws by acquiring material with potential nuclear weapons applications.

ICE also revealed the same day that Asher Karni, an Israeli citizen living in South Africa, had pled guilty this past September to assisting Khan’s acquisition efforts.

According to court documents, Karni had oscilloscopes and triggered spark gaps shipped from U.S. firms to his company in South Africa, called Top-Cape Technology, at Khan’s direction. Karni obtained three oscilloscopes between March and August 2003. He then re-exported them to two companies in Pakistan.

Karni also obtained 66 spark gaps from a U.S. manufacturer and then sent them to Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates. However, U.S. officials who had been alerted to Karni’s efforts persuaded the manufacturer to disable the spark gaps.

Oscilloscopes can be used to obtain data from tests of nuclear weapons and related components. Spark gaps can serve as detonators for certain types of nuclear weapons.

Karni was arrested in January 2004 as he attempted to enter the United States. Khan remains in Pakistan.

An ICE official told Arms Control Today April 21 that the investigation is ongoing, adding that additional domestic and foreign entities could have been involved in the scheme.

Mohammed Sadiq, Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in the United States, told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn April 10 that Khan “was not involved in procuring triggers or other equipment for Pakistan’s nuclear programme.”

ICE also announced that Karni pled guilty to exporting items to India that are “controlled for nuclear non-proliferation reasons.” It did not elaborate.

Pakistan Has Many Positives – Prof. Esposito
By Aisha Chapra

April 25, 2005

Washington, DC: On August 14, 2004, the Government of Pakistan announced the conferment of Hilal-i-Quaid-i-Azam on Professor John L. Esposito in recognition of his valuable contribution in the field of Islamic literature and his remarkable role in promoting understanding between the West and the Islamic World. To confer Hilal-i-Quaid-i-Azam on Professor Esposito, the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington arranged an award ceremony on April 25.

DCM Mohammad Sadiq initiated the award ceremony stating that “Professor Esposito is one of the greatest scholars on Islam and the Muslim world today.” Welcoming the guests, he spoke of the Embassy building as quintessentially Pakistani in character. It seems traditional from outside, but is modern and practical from the inside. The DCM then invited the Ambassador to read out the citation and present Hillal-i-Quaid-i-Azam to Professor Esposito.

Ambassador Jehangir Karamat introduced John Esposito, Professor of Religion, International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. Esposito is Founding Director of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service. Professor Esposito had served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies. He also held the Vice Chair of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy.

Professor Esposito has devoted his entire scholarly career to the study of Islam, focusing on its religious as well as cultural and political dimensions. His works cover a vast area, from history of Islamic civilization to the impact of the more recent Islamic movements across the world. He has written over 30 books, ranging from Oxford History of Islam to the four volumes of Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. His books and articles have been translated into Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese and several European languages.

Professor Esposito’s contribution to promoting harmony and understanding between the West and the Islamic World is unparalleled. He presents objective and balanced analysis of contemporary issues of vital significance such as Islam and democracy, the status of women in Muslim societies and the disdainful tendency of linking Islam with terrorism.

While accepting the award, Professor John L. Esposito was moved to tears. He described how his studies in Islam and his connection with Pakistan were both unplanned. He first trained in Catholicism, then studied Hinduism and Buddhism, when a professor of his suggested that he complete the world religions by taking a course in Islam. After that, Professor Esposito worked mainly on Islam and the Middle East and also lived in Saudi Arabia. In 1973 Professor Esposito went to Pakistan which “also came about by quite an accident”. In Pakistan he studied and learned about Islam in South Asia.

Professor Esposito then moved on to discuss how people must appreciate where America stands today when it comes to Islam. In the 1960’s Islam was invisible in the US, but now one can find mosques in all parts of the country. Also, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, in the US and in Europe.

However, Islam has been portrayed in the American media by negative images and perceptions. America’s first introduction to Islam was in 1979 through the Iranian revolution and the headlines “America held hostage” by Muslim extremists in Tehran. This brought Professor Esposito to the observation that since 1979, Islam has consistently been seen in the US through headline events. During the 1980’s the mention of a “green” menace came about with countries like Iran and Libya on US’s radar. During the 1990’s, the Gulf War and the post-Gulf War period brought in the concept of “Clash of Civilizations”. Since 9/11 the media headlines focus on a clash between democratic and undemocratic, between civilized and uncivilized.

Even though President Bush distinguishes between extremist Islam and Muslims, there are some post-9/11 realities. Initially, the government was just after Osama Bin Laden. Then, the “wrongdoers” were expanded to the Axis of Evil — then to terrorists in Iraq and Palestine.

The challenge that democracy faces in the world today is to show that it is not being created in strategic self-interest of a greater power but truly in the pursuit of democratization. Another challenge for democracy in the Middle East and Afghanistan is that it cannot be configured to what America considers as ‘right’. Essentially, this means that these countries must achieve true self-determination.

Today, the challenges for the Bush administration are to match their rhetoric and policy with their actions. Professor Esposito stressed that though the military can contain terrorists, terrorism can only be effectively eradicated through public diplomacy and foreign policy. He continued that the US policy of democratization should also apply to allies that are not democratic.

In addition, there needs to be an evaluation of US aid to developing countries for improving economies and education. He questioned, “What is educational reform?” and how is it actually being carried out. “What about supporting Muslim governments and building civil society through democratic institutions?” He pointed out that democracy is not achievable just by a simple change of government — from authoritarian to elected — it takes time for democracy to be entrenched in the minds of the people living in previously undemocratic conditions.

Professor Esposito then discussed the Islamic world and the challenges it faces today. Firstly, the Islamic world needs to show that it is democratic, pluralistic, tolerant and accepting. Most importantly, the Islamic world needs to work with the ‘Ummah’ — the worldwide Muslim community and its identity. Because, the real threats today are to the Muslim world and Islam. Lastly, he said that the Islamic world needs to focus on reform, adding that it must concentrate on its theology, its education and its legal structure to adapt Islam to the threats it faces today.

Professor Esposito also spoke about Pakistan. There have been successes and pitfalls in governance. Islam has been used as a political tool, democracies have struggled to gain legitimacy and leaders have been corrupt. There is sectarianism between Shittes and Sunnies, with its intolerance and violence. Yet the positives are many too — the voices from people who have lived in Pakistan and their ideas have been translated in education. Not just to focus in on Iqbal, but the other Pakistani scholars who have written great things about Islam and modernity.

Professor Esposito concluded with a statement about the danger of an “unholy alliance in the US — the neo-conservatives with the militant Christian right.” America will not be the America we all love and know if these people get into power and he urged the community here to stand up against such a change.

In the Q & A session Professor Esposito was asked his opinion on the new pope and the effect he will have on Muslim and Christian understanding. Professor Esposito replied that he hopes the Pope will genuinely be a great leader and take on the new circumstances that face him.

Another question was about the media representation of Muslims in America and what can be done to improve it. Professor Esposito remarked that the US media is largely at fault for a lot of misperceptions and also that he has never seen such a tame media in American history. The media has stopped challenging the president and government institutions like it used to in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He said, “I was watching BBC the other day and a journalist kept on arguing with Prime Minister Tony Blair, that reminded me of the Dan Rather of the 1970’s, but we don’t see that in our media anymore”. There were several other questions on Islam and the US.

The ceremony was followed by a dinner that was served in the Jamshed Marker Hall. The distinguished guests of the evening included: former US Ambassadors to Pakistan Nancy Powell and Robert Oakley; Ambassador Dennis Kux; Professor Walter Anderson of Johns Hopkins; Professor John Voll, Chair of Christian-Muslim Understanding Center at Georgetown University; and renowned academics Professor Osman Bakar, Professor Robert Haddad, Professor Shireen Hunter, and Professor Seyyed Hossein Nazr; officials; community representatives and many others who admire Professor John L. Esposito and his work.

Rising Leaders “Strategic Vision Conference”
Planning for the Future



April 23, 2005
By Aisha Chapra

A large group of new and returning members attended Rising Leaders’ Strategic Vision Conference held at the Embassy of Pakistan on April 23. The agenda for the Conference was focused on engaging participants into discussion about the future of Rising Leaders.

DCM Mohammad Sadiq opened the conference with remarks about the potential of Rising Leaders. He discussed the need for the Pakistani-American community to make itself visible in the mainstream American society. He said that the way to accomplish this is to give back to society. Professions that in popular perception contribute to society, are politics, media, and the arts in general. Young Pakistani-Americans have the opportunity to carry forward the momentum provided by their parents, most of them immigrated to the U.S. with little to their name.

He said one of the ways we can give back is to include the segments of the Pakistani-American community whose potential to give back is not realized. In the Pakistani-American community the percentage of homemakers is the largest in comparison to any other minority community in the United States. One simple way that homemakers can give back to the larger society, while increasing the influence of the Pakistani community, is by joining school boards. Mr. Sadiq estimated that if Pakistani-Americans did this, over 70,000 school boards in the U.S. would have Pakistani representation. Rising Leaders can take the initiative of incorporating this segment of the Pakistani-American community by giving women important roles in organizing Rising Leaders events in their local communities.

Rising Leaders needs to be creative when looking at its future—it needs to give back to its community to get recognition and to gain influence. Another way that Rising Leaders can give back is through volunteering their time, especially on Christmas and New Year. Many other non-Christian communities volunteer their time on these holidays, which generates goodwill and recognition. Rising Leaders can help build a strong Pakistani-American identity through giving back in numerous ways—volunteering on Christmas and New Year is just one of them.

Mr. Sadiq finished with the statement that there are many dreams that Rising Leaders has and these dreams can be realized with organization, hard work, and making the time for your community and committing to a greater good.

The conference was designed to divide the participants into three workshops. The group moderators were Program Director of Rising Leaders Aisha Chapra, Director of Rising Leaders and Chair of National PSA Hyder Syed, and Director of Rising Leaders Yaseen Nazir. Each group conducted three workshops each during the day. After each small group workshop everyone met in the larger group, called the “Committee of Whole”, to discuss the findings and record actions of the workshops.

The first set of workshop discussions focused on Rising Leaders mission statement and objectives. Each group analyzed the current mission statement and suggested changes in it according to guidelines such as: Rising Leaders will be a non-profit organization; Rising Leaders has filed for tax-exempt status and its activities must be charitable and educational; Rising Leaders is raising money for an Endowment that will support its activities in the future; and Rising Leaders is dedicated to helping people pursue the fields of Politics, Internationals Relations, Journalism and Media, and Humanities in general.

The Committee of Whole met after the first workshop and each group had a representative present their groups’ thoughts on how to improve upon the Mission Statement. There was a discussion on the age limits for Rising Leaders members. Majority consensus was that Rising Leaders can bring in members that are young and motivated and will not discriminate against anyone because of age.

The second set of workshops focused on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT Analysis) for Rising Leaders. In the Committee of Whole, each group presented two recommendations they thought were crucial for Rising Leaders. One of the recommendations was to create a chapter that will be the model for other chapters by having its own Board of Directors and goals.

The third set workshops was focused on future objectives for Rising Leaders and the exercises in the workshop attempted to make members think creatively about Rising Leaders. First, each group was asked to pick a metaphor they thought most aptly described Rising Leaders. Next, they were asked to imagine three to five years from now and what the headline would be if Rising Leaders is being featured on a major magazine cover? After these quick exercises the workshop focused in on the vision of Rising Leaders. People discussed developing a magazine, a newsletter, a mentorship program and many other ideas were brought to the table.

In the committee of whole, each group shared a metaphor and headline they felt applied to Rising Leaders. To close the day of workshops, Akir Khan, spoke about the importance of Rising Leaders and Pakistani-Americans to get involved in the American society through politics. He said that Rising Leaders is a new organization and that this conference is its first step in creating a strategic plan to achieve its future goals, “and we must take baby-steps” to accomplish this. He finished with thanking Mr. Sadiq and the organizers for hosting this event.

This was followed with Rahilla Zafar introducing our distinguished speakers’ panel. Mr. Mossadaq Chughtai, CEO of Zima Inc., spoke of the importance of certain fields to ensure the success of the Pakistani-American community: politics, journalism, and law. These fields will help the community become stronger and entrench Pakistanis into American mainstream.

Mr. Shaukat Sindhu, CEO of Pakwatan.Com, spoke of the importance of finance and reliability. A person has to be credible and reliable to succeed in life. “You should always keep your commitments—your word should be a guarantee and back that up by building a strong credit.”

Mr. Hanif Akhtar spoke of the importance of language in the Pakistani culture and reading literature from around the world. He mentioned Iqbal, Gandhi, Faiz, and many other great men in history. He compared how each immigrant community has been where the Pakistani-American community is today. And that each have struggled through to become important in the mainstream American society.

Lastly, Mr. Faiz Rehman gave the participants tips on how to be involved with the media in the U.S. He emphasized that one needs knowledge of the media and there has to be a sense of timing to get coverage.
After dinner, participants were invited to attend a debriefing session with the DCM and Rising Leaders Directors. The conference was a huge success and everyone enjoyed the discussion format of the day.

UPDATED THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2005 11:52 AM ET

U.S. Says Banned Nuclear Technology Went to Pakistan and India

By DAVID S. CLOUD

WASHINGTON, April 8 – Federal prosecutors investigating the smuggling of nuclear technology disclosed Friday thataSouth African businessman had pleaded guilty to arranging illegal exports of American-made equipment both to Pakistan and its regional rival, India.

Asher Karni, an Israeli who lives in South Africa, entered the guilty plea last September and has been cooperating with investigators, prosecutors said. The prosecutors, however, kept the proceeding secret until Friday, when they unsealed the plea agreement and charges brought against Humayun Khan, an Islamabad businessman with longstanding ties to Pakistan’s military. Mr. Khan is said to be Mr. Karni’s partner.

As part of Mr. Karni’s plea agreement, he acknowledged that he also was involved in 2002 in selling sophisticated electronic equipment to government agencies in India, some of which are involved in nuclear weapons and missile research. It is not clear whether the goods he sold were useful for making nuclear weapons.

The indictment of Mr. Khan states that he employed Mr. Karni in 2002 and 2003 to buy 200 high-speed electrical switches that can be used in a nuclear device, as well as oscilloscopes, and to export them to Pakistan without the required United States export licenses. The switches, known as triggered spark gaps, are used in medical equipment but also have military applications, including as detonators for nuclear weapons, the prosecutors said. Mr. Khan is believed to be in Pakistan and a Pakistani Embassy official said he was unaware of an American request to have him detained. Efforts to reach Mr. Khan were unsuccessful.

A senior Commerce Department official said Friday that, with Mr. Karni’s help, the investigation had turned up indications that Mr. Khan was involved in sales of nuclear-related technology to countries other than Pakistan using a network of suppliers and middlemen similar to that used by A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist who confessed in 2004 to providing nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea for more than a decade. The two Mr. Khans are not believed to be related, officials said.

“Humayun Khan is a black marketeer involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and once this is all spelled out we’re going to see the same scale of network that A.Q. Khan was involved in,” said the Commerce Department official.

Mohammad Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, denied that Humayun Khan was involved in procuring triggers or other equipment for its nuclear program.

Mr. Karni, the Israeli businessman who worked with Mr. Khan, was arrested in Denver in 2004 after traveling to the United States with his family for a vacation. Mr. Karni ran a company called Top-Cape Technology from Cape Town, South Africa.

Mr. Karni’s relationship with Mr. Khan began in 2002 when the Pakistani asked him to buy an oscilloscope manufactured by Tektronix Incorporated of Beaverton, Ore., according to the documents released Friday. Such devices display graphs of electric signals and have numerous applications, including in weapons research. He warned Mr. Karni to “approach these cases carefully as all items are controlled,” according to an e-mail message quoted in Mr. Khan’s indictment, which says that Mr. Karni eventually shipped three oscilloscopes to Pakistani companies that were clients of Mr. Khan’s.

In 2003, Mr. Khan sent an e-mail message seeking triggered spark gaps and advising Mr. Khan not to “disclose the end destination.” In July of that year, an unnamed informant tipped off Commerce Department and customs agents about Mr. Karni’s activities.

11 April 2005 Monday

01 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1426 

Under-trial businessman had no role in N-project: Pakistan denies reports

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 10: Pakistan has rejected media reports as ‘malicious’ and ‘unfounded’ that Islamabad had tried to illegally buy nuclear devices from US companies.

On Friday, the US government formally charged a Pakistani businessman Humayun A. Khan with illegally exporting devices from the US that could also be used in developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Khan has denied exporting any equipment for Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the indictment, unsealed before a federal jury in Washington on Friday, acknowledges that the devices can also be used for treating kidney stones.

“The government of Pakistan was not involved at any stage, in any capacity and in any way, directly or indirectly,” Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, Mohammed Sadiq, told Dawn.”Humayun Khan was not involved in procuring triggers or other equipment for Pakistan’s nuclear programme.”

There was no need for Pakistan to get involved in such activities and even if it wanted to do so, it would not engage an Israeli businessman, said Mr Sadiq, while referring to Asher Karni, an Israeli national who lives in South Africa.

The prosecution has based its case on Mr Karni’s confession who told US interrogators that Humayun Khan had hired him to buy 200 high-speed electrical switches and oscilloscopes and export them to Pakistan without the required US licences.

Mr Karni also confessed to selling sophisticated electronic equipment to government agencies in India in 2002, saying that these equipment were employed in nuclear weapons and missile research. He said he sold similar equipment to other countries as well.

Referring to his statement, Mr Sadiq pointed out that while in Pakistan’s case Mr Karni only spoke of buying devices for a private businessman, in India he confessed to dealing with government agencies. “And yet no Indian individual or agency has been indicted or identified so far,” said the Pakistani diplomat. “Other countries that Mr Karni acknowledges dealing with are not even identified.”

Mr Sadiq said the case is being exploited by “the dirty tricks department of certain lobbies who look for excuses to malign Pakistan.” US government agencies, he said, knew about Mr Karni’s activities from the beginning and had even disabled the switches he was trying to buy.

Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission said as in previous media attacks on Pakistan, several basic points in this case were also being ignored. “If you look at the indictment, you see that it’s US companies that are selling certain devices to an Israeli citizen. Pakistan is not involved either in buying or selling of these equipment.”

Mr Sadiq said whenever there was a positive development in Pakistan-US relations, “certain vested interests and lobbies become active and spread such stories.”

Move to block F-16s to Pakistan won’t succeed, Pak diplomat

Iftikhar Ali

April 06, 2005

NEW YORK: — A senior Pakistani diplomat said Tuesday that any move by a pro-India U.S. lawmaker seeking to prohibit the sale of F-16 jets and all military assistance to Pakistan would not succeed.

“We don’t feel threatened by it,” Deputy Chief of Pakistan Mission Mohammad Sadiq said, referring to Congressman Gary Ackerman’s stated intention to introduce a legislation in the U.S. Congress linking the arm sales with allowing the U.S. government to interview A.Q. Khan.

“We have the necessary votes … we’re in a comfortable position,” Mr. Sadiq told The Nation in a telephone interview from Washington. “His (Ackerman’s) legislation would make no difference, whatsoever.”

Ackerman said he would submit his legislation next week when Congress reconvenes after it’s Easter recess. At the same time, he said that this could be shelved if Pakistan provides the US government with access to Mr. Khan.

Announcing his legislation Monday, Ackerman, Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, said, “It is incomprehensible that we would provide sophisticated military equipment to Pakistan when President Pervez Musharraf refuses to let us interview Khan.”

On March 23, Ackerman urged President George W Bush to oppose the sale of F-16s to Pakistan in a letter written co-signed by other members of the caucus. But the President responded by moving forward with the sale.

“After all, Khan is only the world’s biggest individual proliferator of nuclear technology to two countries of Bush’s evil axis and he tried to sell to the third… If they couldn’t control their own nuke programme, how would you expect them to safeguard our stuff?” Ackerman asked.

Asked for his comments, Mr. Sadiq said, “We’re aware of his views, and this is what we expect from him. We know the lobbies that support him.”

A congressional aide went on to say that Ackerman was “more Indian than the Indians.”

The Johns Hopkins

News-Letter

http://www.jhunewsletter.com

The Foreign Affairs Symposium debate Kashmir Issues: The Region’s Sovereignty and Human Rights.

By Leah Bourne
March 31, 2005

The Foreign Affairs Symposium at Johns Hopkins University hosted a discussion on the Kashmir conflict. It featured a debate amongst experts on the region. The speakers talked about the impact of the dispute in Kashmir on international politics, the role of the United States in resolving the issue and the human rights violations in Kashmir.

The panel included Mohammad Sadiq, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Pakistan; Ghulam Nabi Fai, the President of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), and Bob Guida, the Chairman of Americans for Resolution of Kashmir (ARK).

Kashmir is positioned between India and Pakistan and its territory has been under dispute since 1947. Most of Kashmir is currently held by India, despite protracted conflict in the area.

DCM Sadiq spoke about Pakistan’s stance on the conflict and what Pakistan is doing to help resolve the dispute.

“It is crucial to inform the public on Kashmir. Unless it is resolved there will be no prosperity in South Asia,” Sadiq said.

He mentioned that, “the United States scientific, military and economic power is unparalleled”. However, because the U.S. public and the legislators are not well informed about the issue of Kashmir the current approach of the U.S lacks strength and direction. Also, international players have hardly any focus on Kashmir despite the importance of resolution of this dispute to world peace.

DCM Sadiq added that Pakistan’s position on the conflict is “that Kashmir is should decide their own fate”. Also that human rights violations in the region cannot be ignored because “every single day people are dying, women are raped, and properties are destroyed by the Indian occupying forces. Kashmir cannot be put on the backburner – the longer the delay in resolution of this issue the heavier the casualties.”

He also emphasized the importance of the participation of Kashmiri people in the dialogue about their future.

DCM Sadiq, in his final comments, said that though the recent thaw in relations is welcome but “India and Pakistan need a process with timelines to discuss Kashmir. The international community should ensure a meaningful dialogue.”

The discussion continued with Fai, who spoke first about his hope for peace in the region and then his concerns about the leadership of India and Pakistan and their efforts to resolve the dispute.

Fai criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his inconsistency on the issue of Kashmir. [Singh] says he wants to find a peaceful settlement, and then later rules out the possibility of talking about Kashmir. These are confusing statements coming from a person of importance,” Fai said.

Fai suggested that to encourage and establish dialogue it should occur at multiple levels: an inter-Kashmiri dialogue and a dialogue between the Kashmiri leadership and the Indian government.

Bob Guida, addressed the extensive human rights violations in Kashmir as a particularly unsettling part of the conflict. He showed a handmade doll given to him by three young Kashmiris. He said, “I have made two trips to the region. I received this doll from three teenagers who were victims of gang rape by the Indian military.”

Guida added that “currently there are 700,000 troops – over half of the Indian standing army – occupying Kashmir. There is one armed soldier for every eleven people. They are watching what people say, and seeing where their loyalties stand.”

He also commented that there are five times more occupying forces in Kashmir than there are armed forces in Iraq. Guida argued that such an occupying force is harmful for the civilians in the region.

“Homes and businesses are burned, men are tortured and killed and most likely tonight an Indian soldier or squad will break into a woman’s house and do the unthinkable,” Guida said. “I went to a refugee camp and saw young men missing limbs, and met a 55 year old man whose mother, wife and daughter had been raped and killed in his house.”

Guida summed up his talk with the statement that “Kashmir is a humanitarian disaster.”

The Johns Hopkins

News-Letter

http://www.jhunewsletter.com

FAS releases ’05 speakers lineup

By Julianna Finelli
February 18, 2005 

The Foreign Affairs Symposium announced its 2005 speaker lineup this week, with a program focused on conflict resolution and the role of the United States in regional disputes around the world.

Among the list of speakers are Tiananmen Square student leader Dan Wang, General William Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations, and various representatives from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The FAS directors chose a panel format for this year’s symposium, deviating from the tradition of hosting individual speakers. Their intention was to shorten speeches and leave more time for audience questions.

“Our mission is to promote open dialogue for anyone who wants to participate,” said FAS co-chair Neil Shah.

Entitled “Enduring Responsibility: America and the Politics of Conflict Resolution,” this year’s symposium will focus on U.S. involvement in major international conflicts.

“We decided to have panels to present the different sides of regional conflicts, and also to examine the United States’ role in either exacerbating or alleviating them,” said co-chair Yonina Alexander.

“In addition to focusing on those conflicts people are talking about, we will also focus on areas people have stopped talking about, such as the Balkans and, until recently, most of Africa,” Shah said. “So much is going on in the world, which is why we have such a diverse range of events.”

Alexander said she felt one of the symposium’s highlights will be Dan Wang, a student leader during the 1989 Tianenman Square uprising. Wang served as vice-commander for the protest, and was arrested and sentenced to four years imprisonment for his involvement.

“He’s fourth on the most-wanted list from China,” Alexander said. “He’ll examine Chinese human rights, in which he’s very involved both there and in the U.S.”

Retired U.S. General William Nash, who served as a military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina and as administrator for the United Nations in Kosovo, will speak on “The Balkans: Keeping the Peace,” along with Serbian Ambassador to the U.S. Ivan Vujacic.

French Ambassador to the U.S. Jean-David Levitte and British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir David Manning, will speak on “Bridging the Atlantic Divide.”

“After having been in Europe for a bit and seeing for myself how Europeans react to the U.S., it should be exciting to have several representatives here,” Shah said.

Africa Director at Human Rights Watch Peter Takirambudde will speak on “Defining Genocide in Africa,” and “Kashmir: Paradise Lost?” will feature three different speakers, including Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Pakistan.

“A lot went into planning the chemistry among the panel members, because many of them have differing viewpoints,” Shah said. “The dialogue should be better as a result.”

Last year, the original FAS lineup included several prominent speakers, including CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, and then-presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, all of whom cancelled.

“It’s always hard when you’re dealing with important people,” Alexander said. “Part of the reason we restructured our staff was to focus efforts more directly and to establish relationships with potential guests.”

According to Alexander, this year’s chairs “pre-chose regions that we wanted discussed, and broke up [the staff] into committees based on these choices.”

Although the symposium staff conceded that this year’s speakers are less well-known than some in years past, they are pleased that the lineup is “bringing the real intellectuals behind each conflict to Hopkins,” according to co-chair Preeti Balakrishnan.

“These are the guys who are on the ground, doing work in the field,” Alexander added.

The symposium will kick off on Wednesday, Feb. 23 with “Recognizing Cuba?” which will feature Adolfo A. Franco, assistant administrator for the Latin America Region at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The event will take place at 8 p.m. in Mudd Hall.

The symposium, which features a new event each week, will run until April 19, when Deputy Editor at the New York Times Julia Preston wraps up the series with “Mexico: Forgotten Neighbor, Forgotten Democracy.”

US to provide Pak with 691 mln dollar grant

[World News]: Washington, Feb 12 : The Bush Administration will provide Pakistan with a grant of 691 million dollars instead of the earlier 640 million dollars with 300 million dollars out of the total fund, earmarked for military programmes.

According to the Dawn, the funds allocation to Pakistan in 2006 includes 300 million dollars each for economic support fund and foreign military financing, 40 million dollars from international narcotics control and law enforcement fund, 29 million dollars for development assistance; 20.5 million dollars for child survival and health and 2.044 million dollars from international military education and training fund.

Pakistan’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, Mohammed Sadiq, said that the allocations for Pakistan under non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, de-mining and related programs were not yet available and these would further enhance the total allocations.

“These allocations will further enhance the total allocations,” the paper quoted him as saying. (ANI)

WASHINGTON: Pakistanis visiting the US are not required to register themselves with the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service, the embassy of Pakistan clarified on Monday.

Reacting to a press report, the deputy chief of mission Mohammad Sadiq said Pakistan is not amongst countries whose nationals are compulsorily required to register by a particular deadline. The report said the last date the registration was Dec 16.

The embassy official said that while the registration requirement applied to 17 countries, “Pakistan is not one of them.” However, he conceded, “Many Pakistani visitors to the United States had been registered by the INS at points of entry.” He advised them to “follow the procedures conveyed to them by INS officials.” —Staff Report

Community Award for DCM Sadiq

Washington, DC: Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, Mr. Mohammad Sadiq, has said Pakistan-US relations have entered a new era of “long-term bilateral relationship,” which is mutually advantageous for the two nations. He said it depends now on Pakistan and the Pakistani-American community “to take maximum benefit” of this emerging cordiality based on mutual trust and reliance.

In his remarks at a function held at Queens in New York, the DCM called upon the community to play its “important active role” in further consolidating the “long term bilateral relationship.”

Mr. Sadiq told some 50 community leaders from New York and New Jersey States that Ambassador Jehangir Karamat will shortly embark on a meet-the-community visit of major cities of the United States. The senior official said a new dimension of multi-faceted Pakistan-US ties was in the domain of trade and commerce.

He called upon the Pakistani-American community to reach out to the mainstream US society, actively participate in the socio-charitable work, and get involved in grassroots’ level political activism. The function was held under the aegis of an umbrella organization ‘Live Together.’ The DCM was given “Award of Excellence for year 2004”, in recognition of his outstanding services for the community.

The host of the event, Imtiaz Rahi, in his remarks referred to the various steps taken by the Pakistan Embassy to promote the cause of the community. “Mr. Sadiq is a capable diplomat and he has done remarkably for the causes of community,” he added. He lauded “the open door policy” of the Pakistan Embassy that promoted the widest possible interaction between the community, its mass e-mailing system, internship program and support and involvement of the upcoming second generation Pakistani-Americans in “healthy and far-sighted pursuits.”

On the occasion, Shahid Zaheer, CEO Prime TV, also presented a plaque to DCM Mohammad Sadiq in recognition of his distinguished services.

Eminent community leaders present on the occasion included representatives of civic and cultural associations, attorneys, accountants and doctors, including Dr. Suhail Muzaffar, Bashir Qamar, Mujeeb Lodhi, Wakil Ansari, Dr. Tahir Chaudhry, Dr. Saqib Khan, Shafiq Siddiqui and Mohsin Zaheer.

Consul General Shaukat Haroon also spoke at the function.

WORLD: INDO-PAK TIES

Pak denies objecting to Indian WB official

CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2005 04:51:08 PM ] 

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has denied reports that it sought replacement of World Bank vice-president Praful Patel from a panel to review its case in the Baglihar issue.

Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, Mohammed Sadiq told APP that reports to this effect, which first appeared in the Pakistani press, were not true.

The Pakistani newspaper The News first reported Islamabad’s objection to Patel on grounds of his Indian origin, although Sadiq sought to blame a subsequent comment on the story in The Times of India , terming it as “malicious and totally fabricated.”

In a February 3 article, The News , the English language newspaper of the Jang Group, reported that “The World Bank has replaced its Indian-born official with an American for reviewing Pakistan’s complaint on Baglihar dam following objections raised by Pakistan government.”

The report was based on remarks made by Shiraz Jameel Memon, Pakistan’s Acting Commissioner for Indus Water, at a discussion on Baglihar dam under the aegis of Hamdard Thinkers Forum.

Menon was reported by the Pakistani paper as saying the “World Bank had appointed Praful Patel, Regional Vice-President, South Asia Region, for reviewing Pakistan’s complaint about Baglihar dam, which is being built by India on the River Chenab in held Kashmir. Pakistan raised objections about the World Bank officer and consequently an American was assigned the task to look into the matter.”

But Sadiq was presumably so busy monitoring Indian papers that he overlooked the initial report in the Pakistani media, causing the misdirected denial.

The TOI column by this correspondent in fact reported, based on clarifications from World Bank officials, that Praful Patel was a Ugandan national and had nothing to do with the Baglihar issue, and that Pakistan’s paranoia was misplaced.

The column addressed the issue of raking up ethnicity and nationality of international officials reported in the News report, particularly since many Indian (and Pakistani) officials at the World Bank had served the region with distinction and without bias.

It would appear that Pakistan’s embarrassment over the News report was compounded by the fact that Patel accompanied World Bank President James Wolfensohn to Islamabad this week.

09 February 2005

29 Zulhaj 1425


Indian media reports termed baseless: Replacement of WB official

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Feb 8: The water dispute between India and Pakistan is getting nasty with Indians now accusing Islamabad of a ‘witch-hunt.’

The latest controversy revolves around Praful Patel, the World Bank’s vice-president for the South Asian region. Reports in the Indian press, particularly those filed by Washington-based journalists, blame Pakistan for making the bank replace Mr Patel from the panel slated to review Islamabad’s complaint on the Baglihar Hydroelectric Project in occupied Kashmir. Pakistanis wanted him out because of his Indian origin, although Mr Patel is a Ugandan national, Times of India reported.

The allegation angered the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, which is liaising with the bank on the dispute. “It is a malicious, fabricated story. At best it is the figment of the correspondent’s imagination,” said deputy chief of mission, Mohammed Sadiq.

Other than this strong reaction on this particular issue, the embassy has so far avoided issuing any statement on the Baglihar dam dispute. When asked for comment, Pakistani diplomats say this is a technical issue and they want to deal with it within the premises provided by the Indus Water Treaty. Signed in 1960, the World Bank brokered treaty prescribes a specific mechanism for dealing with water disputes between India and Pakistan.

The claim that Pakistan had orchestrated Mr. Patel’s removal from the panel which will review Islamabad’s complaint caused some Pakistani diplomats to say that the Indians were politicizing the issue.

Last month, Pakistan formally informed the bank that it has failed to resolve the dispute bilaterally with India and asked it to appoint a neutral expert for this purpose.

The complaint is based on several technical objections that Pakistan says violate the IWT.

Instead of responding to the technical objections, the Indian mission in Washington is apparently leaking information to Indian journalists that politicize the issue.

For instance, one article by a Washington-based journalist says that the presence of highly-qualified Indians in positions of power in the World Bank and other similar institutions is upsetting Pakistan.

The article then goes on to claim that approximately 1.65 million Indians live in the United States, compared to 155,000 Pakistanis and that is why, it suggests, Pakistan is frustrated with the World Bank and perhaps also with the construction of the Baglihar dam, although the writers fail to establish a link between the two.

Commenting on the article, a spokesman for the Pakistan Embassy only said: “There are 500,000 Pakistanis in the US, not 155,000.”

Another article suggests that instead of complaining about the Baglihar dam, Pakistan should build a dam at Kohala so that people in Azad Kashmir could also get some water rather than using the rivers for Punjab only. The writer does not say how water from Kohala, which is downstream, will be pumped to AJK lands that are upstream.

Pakistani Americans observe Kashmir Solidarity Day

World News]: Washington, Feb 2 : The Pakistani lobby in Washington is keeping the heat on over the contentious issue of Kashmir even as India and Pakistan continue to work on confidence building measures in South Asia.

The Pakistani American Liaison Committee has organised what it calls Kashmir Solidarity Day Saturday on Capitol Hill and invited the former self-appointed president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan to be keynote speaker.

The programme is open to public and will be held at 2 p.m. at the offices of the Pakistani American Liaison Centre (PALC) located near the US Congress.

Three people from Pakistan held part of Kashmir who visited the Indian side last year will give a talk and PALC executive director Faiz Rehman will be introducing them.

The PALC is a recently formed organisation that was behind forming Pakistan Caucus in the US Congress last September. It was recently hosted at a luncheon by the incoming Pakistani Ambassador to Washington, retired General Jehangir Karamat, a recognition of its key role on the Hill.

The luncheon was also attended by the directors of Rising Leaders, a Pakistani American youth organisation that held a two-day conference at the embassy of Pakistan. Deputy Chief of Mission Mohammad Sadiq was also present on the occasion.

The Congressional Caucus was formally inaugurated by President Pervez Musharraf at a Capitol Hill ceremony Sep 22 and currently has 55 members. The Democratic co-chair of the Caucus is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

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