Pasha at Langley

In a meeting with CIA Chief Leon Panetta at Langley in Washington, the head of the ISI General Ahmed Shuja Pasha conveyed Pakistan’s reservations about the activities of CIA contractors and its drone attacks, but to no avail. While, General Pasha made it clear that the drones were creating a backlash against Islamabad and needed to be abandoned, he also demanded that the agency shared details of all its operations on Pakistan’s soil and provide a list of covert operatives.This demand did not have any effect which is obvious from the drone strike in South Waziristan on Wednesday, killing six persons. It is worth mentioning that General Pasha cut his three-day stay to a mere four hours’ at Langley and flew back to Pakistan. This is an indication of the fact that all did not go well in the meeting. Later, the CIA issued a statement that the relationship between the agencies was on a solid footing, apparently as a face saving gesture.

It gave the assurance that it was trying to limit the damage done to the mutual relationship by the Raymond Davis episode. But all this turned out to be a farce because US defence officials in an interview with Washington Post on Wednesday claimed that the CIA has no intention of suspending the drone attacks. Even then the ISI Chief’s straight talk in the US is a source of some relief especially at a time when there is a great deal of anger and resentment among Pakistani public against CIA’s cloak-and-dagger operations on our soil, particularly its routine massacre of innocent tribesmen in broad daylight. It is also pleasing to note that some national leaders have announced launching a long march against the drone attacks and for stopping the movement of NATO containers, as a mark of protest. But this wave of anti-Americanism is very much susceptible to turn into an anti-government movement since there is a perception that the drone attacks are being carried on with Islamabad’s consent. It therefore becomes all the more necessary to force the US to stop these attacks immediately and prevent the looming storm of public protest from creating unrest in the country. – Nation