Is Pakistan a playground for US spies?

A. R. Jerral The secrets becoming public, in the aftermath of Raymond Davis killing of two Pakistani civilians, are taking a serious dimension in the Pak-US relations. Both countries claim to be 'friends and allies in the so-called war on terror. The focus of this war is on Afghanistan and in the tribal areas of FATA on the Pak-Afghan border. Both parties insist that the so-called terrorists and extremists are concentrated in these borderlands, and the US war in Afghanistan cannot culminate successfully unless they are destroyed or defeated. Overtly, the Pak-US military machine is committed to achieve their declared objective. More so, this effort has the moral and legal approval of almost all those who side with the United States in its geo-political perceptions. The Pakistani leadership also supports this effort militarily in its territories, and allows the drone attacks on the suspected militant safe havens, despite the damage done to innocent civilians and their property. The allies in the so-called war on terror place no limits while supporting each other in the collective war effort; unfortunately in it even 'collateral damage to our civilians does not worry our President. The question is: Does this alliance give an open licence to the US to indulge in activities inside Pakistan that may, can and will harm its internal stability, and its political and national interests? The investigations conducted in the wake of murders committed by US spy Raymond Davis have disclosed harrowing details of a covert spy network set up by America inside Pakistan, which is operating in full force; its aims, objectives and targets are yet unknown. But what are Pakistans national security agencies doing? In a previous article on USAs strategic objectives in Pakistan, I had voiced fear that Blackwater had come to Pakistan for two purposes. Firstly, it was deployed to search and locate our nuclear assets; and secondly, it was tasked to develop links with the extremist elements to escalate the threat of terrorism in Pakistan, which will provide the ruse to the US to launch surgical strikes against our nuclear assets in the garb of striking militant hideouts. Nevertheless, the information surfacing in the Raymond Davis case confirms my suspicion. Reportedly, according to the information revealed during the investigations, the US citizen had met some militants over lunch in a posh and exclusive diner in Lahores red-light area before going to Mozang for a personal meeting with another contact. This information is elicited from his cell phone record. But still Raymonds personal details are a mystery. His name is suspect; he speaks fluent Urdu and Pushto; his profession and qualifications are false; and the US diplomats are hedging all quarries about him all these are the hallmarks of an accomplished spy working in a target country. Therefore, it is clear that Raymond is a member of Blackwater or a spy agency. It was previously reported that most Blackwater operatives speak local languages, wear local dresses and have beards. Usually whenever a spy is compromised, his country disowns him. But the US had the politico-military clout to come out openly to the aid of its spy. Perhaps, it has adopted an overt course in the Raymond case due to the fact that our ruling elite is in league with Washington in the deployment of its (US) spies in Pakistan. This could be the only logical explanation for the tacit permission granted by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to our Ambassador in Washington DC to issue any number of visas to American citizens without clearance from the national security agencies and the Foreign Office. The media reports too claim that within three days of this open-ended permission, Pakistans Embassy in the US issued 500 visas to American nationals for various purposes. These visas were issued with one year validity, a sufficiently long period to set up an active spy network for any professional espionage operative. If 500 visas in three days is any indication by now, there will be thousands of US undercover agents operating in Pakistan. But what is such a large force of secret operatives doing in Pakistan? The deployment of this force of 'spies on our soil certainly indicates that Pakistan is on high priority in Americas security perception. Without doubt, our security agencies should have analysed the reason for such a large influx of agents. So far, the government officials in general and our Interior Ministry in particular have been denying the existence of Blackwater in Pakistan. The Raymond episode has shattered their stand. Now there is no doubt that besides Blackwater, there are many US agencies covertly active in Pakistan. In a talk show, a political analyst suggested that these undercover agents have been deployed in Pakistan to locate and apprehend Osama bin Laden, who America suspects is hiding somewhere in Pakistan. That is just a cover story; Osama was, reportedly, suffering from kidney failure, and was on dialysis when the US attacked Afghanistan - he may be dead. However, Washington is keeping him alive for ulterior motives. The actual targets and objectives are different. Anyhow, it is up to our security agencies to determine the real reason of their presence. What is immediately required is that Pakistan should adopt a visible and strong policy about its collaboration with the US on the ongoing war on terror. This policy should not provide a blanket permission to the US to induct as many personnel into Pakistan as it desires. In addition, the visa latitude provided by the Prime Minister needs to be terminated immediately and normal visa procedures should be applied to visa seekers. The US Embassy and its Consulates in various cities must not be allowed to expand beyond the normal diplomatic protocols. At the same time, the expansion of the US Embassy and its regional offices points towards a sinister design against Pakistan, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity. Surely, Washingtons primary target remains our nuclear capability and assets. Also, there is, reportedly, another design that is to instigate, abet and organise anti-Pakistan sentiments and insurgency in Balochistan, which is a policy option of the US. Unfortunately, with such a large number of spies in Pakistan that design is achievable. The unfolding events have generated a grave tension in the Pak-US relations, and immense diplomatic pressures are on Pakistan. The Raymond affair has provided an opportunity to our leaders to play politics. If this affair is not sorted out in an amicable manner, we might be in great danger. Already our Prime Minister lacking political acumen has made Pakistan a playground for American agents. Unless this decision is reversed, many US spies will be roaming here with orders to kill anyone and everyone, who crosses their path. Pakistan, its government and its people need to limber up and stand firm in resisting the US designs. Otherwise, the US secret agents will have a field day in Pakistan to further their designs, and we will be collectively digging our own grave. The writer is a freelance columnist.

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