Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08ISLAMABAD3903
2008-12-22 10:07:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: December 22, 2008

Tags:  KMDR KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL PK 
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O 221007Z DEC 08
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UNCLAS ISLAMABAD 003903


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL PK
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: December 22, 2008

Summary: Indian External Affairs Minister Mukherjee's statement
that Islamabad "must act" as it has been given "enough evidence
regarding the Mumbai terror attacks" dominated headlines in all
major newspapers on Monday. Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi's
remarks that "Pakistan had all the rights to defend if driven to
war," however "we are prepared to fully cooperate with India, but it
should provide concrete evidences" were also highlighted. Most
major newspapers front-paged reports that both Pakistan and India
recalled their envoys for "consultations." Vice President-elect,
Joe Biden's remarks that the Pak-Afghan situation "implicated India
and a whole lot of other very complicated issues" were also
highlighted.

Most major English language dailies ran editorials on the latest
polls conducted by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute
(IRI). In its editorial the centrist national English daily, "The
News" observed that the "overall picture is of an unhappy nation,
disappointed and feeling let down, dismayed by the collective and
constructive failures of a ruling elite who have once again
performed as per script and not delivered the goods." Another
daily, "The Post" noted that the survey "should serve as wake-up
call for the government. It comes at a time when the new government
is knee-deep in crisis of various kinds - political, economic and
strategic." Commenting on Secretary Rice's remarks regarding
Pakistan-India standoff, the Urdu daily "Nawa-i-Waqt" wrote:
"Reliance on the U.S. in 1971 proved devastating for us, and now it
is openly supporting our enemy (India). Hence there is no need to
delude ourselves further." End Summary.

--------------
News Stories
--------------

"Enough Proof Given, Pakistan Must Act: India" "Daily Times"
(12/22)

"Pakistan has been given enough evidence regarding the Mumbai terror
attacks and 'Islamabad must act', Indian External Affairs Minister
Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday. 'Not once, twice or thrice but as
many as ten times we have given evidence. Please pursue those
evidences and take action as per your (Pakistani) law,' he said
addressing Pakistan at a conference at the Bengal Chamber of
Commerce in Kolkata."

"India Losing Its Cool, Warns Of Attack" "The News" (12/22)


"Taking a tough stance Indian external Affairs Minister Pranab
Mukherjee on Sunday said Pakistan must cooperate and not contradict
us adding the option of unilateral attack against Pakistan was open.
He said that Pakistan has been given enough evidence regarding the
Mumbai terror attack and Islamabad must act."

"Armed Forces Ready To Counter Any Aggression, says Qureshi" "The
News" (12/22)

"Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmud Qureshi on Sunday said
Pakistan had all the rights to defend if driven to war. 'Pakistan
does not want war and we are desirous of Peace, but if war is thrust
upon us, we have all the rights to defend.' Qureshi said 'we are
prepared to fully cooperate with India but India should provide
concrete evidences.'"

"India Can Hit Terrorists Using Pak Soil: Sonia" "Daily Times"
(12/22)

"Indian National Congress Chairwoman Sonia Gandhi has said her
country was capable of giving a 'befitting reply' to those using
Pakistani soil for abetting and promoting terrorism against it, a
private news channel said on Sunday. 'Our wish for peace and
friendship should not be taken as a sign of weakness,' Gandhi told
an election rally in Dablehr area near the international border on
Sunday."

"Pakistan, India Recall Envoys For 'Consultations" "Daily Times"
(12/22)

"Pakistan and India have summoned their high commissioners for
consultations amid rising tensions following last month's terrorist
attacks in Mumbai. Shahid Malik and Satyabarata Pal will brief
Islamabad and New Delhi respectively on their interaction with the
authorities after the Mumbai attacks."

"U.S. To Increase Pakistan's Military Assistance By $300 Million"
"Daily Times" (12/22)

"The United States has agreed to increase Pakistan's military
assistance by over $300 million per year, a private TV channel
reported on Sunday."

"Pak-Afghan Situation Implicates India, says Biden" "The News"
(12/22)
"The US vice President elect- Joseph Biden Sunday said the
Afghanistan-Pakistan situation implicates India and a whole lot of
other very complicated issues. Calling it as one of the the
immediate concerns for the Barack Obama administration."

"Rumsfeld May Be Prosecuted For Prisoner Abuse: Biden" "Dawn"
(12/22)

"US Vice President-elect Joseph Biden has refused to rule out the
possibility of prosecuting former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and other high officials for prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib and
Guantanamo prisons. Mr Biden, in an interview to ABC News on
Sunday, however, said that a decision whether or not to prosecute
the officials would have to be taken by the US Justice Department."

"Gwadar Port Becomes Fully Functional" "Dawn" (12/22)

"The Gwadar port became fully functional on Sunday after a ship
carrying fertilizer from Qatar anchored at the port. Federal
Minister for Ports and Shipping Nabil Ahmed Gabol and Baluchistan
Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani attended the ceremony
held at the port to mark its opening."

"Lal Masjid Arms Seized During Operation 'Stolen" "Dawn" (12/22)

"A large quantity of arms, seized by security forces during the Lal
Masjid operation and stored in the Aabpara police station's heavily
guarded armoury, is missing, reported 'stolen'. This paper has
learnt that, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik
has suspended Senior Superintendent of Police Ahmad Latif and
Superintendent of Police Dr Shahzad Asif and ordered registration of
a case against SHO Inspector Naeem Iqbal and 14 other police
personnel on charges of criminal breach of trust, theft and
burglary."

"Taliban Enforce Sharia In Parts Of Orakzai" "Daily Times" (12/22)

"Local Taliban announced to impose sharia and to ban cutting forest
trees in several areas of Upper Orakzai Agency on Sunday, local
sources said. The sources said the announcements were made in
sermons from mosques in Khangarpur, Ghundako, Kundi Mushti and Qaum
Aakhel areas of Orakzai Agency in the agency. The announcement
directed the residents to contact local Taliban centers to seek
solution to their disputes adding all disputes would be decided in
accordance with Sharia."

"Omar Offers Power Sharing To End Afghan Crisis" "The News" (12/22)

"Afghan Taliban Mulla Muhammad Omer has suggested a formula for
ending conflicts and bringing peace into his war-torn country a
local newspaper reported, in a statement the Taliban leader warned
that the increasing U.S. troops in Afghanistan would have a direct
relation with the level of violence here and vowed to direct attacks
at NATO forces. But as an alternative he offered a formula for
resolving the conflict which includes power-sharing with the current
Afghan regime."

"Another Kabul Bound Tanker Set Ablaze" "The Nation" (12/22)

"Unknown armed miscreants Sunday attacked another NATO oil supplying
tanker and set it on fire at Landi kotal Khyber agency. The tanker
was reduced to ashes however no human loss was reported. Besides
the owners of such tankers have already been threatened by the
militants to not to supply logistics support to NATO and U.S. forces
in Afghanistan. The militants have demolished over 270 vehicles
during the last couple of weeks."

--------------

Editorials/Op-eds
--------------

"The Crystal Ball," an editorial in the centrist national English
daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (12/22)

"IRI has a long history of polling in Pakistan and is considered
both credible and reliable. What its most recent poll of 3500 adult
men and women, conducted between the 15th and 30th of October
indicates is a populace that is deeply unhappy - they feel the
country is going in the wrong direction, that the next year will be
worse than the last and that the much-lauded return to a local
version of democracy has made little or no difference to the quality
of their lives... The overall picture is of an unhappy nation,
disappointed and feeling let down, dismayed by the collective and
consecutive failures of ruling elite who have once again performed
as per script and not delivered the goods."

"A Gloomy Picture," an editorial in the Lahore-based liberal English
daily "The Post" (cir. 5,000) (12/22)

"The IRI survey should serve as a wake-up call for the government.
It comes at a time when the new government is knee-deep in crisis of
various kinds - political, economic, and strategic. It also shows
the pessimism of the nation with the political leadership. The poll
highlights the discontentment of the masses with their overall
condition in the country..."

"Plunging Popularity," an editorial in the Karachi-based
center-left independent national English daily "Dawn" (cir. 55,000)
(12/22)

"The survey conducted by the International Republican Institute in
the second half of October makes for grim reading for the
government: Pakistanis are deeply troubled by the state of the
nation and are pessimistic about the future. The government's
performance in key areas, the economy, governance and security, has
left the country unimpressed, and its standing is already comparable
to Gen Musharraf's widely disparaged regime earlier this year."

"Indian war preparations and our national attitude" an editorial
note in the second-largest, center-right nationalist Urdu daily
"Nawa-i-Waqt" (cir. 125,000) (12/22)

"Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday, U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that Pakistan's measures
were insufficient and that calling terrorists non-state actors is
not enough, action should be taken against them to India's
satisfaction. This means that the U.S. is fully encouraging India
and by pressing Pakistan, is pushing [both] towards a war that will
cost both countries dearly, but the benefits might be reaped by the
U.S. and Israel... Reliance on the U.S. in 1971 proved devastating
for us, and now it is openly supporting our enemy (India.) Hence
there is no need to delude ourselves further."

"Comprehensive consultation required to counter Indian strategy," an
editorial in the leading mass circulation centrist Urdu daily "Jang"
(cir. 300,000) (12/22)

"It is essential to take political, religious parties and all
segments of society into confidence about the current security
situation, and the growing tension with India. We can deal with the
Indian aggressive designs and war plans only through an effective
military strategy with the support of people of Pakistan."

"Why is India moving towards an undesirable venture?" Editorial in
the Lahore-based populist center-right Urdu daily "Khabrain" (cir.
50,000) (12/22)

"Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in New Delhi a
few days back that a weak Pakistan would be detrimental for the
entire region. We feel that efforts to weaken Pakistan would be
equally harmful for the region. In this entire episode, India stands
to lose the most. This is what happens to those who consider their
enemies to be weak. Why can't the Indian establishment and
leadership understand this simple fact? The U.S. must try to stop
its strategic partner [India] from making this grave mistake."

"U.S. impractical and unlimited demands," an editorial note in the
popular rightist Urdu-language daily "Ausaf" (cir. 10,000) (12/22)

"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice while addressing the
Council of Foreign Relations has said that the Pakistani measures
following the Mumbai attacks are not enough.... If the government
of Pakistan does not resist the unlimited demands of the United
States; it will put the national security in danger."

"Media War And Indo-Pak Tension," an editorial in the Lahore-based
liberal English language daily "Daily Times" (cir. 10,000) (12/22)

"Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers and any conflict between
them is bound to escalate into a holocaust for the region. Then why
are the two sides hyping up a conflict neither can afford?"
"The need for unity to counter Indian designs" an editorial note in
the center-right Urdu daily "Pakistan" (cir. 10,000) (12/22)

"Indian leaders making war threats should not forget that
confrontation between two regional nuclear powers could turn into a
protracted war and bring about destruction for both the countries.
It is in the interests of both the nations to be tolerant, move
towards peace talks and control the possibility of war."

"War preparations against Pakistan?" an editorial note in the
Karachi-based, pro Taliban Jihadi Urdu daily "Islam" (cir. 15,000)
(12/22)

"It seems that the big powers have given green signal to India for a
limited military action inside Pakistan. At this critical juncture,
the government of Pakistan and all other parties must be united, and
shun their internal differences to give a befitting response to any
aggressive move from any side. Moreover, Pakistan must not yield to
any undue pressure of the big powers, as this is the only way to our
survival and security."

"Restore Normalcy," an editorial in the center-right national
English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000) (12/22)

"The NWFP government headed by Chief Minster Ameer Haider Hoti
termed on Saturday the military operation in Swat as a failure. It
is not the presence of troops that is pinching it, quite the
contrary. What it is really angry about is the failure of the
security forces to establish the writ of the state besides turning a
blind eye to the deaths of non-combatants."

"The 'Fall' Of Dhaka And After," an op-ed by Kamal Siddiqi in the
centrist national English daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (12/22)

"Our foreign policy is in tatters. Even our best friends do not want
to help us. Possibly it is time to look inwards and see where we are
going wrong. And we need to give our friends and neighbors the
confidence that we are a progressing nation and not a failed state
which some paint us as. We need to focus more on our economy. There
are calls to jumpstart the system, instead of throttling it with
higher interest rates."


Patterson