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09ISLAMABAD1409 2009-06-26 10:24:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: JUNE 26, 2009

Tags:   KMDR KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL PK 
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SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL PK
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: JUNE 26, 2009

Summary: U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones' Pakistan visit
continued to garner extensive media coverage on Friday. Almost all
major newspapers highlighted General Jones' meeting with senior
Pakistani leaders and his remarks that the military "operation
created goodwill for Pakistan in the U.S." Alongside the story, all
newspapers also reported that President Zardari "renewed" demand for
drone technology and PM Gilani "sought" U.S. help in resolving
issues with India. Reports of approval of "Kerry-Lugar Bill" by the
U.S. Senate tripling U.S. non-military aid to Pakistan, and that
"President Obama signed into law a $106 billion supplemental bill
making available $1.4 billion in economic and security aid for
Pakistan" received prominent display. All newspapers highlighted
reports that Army Chief General Kayani visited South Waziristan and
directed troops "to go for precision strikes and avoid collateral
damage even if they had to take risks."

Most major English language dailies ran editorials on a host of
subjects including ongoing military offensive, court-martial of 57
Pakistan Air Force personnel on their alleged links with terrorists.
However, the Urdu language newspapers focused on the drone strikes.
The second-largest, Urdu daily "Nawa-i-Waqt," advocated that "if
America does not stop the attacks, then Pakistan should defend its
sovereignty and shoot down a drone to convey the right message to
America." Likewise, the Lahore-based populist Urdu daily
"Khabrain" wrote: "it is now time for Pakistan to adopt a clear
stance on the drone strikes: that these attacks are unacceptable and
that Pakistan will give a befitting response for any further
interference." The liberal Urdu daily "Express," also maintained
that "there is no justification for these strikes now that the
Pakistan Army is fighting with full force against these enemies at
more than one front." End Summary.



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


News Stories


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



"Operation Created Goodwill For Pakistan In U.S.: Jones" "Dawn"
(06/26)

"US National Security Adviser Gen. (Retd) James L. Jones exchanged
views with the Pakistani civilian and military leadership on
Thursday on operational details and timing of the intensified
counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan and its synchronization
with the military offensive against extremists in Pakistan. 'Gen.
Jones' visit was for discussing current challenges confronting
Pakistan and coordinating efforts with the Pakistan government in
implementing the new shared comprehensive strategy,' said a
statement issued by the U.S. Embassy on the conclusion of his
two-day visit during which he met President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani and other government officials.... Apart from Washington's
keenness to engage with Islamabad, sources said, Gen. Jones' visit
bore all marks of a 'micro-management model' which hitherto was
missing from the relationship between the two allies. The top U.S.
security official praised Pakistan's military operation against
militants as 'tremendous confidence-builder for the future.' He
indicated that Pakistan's renewed resolve against militancy infused
great optimism in Washington about the success of the fight against
militancy. He said the action had generated goodwill for Pakistan
in the U.S., adding that terrorism was a shared threat."

"Zardari Renews Demand For Drone Technology: Gilani Seeks Us Help In
Resolving Issues With India: "Daily Times" (06/26)

"Pakistan urged the U.S. and the rest of the world on Thursday to
facilitate the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and water issues
between New Delhi and Islamabad, and called on America to provide
drone technology. The resolution of issues between India and
Pakistan would 'help us focus on fighting extremism and terrorism on
the western border,' said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at a
meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser General (R) James Jones.
Gilani also "called for stopping drone attacks ... to ensure
success of Pakistan's strategy", said a statement. The U.S.
official assured Gilani that his government would do everything
possible for the resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue. The appeal for
the U.S. to provide Pakistan drone technology came at a separate
meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and General Jones. A
U.S. Embassy spokesman said Jones had completed two days of
scheduled meetings with the Pakistani leadership."
"U.S. Vows Support For Indo-Pak Talks" "Daily Times" (06/26)

"U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake vowed
on Thursday the U.S. will continue to back Pakistan-India dialogue
to promote regional stability. The timing, scope, and content of
any such dialogue are strictly matters for Pakistani and Indian
leaders to decide, he said."

"Resumption Of Dialogue Not A Favor, Pakistan Tells India" "Dawn"
(06/26)

"Pakistan has plainly told India that resumption of dialogue is not
a favor by one country to the other, but is in the interest of both
the countries. 'The composite dialogue is in our mutual interest.
It is also unavoidable should we want viable peace and stability in
the region,' Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said at his weekly
media briefing on Thursday."

"U.S. Senate Approves Bill To Triple Aid" "Dawn" (06/26)

"The Senate on Wednesday approved tripling U.S. aid to Pakistan to
about $1.5 billion a year for each of the next five years, part of
an American plan to fight extremism with economic development.
The $1.5 billion in annual funding includes money for Pakistani
schools, the judicial system, and parliament and law enforcement
agencies. 'This legislation marks an important step toward
sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan,' said
Senator Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee."

"Obama Signs Into Law Aid Bill For Pakistan" "The News" (06/26)

"President Barack Obama signed into law a huge $106 billion war
supplemental bill on Wednesday, making available $1.4 billion in
economic and security aid for Pakistan as the country grapples
simultaneously with economic and military challenges in the
high-stake region for U.S. interests."

"New White House Aide For Region" "Dawn" (06/26)

"U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday appointed Dennis Ross, a
Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the
Central Region with overall responsibility to look after
Afghan-Pakistan affairs at the White House."

"Troops Told To Avoid Civilian Deaths: COAS" "Dawn" (06/26)

"Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited
South Waziristan on Thursday and spent the day interacting with the
Field Commanders and troops. The visit indicated that the stage was
set for a full-scale operation against Baitullah Mehsud and his
group. Gen. Kayani urged local tribes to support the government and
the armed forces in their campaign to isolate and eliminate
terrorists. He said the security forces had been asked to go for
precision strikes and avoid collateral damage even if they had to
take risks. Military sources said troops and equipment had been
positioned and more troops were available in reserve."

"Baitullah To Be Killed, Says Rehman Malik" "The News" (06/26)

"Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Thursday that
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Supreme Commander Baitullah Mahsud
would be killed whenever and wherever the security forces found him.
Talking to a private TV channel, he said Baitullah Mahsud would be
killed even if he tried to flee to Afghanistan."

"Forces Dismantle Militant Sanctuaries In Mingora" "The News"
(06/26)

"Security forces on Thursday continued search and sweep operation,
demolishing two hotels in Mingora and a Hujra and a house in
Makanbagh area on suspicions that it was being used as sanctuaries
by the militants, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said."

"Fazlullah's Deputy 'Killed' In Swat" "The News" (06/26)

"Shah Doran, the deputy to Taliban Chief in Swat Maulana Fazlullah,
has been killed Geo TV reported on Thursday. The TV channel said
the killing of Shah Doran had been confirmed by government
sources."

"Qari Hussain Is Alive, Claim Taliban" "Dawn" (06/26)

"The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has denied reports
about the death of Qari Hussain, one of its key leaders, in a
missile attack. TTP spokesman Mufti Waliur Rehman said on Tuesday
that reports about the death of Qari Hussain in the U.S. missile
strike on a funeral procession of another Taliban leader in South
Waziristan were not correct. Qari Hussain is considered to be the
deputy of Baitullah Mahsud and a trainer of suicide bombers."



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


Editorials/Op-eds


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



"Pakistani Rulers Should Either Get The Drone Strikes Stopped Or
Shoot Them Down," an editorial in the second-largest, center-right
nationalist Urdu daily "Nawa-i-Waqt" (cir. 150,000) (06/26)

"About 80 people were killed in the drone strikes the other day, of
which only 4 or 5 belonged to extremist groups while the rest were
innocent citizens.... In the past, Pakistan officials and American
scholars had recognized that every drone attack created more suicide
bombers and undermined government's effort to eliminate
terrorism.... Even Holbrooke recognizes the sensitivity of the
people vis-`-vis drone attacks.... The American administration
should stop the drone attacks in consideration of Pakistan's
protest. However, if America does not stop the attacks then
Pakistan should defend its sovereignty and shoot down a drone to
convey the right message to America."

"Drone Attacks: Pakistan Should Adopt A Strong Stance," an editorial
in the Lahore-based populist center-right Urdu daily "Khabrain"
(cir. 50,000) (06/26)

"If the U.S. has information about terrorists' presence, it should
be shared with Pakistan. Pakistan can act better on this
information. However, it is now time for Pakistan to adopt a clear
stance on the drone strikes: that these attacks are unacceptable and
that Pakistan will give a befitting response for any further
interference."

"War On Terror Is Historic," an editorial in liberal Urdu daily
"Express" (cir. 25,000) (06/26)

"There was some justification for drone attacks when our previous
government was not serious in its efforts against extremists.
However, there is no justification for these strikes now that the
Pakistan Army is fighting with full force against these enemies at
more than one front. The martyrdom of our officers and soldiers is
proof that this march will not stop until the operation is
completed.... The Pakistan Army needs to hold its flag high as it
marches on victoriously in this war, and needs to make this a final
and memorable war against terrorists and extremists."

"The Demand To Stop Drones Strikes And Its Reality," an editorial in
the Karachi-based, pro-Taliban Jihadi Urdu daily "Islam" (cir.
15,000) (06/26)

"We feel that American officials are correct when they say that not
only have Pakistani officials --in private meetings with U.S.
officials - never demanded a halt to the drone strikes, but may also
have acknowledged their (strikes) efficacy. This seems true as our
officials' statements reveal that such remarks are made only to fool
the nation. The question now is: why would drone attacks stop if our
rulers have actually not demanded that they be stopped?"

"A Difficult Road Ahead," an editorial in the Karachi-based
center-left independent national English daily "Dawn" (cir. 55,000)
(06/26)

"Dislodging the Baitullah Mehsud network in South Waziristan may
lead to militants fleeing across the border to the Afghan provinces
of Paktika, Khost and Paktia. Meanwhile, the impending American
push against militants operating in southern Afghanistan,
particularly in the province of Helmand, may cause militants to flee
towards Pakistan. On the Afghan and Pakistan sides, then, a double
whammy of militancy may be looming.... If there has ever been an
occasion for the three main parties, Pakistan, the U.S. and
Afghanistan, to cooperate to the fullest extent possible this is it,
and it should not be squandered."

"The Enemy Within?," an editorial in the populist, often sensational
national English daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (06/26)

"The existence of the enemy within the ranks of those intended to
protect us against militants poses to all of us a very real threat.
The fact that they exist is a consequence too of past policies
during which 'Jihad' was promoted actively as a cause worth dying
for. In some materials circulated among the armed forces this line
remains unchanged. The policy in this respect needs to be reviewed.
If we are to build a safer country, we need to rid ourselves of the
extremism that has crept in and stolen large chunks of our country
away.... There is a possibility that adherents to it watch and wait
elsewhere too. They need to be weeded out. While the suggestion
that militants could seize nuclear assets is in many ways absurd,
the reality is that some may indeed be based in powerful places.
They must be removed if our country is to be made a safe place for
all of us to live in."

"Air Force Scandal Should Be An Eye-Opener," an editorial in
Hyderabad based liberal and independent Sindhi daily "Ibrat" (Cir.
80,000) (06/26)

"The report of some Pakistani Air Force personnel's links with
terrorists and extremists is a very sensitive issue, and it shows us
that since General Zia era, the extremists had made inroads in
sensitive agencies and they remained successful in maintaining their
contacts for a long period of time, however time is now changed."

"Why the 'Friends' Don't Help Pakistan," an editorial in the
Lahore-based liberal English language daily "Daily Times" (cir.
10,000) (06/26)

"In a Washington statement the U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and
Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, said on Wednesday that he was struck
by the fact that the U.S. was the only major contributor to aid to
help Pakistan overcome its crisis of the internally displaced
persons (IDPs). He specially mentioned Saudi Arabia, the UAE and
Qatar in this regard and said that the U.S. government had appealed
to them to do their bit too.... Some quarters see negative Arab
reaction to the finalization of the gas deal between Iran and
Pakistan. Unfortunately President Ahmadinejad has not only
threatened Israel but also indirectly caused fear among the Arab
regimes of Iranian hegemony in the region. Whatever the reason, the
turning away of our Arab friends at this crucial juncture is
something that should grieve us."

"Do Burqas Threaten Western Culture Or Is This A Conspiracy To Erase
Islamic Identity?," an editorial in the popular rightist
Urdu-language daily "Ausaf" (cir. 10,000) (06/26)

"If according to the French President, the burqa is a symbol of
slavery, not Islam, what are his views on the nuns' veil and the
Jewish skull -cap?... In Islamic countries, there is no hurdle for
people of other faith in how they practice their religion or what
they wear. Aren't such limitations and prohibitions by western
countries generating extremism and religious prejudice? The fact is
that it is not just France, but the entire west that is working on
different levels to obliterate Muslims' identity."

"What Are Our Soldiers Dying For?," an op-ed Ayaz Amir in the
populist, often sensational national English daily "The News" (cir.
55,000) (06/26)

"If the present fight against the Taliban leads to a new Pakistan,
it is worth fighting and winning. But if our ways don't change, if
our ruling elites remain as corrupt and self-centered as they have
always been, then doubts will arise whether the blood being shed was
worth anything. The Taliban are a threat to our way of life. But
the Taliban, it bears remembering, were the product of our folly....
American folly and narrow self-interest was also an ingredient in
this witches' brew. But there was no divine command that we had to
follow American orders. That we did ourselves, our ruling generals
from Zia to Musharraf - all too willing instruments of American
policy. No one forced Zia to become an American surrogate. No one
compelled Musharraf to become an American puppet. They followed
this path out of pure self-interest. Blaming the U.S. for all our
ills has become a national industry. We must look more closely at
our own doings. Yes, the Americans will do what they perceive to be
in their self-interest. But what stops us from looking out for
ourselves? So unless the nation goes through a process of
re-education, unless the military mind purges itself of the follies
embraced in the name of 'Jihad,' Pakistan's soul will remain
troubled and the fight against the Taliban will remain unfinished
business."

"What Are We Up Against?," an op-ed by Ayesha Siddiqa in the
Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily "Dawn"
(cir. 55,000) (06/26)

"Those who stress the 'fight against a foreign occupying force'
theory forget two things. First, the Afghan Taliban might be
fighting the U.S. but do not necessarily represent a force of
resistance to foreign occupation.... So, the Taliban fighting in
Afghanistan and their partners in Pakistan are the ones who have a
taste for expansion. Second, invasion as a concept is not foreign
to the region.... But what we are witnessing at the moment is an
internal expansion which is aimed outwards on the basis of ideology.

So, the Taliban as a group are not just about resistance. They also
represent a regional expansionist force which makes them different
from other insurgents. Unless we begin explaining this to the
people, instead of using terms borrowed from abroad, we might never
be able to win the battle for hearts and mind that is necessary to
make gains in the military conflict."

"Sovereignty At Stake," an op-ed by Dr. Farooq Hassan in the
center-right national English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000)
(06/26)

"The continued touting of the now worn-out mantra, which is really
embarrassing for any sovereign state, particularly one of a nuclear
capacity, that seeks and accepts getting more and more money,
presumably for the country, for fighting this current war against
terrorism. Many in Pakistan are now alarmed that it has effectively
become a mercenary establishment. Whether or not this war is of
Pakistan's choice or in its long-term interests or is it simply the
inability of the current leadership of Islamabad to speak up to the
powers that may be external or internal. This last point is really
reaching scandalous proportions when one sees the articulations of
several key members of the U.S. Congress; it is maintained by
leading Congressional members, particularly of the Republican Party
that it is naive for Washington to hand-over a billion plus dollars
to the incumbent Pakistani government."

"Strong Case For Nuclear Autarky," an editorial in the country's
premier business newspaper, "Business Recorder" (cir. 25,000)
(06/26)

"Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has asked the United States to
help Pakistan develop its civilian nuclear technology.... Gilani is
correct in concluding that Pakistan needs to fill its yawning
electricity production-consumption gap by making peaceful use of
nuclear technology. But he may not be right in asking the United
States to come forward and help Pakistan develop its civilian
nuclear potential. The response the Pakistani protest received, to
Washington's nuclear assistance to India, should make us believe
that this chapter is closed at least for now.... That however, does
not mean that all doors are shut on Pakistan; China is there....
The dream to increase nuclear power generation capacity to 8800 MW
by 2030, with an increasing share of indigenization, is realizable,
provided civilian nuclear co-operation with China is further
institutionalized and put on stronger footing."

"How Does Muslim World See Obama's Speech?," an op-ed by Zahida Hina
in Hyderabad based liberal and independent Sindhi Daily "Ibrat"
(cir. 80,000) (06/26)

"President Obama's speech gives hope to Muslim world that in even in
these hard times dialogue can take place. America, which is a
country if immigrants, for sake of its own unity have relied on
creating powerful mighty enemies, first Japan, then Communist
Russia, which was later replaced with Muslim World. But no doubt the
speech was a fundamental change in American policy towards the
Muslim world after the 9/11 incidents."

(All circulation figures are based on estimation)
Patterson