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09ISLAMABAD1718 2009-07-28 11:12:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: JULY 28, 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: JULY 28, 2009

Summary: The Urdu and English language newspapers on Tuesday
differed in their selection of lead stories. The English dailies
highlighted the announcement of the government's "new trade policy"
while the Urdu newspapers gave prominence to local political
developments. Reports on the killing of 20 militants in Khyber air
strike by security forces also received wide coverage. Several
major dailies highlighted the recovery by the security forces of
"more boys who were allegedly trained for suicide bombings in Swat."
A statement by the Pakistan Navy spokesman that the launch of
"Indian nuclear submarine could trigger arms race in the region"
received extensive coverage. All newspapers also reported that an
Anti-Terrorism Court sent a former member of the National Assembly,
Shah Abdul Aziz, allegedly involved in the murder of Polish
engineer, to Adiala Jail on a 14-day remand."

Most major dailies ran editorials on a variety of subjects including
the arrest of TNSM (Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi) leader Sufi
Mohammad, the newly commissioned Indian nuclear submarine, new U.S.
efforts for Mideast Peace and so forth. The populist, often
sensational national English daily "The News," noted that "men like
Sufi Mohammad have played a part in building the militants armies
that today still threaten Swat. It was a mistake to trust him; a
bigger mistake still to try and negotiate a deal in Swat." In
contrast, the second-largest Urdu daily "Nawa-i-Waqt," advocated
that "when Swat was on fire it was Sufi Muhammad who played a role
for establishing peace in the area. TNSM has never been violent in
any period of time." Toeing the line, the center-right Urdu daily
"Pakistan," maintained that the "government should respect people
like Sufi Muhammad, who are trusted by the people. Sufi should be
released as soon as possible." End Summary.



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


News Stories


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



"Trade Policy Sets Six Per Cent Export Growth Target" "Dawn"
(07/28)

"The government on Monday unveiled a medium-term (2009-12) Strategic
Trade Policy Framework, setting an export target of $18.84 billion
for 2009-10 - a six per cent growth over last year's figures. The
three-year framework plan focuses on reviving and reforming domestic
commerce, diversifying export markets with EU, U.S. and countries
which have signed free trade agreements and promoting trade in
services sector."

"20 Militants Killed In Khyber Air Strike" "Dawn" (07/28)

"Military helicopters shelled militant hideouts in the afternoon,
killing 20 rebels and destroying four of their hideouts, a spokesman
for the Frontier Corps, Major Fazal-ur-Rehman, said, adding that the
air strikes were ordered after an intelligence tip-off."

"More Boys Trained For Suicide Bombing Held" "Dawn" (07/28)

"After arresting nine young men on Sunday, security forces found on
Monday another two boys who were allegedly trained for suicide
bombings in Swat. An official said that the boys were aged between
9 and 18 years."

"200 Children Bombers Rescued" "The Nation" (07/28)

"At least 200 children, kidnapped and trained for suicide attacks,
have been rescued from Taliban camps in Swat, reported a private TV
channel on Monday, quoting officials. Sources say the children's
age ranges between 6 to 13 years."

"Indian Nuclear Submarine To Trigger Arms Race: Pak Navy" "The News"
(07/28)

"The Pakistan Navy (PN) has said the recent induction of a nuclear
submarine into the Indian Navy is a destabilizing step that will
jeopardize the security paradigm of the entire region. In a
statement issued in Karachi on Monday, a spokesman for the PN said
this move of the Indian Navy would have far-reaching effects not
only on Pakistan, but also on the entire littoral states of the
Indian Ocean and beyond."

"Indian N-Sub Detrimental To Regional Peace: FO" "Dawn" (07/28)
"Reacting to the launch of a nuclear submarine by India, Pakistan
vowed on Monday to take all measures for maintaining strategic
balance in the region. 'Without entering into an arms race with
India, Pakistan will take all appropriate steps to safeguard its
security,' Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said in a
statement."

"Ex-MNA Sent To Adiala On 14-Day Remand" "The News" (07/28)

"The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC)-II Rawalpindi on Monday sent former
MNA Shah Abdul Aziz, allegedly involved in the murder of Polish
engineer, to Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand."

"U.S., China To Boost Stability In Region" "Dawn" (07/28)

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the
United States and China would work jointly to combat violent
extremism and promote stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

"U.S. Will want IDPs Settled Before Action In Waziristan" "Dawn"
(07/28)

"Pakistan should first create a secure environment for the refugees
to return home before launching an operation against Baitullah
Mehsud and his militants, says U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke.
The U.S. Envoy made this statement in an interview to 'The
Washington Post."

"Decisive Action Against Mahsud Being Taken: Malik" "The News"
(07/28)

"In an exclusive interview with a French TV channel, Interior
Minister Rehman Malik has said that a decisive action is being taken
against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Supreme Commander Baitullah
Mahsud."

"Sufi Muhammad Shifted To Prison" "The News" (07/28)

"The detained chief of the banned Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi
(TNSM), Maulana Sufi Muhammad, was shifted to the Peshawar Central
Prison instead of a hospital as was being expected, a source
confided to 'The News.' No reaction was noticed in the hometown of
Sufi Muhammad, Lal Qilla, in Maidan area in Dir Lower district, over
his arrest."

"TNSM Eliminated, Sufi's Trial Soon" "The News" (07/28)

"The banned Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammad (TNSM) has almost been
eliminated in the Malakand Division and its detained Chief Maulana
Sufi Muhammad is going to be put on trial shortly, 'The News' has
learned in Islamabad on Monday."

"11 militants Killed in Dir, Swat" "The News" (07/28)

"Eleven militants were killed in a clearance operation by security
forces and local Lashkar in Swat and Dir Upper, while 25 others were
apprehended during the ongoing operation Rah-e-Rast. An
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) media update said nine
terrorists also surrendered in different parts of the Malakand
Division."

"TTP Commander's Aide Among Several Held" "The News" (07/28)

"The police claimed to have arrested Ayaz, a close aide of the
Taliban commander Umar Khalid Umar Khalid for Mohmand Agency in a
raid on a house in the Mandani area on Monday and recovered CDs and
literature about jihad."

"Bridge Damaged, Rocket Fired In Bannu" "The News" (07/28)

"A bridge was damaged in a bomb blast here in the Mambati Bargazai
area in Bannu on Monday. The local sources said unknown persons had
planted explosives under the bridge that went off, damaging the
bridge partially. In another incident, unknown miscreants targeted
Miryan Police Station with a rocket, however, it missed the target
and landed in a field causing no damage."

"Eight Militants Surrender In Mohmand" "Dawn" (07/28)

"Eight militants including their ringleader Zerqavi, surrendered to
the political administration of Mohmand Agency on Monday, officials
said. They said that militants assured the government of their good
conduct in future."

"Five Waziristan Tribesmen Injured In Army Shelling" "The News"
(07/28)

"Five tribesmen were critically injured and their houses damaged in
shelling by army helicopter gunships at a village near North
Waziristan regional headquarters, Miramshah, on Monday, official and
tribal sources told 'The News.'"

"Worshipper Killed In Bajaur Mosque Blast" "The News" (07/28)

"One person was killed and another sustained serious injuries when a
remote-controlled bomb planted by suspected militants in a mosque
went off in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency on Monday."



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


Editorials/Op-eds


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



"Sufi Behind Bars," an editorial in the populist, often sensational
national English daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (07/28)

"Attempting to distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' militants is a
dangerous game. Men like Sufi Mohammad Khan have played a part in
building the militant armies that today still threaten Swat. It was
a mistake to trust him; a bigger mistake still to try and negotiate
a deal in Swat. We hope the arrest of Sufi is the start of
wider-ranging action. People who played a key role in the
atrocities committed in Swat, those who hired and trained the
teenage suicide bombers arrested from Mingora and committed other
acts of criminal violence, for the most part, remain free. They
must be tracked down and brought to justice. Only then can there be
a hope of putting a final end to the militancy."

"Sufi Muhammad's Arrest Will Create Another Tragedy," an editorial
in the second-largest, center-right nationalist Urdu daily
"Nawa-i-Waqt" (cir. 150,000) (07/28)

"Tehrik Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad, his two
sons and an important commander have been arrested from Peshawar and
shifted to so unknown location.... When Swat was on fire it was
Sufi Muhammad who played a role for establishing peace in the area.
TNSM has never been violent in any period of time.... The
government had broken the peace treaty in Swat under U.S. pressure
and pushed our military into fighting with our compatriots.... The
arrest of Sufi and his sons has the potential of being provocative
and situation can get out of control.... The government should seek
Sufi's cooperation for complete peace in the area."

"Sufi Muhammad's Arrest," an editorial in the center-right Urdu
daily "Pakistan" (cir. 10,000) (07/28)

"The government should respect people like Sufi Muhammad, who are
trusted by the people. The Sufi should be released as soon as
possible."

"Yet Again Detention Of Sufi Mohammad," an editorial in the
Karachi-based right-wing pro-Jamaat-e-Islami Urdu daily "Jasarat"
(cir. 3,000) (07/28)

"Sufi Mohammad is once again arrested along with his two sons and a
commander on Sunday. Allegations on Sufi Mohammad by the NWFP
government are not new; these have been leveled against him earlier.
If Sufi failed to implement the Swat peace deal, same was the
performance of the government as it was the government that did not
allow the implementation."

"Sufi Arrested, Again," an editorial in the Karachi-based
center-left independent national English daily "Dawn" (cir. 55,000)
(07/28)

"Much now depends on the NWFP government's commitment to preparing a
specific charge-sheet against the TNSM chief and prosecuting him in
court. Holding him incommunicado can backfire and provide fresh
ammunition to the supporters of the Malakand insurgency. If Sufi
Mohammad, as the Frontier Information Minister claimed on Sunday, is
'the main culprit' in the battle for Malakand then he should be
produced in court and brought to book. If he is guilty of inciting
violence, Sufi should be made an example of so as to deter others
from pursuing a similar course."

"What To Do With Sufi Muhammad?," an editorial in the Lahore-based
liberal English language daily "Daily Times" (cir. 10,000) (07/28)

"Now that it has owned up his arrest, it should revamp its views on
what Sufi Muhammad stands for and how dangerous he could be....
Letting the saintly-looking agents of chaos go is a pattern of state
behavior.... But popularity should not divert the state from making
a cold-blooded assessment of what such people mean to state
security. Sufi Muhammad's case is relevant because his strategy in
Swat unfolded in the glare of media publicity and finally created a
national consensus against the Taliban when he failed to make it
stick.... We simply cannot afford to roll back these achievements
and allow Sufi Muhammad to restart his campaign from Peshawar."

"Maulana Sufi Muhammad's Arrest," an editorial in the Lahore-based
independent Urdu daily "Din" (cir. 10,000) (07/28)

"The first report on Maulana Sufi Muhammad's presence in Peshawar
came from a private television channel. It was only after this
report was aired that the government agencies were compelled to take
some action. There are signs that Sufi Muhammad was living in
Peshawar under government sponsorship and these agencies are using
him for their own objectives."

"Sufi's Arrest," an editorial in the Lahore-based liberal English
daily "The Post" (cir. 5,000) (07/28)

"The cleric activities have proved that he is working against the
interest of the country. Now the arrest of Sufi Muhammad should
bring normalcy in the area and steps should be taken so that about
two million displaced people should live in peace.... The arrest of
TNSM is a big achievement of the security forces and it will
definitely help in controlling the militancy in Swat and other
areas."

"Global Media's War," an op-ed by Manzoor Ali Memon in the
Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily "Dawn"
(cir. 55,000) (07/28)

"At present, Pakistan is engaged in a media war which is planned and
systematic. The country is not only the victim of physical terror
but also of media terrorism launched by the foreign media and their
sponsors.... Often, questionable and baseless stories are aired by
the foreign media which besides tarnishing the image of the country
are meant to put pressure on the Pakistani government, leading to an
environment of uncertainty, fear and political turmoil. Why are VOA
and BBC programs being aired on private Pakistani TV and radio
channels? What is the agenda? Are these being run out of
altruistic motives? Or is it simply to improve the image of the
U.S. and Britain in Pakistan? The public has a right to know under
what terms, conditions and arrangements the private channels allow
this.... The international media doesn't focus on the positive
aspects of Pakistan and simply portrays it as an exporter of
terrorism."

"Afghanistan On Tenterhooks," an op-ed by Rahimullah Yusufzai in the
populist, often sensational national English daily "The News" (cir.
55,000) (07/28)

"The campaign for Afghanistan's second presidential election has
started despite the general insecurity in vast areas of the country
and the indifference of the electorate.... Most Afghans feel
hopeless about the future and the trust in the government,
parliament and politicians has gone down. An American military
officer, Col. White, who is commander of the newly-deployed troops
in Wardak and Logar provinces near Kabul, echoed the feelings and
dilemma of the U.S. authorities regarding Afghanistan's future
recently when he publicly stated that it would be a disaster if
Karzai was re-elected. It seems that in the absence of a better
candidate, President Barack Obama will have to bear with President
Karzai for another term, although he publicly criticized the Afghan
leader during his own election campaign."

"Will The Surge Work?," an op-ed by Rasul Bakhsh Rais in the
Lahore-based liberal English language daily "Daily Times" (cir.
10,000) (07/28)

"The surge may temporarily push the Taliban back into remote areas,
or force them to disperse, but it may not end the insurgency. Around
eight years of wars are by any measure too much. And if other
options, like negotiations with the adversary, are not exercised
because that would convey an impression of weakness, we will see
more bloodshed and mayhem in Afghanistan unless one side realizes it
cannot go on fighting. This is a war of attrition, and the surge
will not make a difference, except raising costs on both sides."

"Nuclear Race Between India And Pakistan," an editorial in the
Karachi-based center-right sensationalist Urdu daily "Ummat" (cir.
33,000) (07/28)

"Pakistan is already engulfed with internal problems, but now our
eternal enemy India is opening new fronts with international support
to weaken Pakistan. Russia supported India to induct a nuclear
submarine to enhance its naval defense. Following five big nuclear
powers, India is the 6th country with nuclear capable submarine. It
was India that unleashed new nuclear arms race in the region,
Pakistan will have to reciprocate it, otherwise the balance of power
will be shattered."

"Nuclear Submarine: Clear Proof Of India's Aggressive Designs," an
editorial in the second-largest, center-right nationalist Urdu daily
"Nawa-i-Waqt" (cir. 150,000) (07/28)

"India has not accepted Pakistan's existence and committed
aggression again us thrice in the past, thus its policy of building
stockpiles of weapons is targeted against Pakistan.... The balance
of power in the region is now heavily tilted in India's favor after
the induction of the nuclear submarine in Indian navy.... On the
other hand, America has been busy telling Pakistan that it should
not take India as its enemy. Looking at Indian war preparation and
undeniable proofs of its involvement in Balochistan lawlessness only
an irrational person would consider it anything other than an
enemy."

"Indian Nuclear Submarine Is A Threat To Regional Peace," an
editorial in liberal Urdu daily "Express" (cir. 25,000) (07/28)

"The Indian leadership must realize that its annual increase in the
defense budget is creating poverty and unemployment not only within
its own borders but also in the neighboring countries. It should
also realize that weapon-producing countries are actually exploiting
us by encouraging an arms race amongst [developing states].... In
order to end this arms race and to bring peace to the region, India
must give up its aggressive designs."

"Indian Defense Preparations For Regional Domination," an editorial
in the Lahore-based independent Urdu daily "Din" (cir. 10,000)
(07/28)

"India is a country where more than 40 percent of the population
lives below the poverty line and many areas of the country still do
not have basics like education, health and employment.... It is
very unfortunate that despite these stark realities, the Indian
leadership is creating war frenzy in the country. Following the
nuclear submarine's inclusion in the Indian Navy, other countries in
the region will also be compelled to take similar measures for their
defense - thereby endangering regional peace."

"A Threatening Move," an editorial in the center-right national
English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000) (07/28)

"The induction of a nuclear submarine, Arihant, into the Indian Navy
would trigger arms race in South Asia.... Under the circumstances,
it would be hard for Islamabad to stay aloof from these
developments, forcing it to follow suit.... The move would also
provoke China, with which India claims being on a friendly
footing.... This show of strength, uncalled for in the first place
by any reckoning, runs counter to the goals of peace and security."


"India Boosts Its War Preparedness," an editorial in the
Islamabad-based rightist English daily "Pakistan Observer" (cir.
5,000) (07/28)

"The question arises what for this naval build-up is being prepared
when India has no threat from its neighbors. It is an open secret
now that India is spending so much on its defence forces to
challenge any power not only in Asia but also at the international
arena. At a time when people are fed up with wars, India is perhaps
the only State on earth boosting its defence preparedness, which
would be dangerous for peace in the region and beyond."

"New U.S. Efforts For Mideast Peace," an editorial in the
second-largest, center-right nationalist Urdu daily "Nawa-i-Waqt"
(cir. 150,000) (07/28)

"America has sought Syria's help for permanent peace in the Middle
East.... This is a fact that Israel is the only hurdle in the way
of peace in the region and President Barack Obama understands it
very well.... Since President Obama's speech in Jamia Al Azhar, a
tension was created in the U.S.-Israel relations. So far several
Obama administration's leading officials have scheduled their trips
to Israel. Moreover, help has been sought from Syria for
establishing permanent peace in the Middle East."

"Viable Palestinian State," an editorial in the center-right
national English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000) (07/28)

"No peace process in the Middle East can succeed unless there is a
move towards the creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinians
state.... There is a perception that what the Obama administration
is really after is somehow or other forcing the Arab states to
normalize relations with Israel while hardly moving beyond symbolic
gestures to resolve the Palestinian issue. It is also being
maintained that what Washington really desires is a front comprising
the so-called moderate Arab states and Israel against Iran. A move
of the type would alienate Palestinians and the world Muslim
community."

(All circulation figures are based on estimation)
Feierstein