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09ISLAMABAD813 2009-04-17 09:49:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: APRIL 17, 2009

Tags:   KMDR KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL PK 
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL PK
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN MEDIA REACTION: APRIL 17, 2009

Summary: The Pakistan Muslim League-N's decision turning down PM
Gilani's offer to rejoin the federal cabinet dominated headlines in
all newspapers on Friday. All newspapers highlighted reports that
"Japan would provide up to $1 billion to Pakistan" to support its
economic reforms and counter-terrorism efforts. Reports on the
release of former Red Mosque cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz also received
prominent display. All major dailies reported that "Ambassador
Patterson would lead a high-powered delegation of Pakistani
entrepreneurs to the U.S." Newspapers highlighted reports that the
Foreign Office "downplayed" growing international concerns over
Nizam-i-Adl Regulation, and described this reaction as "hasty." ISI
Chief Lt. Gen. Pasha's U.S. visit garnered extensive coverage.
Major dailies underlined reports that the "CIA and ISI have agreed
to develop working relations for combating terrorism."

The precarious security situation of Pakistan continued to grab
attention of the editorialists and op-ed writers. Commenting on the
recent "Charsadda carnage," the central national daily, "The News,"
raise question that "if such killings are to continue, we must ask
what purpose the Nizam-i-Adl enforced in Malakand serves." The
Lahore-based liberal daily, "Daily Times," observed that "in the
coming days, the Taliban will institutionalize their presence and
convert the region adjoin Swat into a satrapy completely insulated
from the rest of Pakistan." The country's premier business
newspaper, "Business Recorder," opined that "given relentless
terrorism that has literally forced us as a nation on our knees,
ours is a far more deserving case for a comprehensive anti-terror
strategy and a dedicated department at the center." End Summary.



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


News Stories


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



"Sharif Reject Offer To Join Coalition" "Dawn" (04/17)

"The Pakistan Muslim League-N has turned down the prime minister's
offer to rejoin the federal cabinet, but held out an assurance that
it will not create problems for the PPP-led government. Former
prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif told a press conference on Thursday
his party wanted to see the government complete its tenure."

"Japan To Provide Up To $1 Billion Aid To Pakistan" "Dawn" (04/17)

"Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said on Thursday his country would
provide up to $1 billion to Pakistan to support its economic reforms
and counter-terrorism efforts, while addressing newsmen after
holding wide-ranging talks with President Asif Ali Zardari."

"Zardari Urges A 'Marshall Plan' For Pakistan" "Dawn" (04/17)

"President Asif Ali Zardari called on Thursday for a major aid drive
like the Marshall Plan to fight poverty and militancy in his
country, writing in a newspaper on the eve of a major meeting of
donors in Tokyo. President Zardari stressed in Japan Times article
that his government was determined to fight militants but said it
needed an aid and reconstruction program similar to the U.S.
Marshall Plan for post-World War II Europe."

"Lal Masjid Cleric Vows Not To Seek Revenge" "Dawn" (04/17)

"The former Khateeb of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was released
on Thursday reportedly under a 'deal' and he announced that he would
not seek revenge on former president Gen. (R) Pervez Musharraf who
has been accused of killing hundreds of students of the seminary
attached to the Lal Masjid in a military operation in October
2007."

"High-Powered Delegation Of Pakistani Entrepreneurs To Visit U.S."
"Dawn, "Pakistan Observer," "Business Recorder" (04/17)

"U.S. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson has said that her Embassy will
try to enhance people-people contacts between Pakistan and the
United States to project the true image of Pakistan. Speaking at a
reception for businessmen and journalists at her resident on
Thursday the Ambassador said that there was need to project a soft
image of Pakistan. Earlier, Ms. Patterson announced that she would
lead a delegation of Pakistani entrepreneurs to the U.S. from April
22 to 24."

"FO Downplays Concerns Over Swat Adl Regulation" "Dawn" (04/17)

"The Foreign Office has downplayed growing international concerns
over Nizam-i-Adl Regulation and described world capitals' reaction
as hasty. 'We view the apprehensions in this regard as premature,'
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said at his weekly media
briefing on Thursday."

"ISI, CIA Agree To Combat Terror" "The News" (04/17)

"Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Director General of Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI), has left Washington DC for Islamabad after a
hectic 24 hours of meetings with the U.S. officials, while the CIA
and the ISI have agreed to develop working relations for combating
terrorism, sources said."

"Reservations About Nizam-e-Adl Regulation; CM Remarks Pushed John
Kerry On Back Foot" "The News" (04/17)

"'I'm a nationalist and the interest of my people and my province
come first' were the remarks that pushed the visiting U.S. Senator
John Kerry on the back foot during his recent meeting with NWFP
Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti. The remarks came when the US
delegation, led by Senator Kerry, who is also the head of U.S.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just sat down for a discussion
on a host of issues at the Chief Minister's House on Tuesday. A
well-placed source told The News that neither Senator Kerry nor any
other member of the delegation thrashed out the Nizam-e-Adl
Regulation 2009 in the meeting after the candid comment by the Chief
Minister."

"Nizam-e-Adl Will Take Swat Back To 'Dark Ages': HRW" "Daily Times"
(04/17)

"Human Rights Watch urged Pakistan to reverse its decision to
enforce Sharia in Swat in a peace pact with the Taliban, saying the
deal threatens women and takes the region back to the 'Dark Ages.'
The New York-based rights group said the government's move amounted
to granting the Taliban 'de-facto administrative control of the Swat
Valley' and 'presents a grave threat to the rights of women and
other basic rights in the troubled region.'"

"Rallies Staged To Back Nizam-e-Adl" "The News" (04/17)

"Hundreds of people staged a rally in Mingora on Thursday in favor
of the NWFP government for enforcing Nizam-e-Adl Regulation and
flayed Muttahida Qaumi Movement for opposing the same."

"Pakistan For Total End To N-Weapons" "The News" (04/17)

"Pakistan has stressed the need for total elimination of nuclear
weapons and said that this objective can be achieved through an
equitable approach and genuine empathy for security concerns of all
states."

"Pakistan To Move Int'l Court Against India On Water Issue" "The
News" (04/17)

"Pakistan has decided to inform India about its intention to move
the International Court of Arbitration and the neutral expert
against diversion of Neelum River water to Wullar barrage and faulty
design of the Kishanganga hydropower project and the faulty design
of the project respectively."



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


Editorials/Op-eds


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



"Charsadda Carnage," an editorial in the centrist national English
daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (04/17)

"If such killings are to continue, we must ask what purpose the
Nizam-e-Adl enforced in Malakand serves. It seems learning lessons
once is not quite enough. We have seen many times in the past that
reaching accords with militants has no impact on the task of
creating stability or ending fear. In fact these accords increase
instability, with militants taking advantage of them to regroup and
renew their efforts to subvert the state."

"Price Of Swat Peace," an editorial in the Lahore-based liberal
English language daily "Daily Times" (cir. 10,000) (04/17)

"But we can be sure of one thing. The state will be punished for
having allowed terrorist elements to rule Swat. In the coming days,
the Taliban will institutionalize their presence and convert the
region adjoining Swat into a satrapy completely insulated from the
rest of Pakistan. The consequences of that will be predictably
destructive for the state of Pakistan."

"Face To Face With Terrorism," an editorial in the country's premier
business newspaper, "Business Recorder" (cir. 25,000) (04/17)

"Taliban say they would retain their arms and verdicts of Qazi
courts cannot be challenged in higher courts of Pakistan. What else
then is the so-called a state within state? But that's not the end
of their mission; media reports emit unmistakable signals that
Talibanization is on the march.... Unfortunately, however, not much
appears being done in terms of evolving an overarching strategy to
meet the growing challenge of Talibanization. Given relentless
terrorism that has literally forced us as a nation on our knees,
ours is a far more deserving case for a comprehensive anti-terror
strategy and a dedicated department at the Centre."

"Terror And Punjab," an editorial in the Karachi-based center-left
independent national English daily "Dawn" (cir. 55,000) (04/17)

"It is often said that militants in Punjab's south and elsewhere in
the province are exclusively committed to Jihad in Kashmir that
under no circumstances, are they to leave their brief and switch to
other wars being raged in the name of religion. The question is:
what do they do when they are not or cannot be in Kashmir? There
are obviously no guarantees that these trained hands won't be
pressed into service in pursuance of another holy cause."

"Charsadda Suicide Attack: A Conspiracy To Fail The Nizam-i-Adl," an
editorial in the second-largest, center-right nationalist Urdu daily
"Nawa-i-Waqt" (cir. 125,000) (04/17)

"There could be involvement of RAW and certain invisible hands [in
the Charsadda blast] as they want the Nizam-i-Adl regulation to
fail. Those elements whose interests have been harmed by the
implementation of Nizam-i-Adl are capable of doing anything in order
to achieve their objective. "

"Suicide attack on police post" an editorial note in the
center-right Urdu daily "Pakistan" (cir. 10,000) (04/17)

"While Ulema belonging to different schools of thought have declared
suicide attacks as forbidden, it is very unfortunate that those who
prepare individuals to become suicide bombers also call themselves
'Ulema' and pride themselves on this deed. We urge all respected
Ulema to form a committee and together with their right-thinking
colleagues in NWFP, they should raise public awareness against
suicide attacks."

"Charsadda Blast: Uncover The Perpetrators," an editorial in liberal
Urdu daily "Express" (cir. 100,000) (04/17)

"It is the intelligence agencies' responsibility to uproot
anti-public elements and uncover elements and their sponsors whose
existence depends upon spreading unrest. It is also known that the
U.S. has been opposing such [peace] deals; carrying out such
conspiracies would not be new for it. Even earlier, it provoked the
tribal people by carrying out strikes when the Swat and Waziristan
deals were signed. Any investigation [of Charsadda attack] must not
ignore this angle."

"Game, Set And Match," an editorial in the centrist national English
daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (04/17)

"The day that our parliamentarians voted for the Nizam-e-Adl
Regulation 2009 was the day that the Taliban won and all they have
to do now is go and pick up their prizes.... A reasoned and
objective analysis can now be made to the effect that Pakistan is
moving towards being a Taliban-controlled state; and the movement
towards that position is gathering momentum. Our friends and allies
can see this and are becoming jittery themselves...."

"Peace In Doldrums," an editorial in the center-right national
English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000) (04/17)
"TTP spokesman Muslim Khan's statement that the Taliban would not
surrender arms is bound to send alarm bells ringing. To many in
this country, this would amounts to a clear violation of the
promises made prior to the signing of the deal. His statement that
the TTP would shift the arena of struggle to other parts of the
country now is equally disturbing, as this amounts to dictating
policies to the state at gunpoint."

"Implementation of Justice: Responsibility Of Sufi Muhammad And The
Government," an editorial in the second-largest, center-right
nationalist Urdu daily "Nawa-i-Waqt" (cir. 125,000) (04/17)

"Maulana Sufi Muhammad and his allies must now avoid making
statements which give anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam elements an
opportunity for propaganda. When it is agreed in the deal that no
one will keep unlicensed weapons and all will abide by the state
laws what is the justification for the Taliban's announcement that
they do not recognize the Constitution and that all Muslims have the
right to bear weapons. Similarly, the announcement to spread
Taliban control to other areas also creates doubts. Hence, it is now
the responsibility of Sufi Muhammad, Maulana Fazlullah and their
allies not only to fulfill their responsibility for peace, but also
to convince the Taliban to surrender unlicensed arms and to abide by
laws of the state."

"All Problems Can Be Resolved by Parliament," an editorial in the
Karachi-based, pro-Taliban Jihadi Urdu daily "Islam" (cir. 15,000)
(04/17)

"We believe that implementation of Nizam-i-Adl regulation by our
government is a bold and commendable step keeping in view the strong
opposition of the U.S. on this issue. Presently this was the only
option available to the government and there was no alternative....
One thing has become quite clear that if our government wants to do,
it can dispel external pressures to protect the national interests."


"Nizami-i-Adl In Malakand Division," an editorial in the
center-right Urdu daily "Pakistan" (cir. 10,000) (04/17)

"There has been mixed reaction to the implementation of Nizam-i-Adl
regulation. But what is now necessary is for Maulana Sufi Muhammad
and his allies to cooperate in making this successful, because many
difficulties will arise if peace is not restored. However, all
objections by Washington and Kabul would be rendered weightless if
peace is established, no unpleasant incident of any sort happens;
and people bearing arms do not act on their whims."

"The Taliban: Contained Or Unleashed?," an op-ed by Najmuddin A.
Shaikh in the Lahore-based liberal English language daily "Daily
Times" (cir. 10,000) (04/17)

"Now we are told that the Taliban will not surrender their arms
until they have determined that the Nizam-e Adl has been
implemented. This, it appears, is a determination that only the
Taliban are competent to make.... Meanwhile, the crimes committed
by the militants, many of them criminals, will be forgotten. How
this will be in accord with Sharia law only Sufi Mohammad can tell
us."

"Politics As A Redundant Superstructure," an op-ed by Shafqat
Mahmood in the centrist national English daily "The News" (cir.
55,000) (04/17)

"This pervasive fear of creeping Talibanization is not surprisingly,
the main topic of conversation at social gatherings these days. I
have never in recent memory heard so many people talk of finding
safe havens abroad. Those that have already acquired citizenship in
some western country, and there are many among the elite who have,
are looked at with envy. Those who were not so astute are now
trolling the internet to search for ways to get out.... It is not
so much the Nizam-e-Adl itself that is bothersome to people.... The
real disappointment is that the Pakistani state, its institutions
and its political forces have caved in so quickly."

"Wages Of Fear And Appeasement," an op-ed by Ayaz Amir in the
centrist national English daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (04/17)

"When a state and its military forces mentally reconcile themselves
to defeat, one can only mourn the event. There is nothing left to
say. It's not that we don't recognize what has just happened or
what the ANP government in the Frontier and the federal government
in Islamabad, backed by the National Assembly, have just agreed
to.... But we are trying to put a gloss on it and are putting
forward all sorts of justifications - that there was no way out and
that signing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation will bring lasting peace to
Swat and its environs - but in our heart of hearts we know that, our
courage having fled and no vision worth the name to guide us, we
have acquiesced in a great act of surrender."

"The Swat Agreement," an op-ed by M.A. Niazi in the center-right
national English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000) (04/17)

"That (Nizam-e-Adl) happened while Pakistan was being visited by the
sponsor in Congress of the enhancement of U.S. aid to Pakistan,
since the timing of the implementation was purely in the hands of
the President, and while he set a new precedent by referring the
Regulation to Parliament, even though he didn't have to, it is a
fairly logical conclusion that President Asif Zardari wanted the
international community, well, the U.S., to know that he promulgated
the Regulation under the pressure of Parliament. His need to
distance himself from the Regulation was probably explained by the
unfavorable reaction of the Obama Administration, which seemed to
feel that the Regulation meant that human rights would now be
violated in Swat.... The state is still primarily concerned with
American aid, and the rigmarole of presenting the Regulation to
Parliament, was followed to convince the USA that the government was
functioning in difficult conditions. Thus the bringing of peace to
Malakand Division was not the purpose so much as ensuring the flow
of dollars."

"Beyond The 'Original Sin'," an op-ed by Ayesha Siddiqa in the
Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily "Dawn"
(cir. 55,000) (04/17)

"In today's Pakistan, the common man listens to the religious right
and the militants because there is no one out there willing to
challenge the interpretation presented by the religious and
political right. Since we do not investigate issues pertaining to
religion, there is no point looking at that route.... If things
continue this way, it won't be too far when our liberal elite will
have to escape to the rest of the world, just like the Afghan elite
did during the 1990s."

"I Want My Country Back," an op-ed by Sehar Tariq in the centrist
national English daily "The News" (cir. 55,000) (04/17)

"The Parliament by endorsing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (NAR) has
heralded the end of Pakistan as I knew and loved it. Today, the
elected representatives of the people turned Pakistan into
Talibanization. Today we handed over a part of the country to them.
I wonder how much longer before we surrender it all. Today we
legislated that a group of criminals would be in charge of governing
and dispensing justice in a part of Pakistan according to their own
obscurantist views.... A law that does not apply equally to all men
and women is not worthy of being called a law.... Taliban is an
insult to my Pakistan. I want my country back."

"Pakistan Challenge And U.S.," an op- by Syed Ali Zafar in the
center-right national English daily "The Nation" (cir. 20,000)
(04/17)

"The world will however support Pakistan only up to a limit and
there are certain conditionalities which must be applied to us for
our own good. A welcome and dramatic change in dispensation of
economic and military aid from the U.S. is that this time
procedures, checks and balances will be put into place to see that
money is spent for the people.... U.S. has decided to play a more
positive role in building up Pakistan's relationship with India and
Afghanistan which too augurs well for the future."

"Mock War And Fake Heroes," an op-ed by Imdad Soomro in Hyderabad
based liberal and independent Sindhi Daily "Ibrat" (Cir. 80,000)
(04/17)

"It is unfortunate that opposing Taliban is considered as supporting
the U.S. agenda. Nawaz Sharif exploited civil society to fulfill his
own agenda, now can civil society get him on board for protecting
civil liberties and women rights? Will civil society come out from
their ivory tower? Late Benazir Bhutto did not stand just for
hoisting flag at Chief Justice's residence, she was a liberal and
secular voice. Will those who claimed to realize her vision come
out in streets again?"

"Friends Of Pakistan Meeting: Hopes And Fears," an editorial in the
Lahore-based populist center-right Urdu daily "Khabrain" (cir.
50,000) (04/17)

"In the past, whenever IMF, World Bank and the U.S. have provided
aid to Pakistan, they compelled Pakistan to agree to the attached
conditions as well. The humiliating conditions Obama administration
has attached to the Kerry-Lugar bill are still echoing. We hope
that the Friends of Pakistan will provide unconditional assistance
to Pakistan and will not try to influence Pakistan's policies in
return."
Patterson