Life threat: A new weapon to silence US critics

November 13, 2009

Ahmed Quraishi

ISLAMABAD – A rumpus is brewing in a small corner of the Pakistani media over the safety of a New Delhi-based American journalist. Being a US citizen has its benefits and Mr. Mathew Rosenberg is lucky to have a few coming to his defence in Pakistan. A couple of months ago a Pakistani journalist’s life came under threat in Swat. He escaped to Washington where he was humiliated on landing, kept in detention for two weeks and is entangled now in a legal mess. Mr. Rosenberg’s self-appointed defenders in the Pakistani media silently watched that story without uttering a word, let alone writing editorials. Another reporter, Fawad Shah, had to leave Peshawar after he broke the Blackwater story and got threats from US personnel. he escaped to Iran and then into Armenia but had to return eventually and finally chose to go public rather than simply lying low in fear. We saw no one from the US media or Pakistani media, barring the story in TheNation, take up Fawad’s case. Obviously, there are benefits to defending a US citizen as compared to a Pakistani one. Who will reward you for defending Pakistan, right?

Mr. Rosenberg works for Wall Street Journal’s India bureau, but has been spending time in our tribal belt for the past few months. Interestingly, the US media, which has been treating Pakistan as the enemy for the past five years, prefers to cover Islamabad from New Delhi. Tells you something about the mindset.

TheNation’s Mr. Kaswar Klasra published a story on Nov. 5 revealing that, “Agents of notorious spy agencies are using journalistic cover to engage themselves in intelligence activities in NWFP and FATA.” Mr. Rosenberg’s name appeared in the story. To be fair, Mr. Klasra telephoned Mr. Rosenberg in New Delhi as part of his research and gave him space in his story to defend himself, including quoting him say, “Let me tell you that I am not working on any hidden agenda.”

Fair enough, right? Not for the small and loosely knit group of pro-US commentators who have become vocal in Pakistan over the past few months with the rise in US meddling in our affairs. This group includes a few academic types, commentators and those who are paid for providing ‘consultancy’ on how to spend US aid in Pakistan. This group is now raising alarm over Mr. Klasra’s report, accusing his newspaper of ‘endangering the life’ of a US citizen, who is back in the Indian capital anyway.

This has become the weapon of choice to intimidate anyone who criticizes US policies and wrongs in Pakistan. Do this and you are instantly accused of ‘endangering the lives of US citizens’ in the country. I first heard this line when I reported earlier this year how a US diplomat used a house in Islamabad to arrange a private meeting between an Indian diplomat and several senior Pakistani bureaucrats. To my surprise, a Pakistani journalist telephoned me on behalf of the US diplomat to say my reporting endangered the diplomat’s life. The foreign office later issued a statement warning government servants to refrain from attending such meetings without prior permission. [In October, the Foreign Office had written to all embassies and high commissions banning any direct meetings between foreign diplomats and Pakistani ministers without prior clearance from the Foreign Office. The move came after frequent direct meetings between US and British diplomats with two senior federal government ministers.]



  1. To use journalistic cover is only one part of american collusive networking. Pakistan is under attack by cheap US and western espionage tactics from all fronts, i.e. economical through IMF , so called suicide bombing, fear and chaos, frustration, intimidation, and so on.The purpose is to bring Pakistani people to a point where , they would be compelled to ‘Welcome” the architects of terror and fear in Pakistan in the name of war on terror.

    • Don’t you think Pakistan richly deserves it… given its history of selling its soul to the Americans, in order to be able to bleed India with thousand cuts…. ?

      • @neel
        You talk as if India is full of saints and they have never done anything to harm Pakistan.

        Get real!

  2. Ive got only one word form them, COWARDS =)

  3. Haha. U actually made me laugh with ur stupidity .. rofl. So sad of u to think this way but just so that u may know i dont write column.

  4. @Zaid Hamid

    U r a fake bl**dy Indian Hindu.

  5. coward indians n their uterly coward white folks can only threat innocent ppl ….

    • @ junaid,
      Pakistan has had six decades of close relationship with the Americans and the British.

      Since when did you Pakistanis discovere that these white folks are not good people …. ?

      • If Pakistan has any ‘close’ relationship, it is and always was with China. Which is obviously what you are S-s-s-scared of, i know. 2 Nuclear armed nations on your western/northern border would give anyone nightmares, specially fuck ass hindus like yourself.

        Long term stragetic intersts of the US coincide with India, in order to contain China/Pak alliance. But it will fail, i assure you. And then perhaps when the US will realize that it needs to court Pakistan to save its own ass, we’ll make a few demands which they will have to agree, but it will be a sad end to India’s dreams of having a western buffer in the shape of afghansitan. Even the best laid plans fail my dear hindu.

  6. I am not seeing any chinese interest in pakistna.. they just have business interest and nothing else.. They are looking us as buyers of their arms, goods & lot of things.. their investments in Gwadar also in line with their business interest.. They are not investing education or not even donating for IDPs .. All these years we were depedent on west and especially saying ourseves that we are clsoe ally of US.. but its high time we should realize its not US, Its not china but only we can help ourselves.. Its mere disillusion that china will get into conflict for the sole interests of pakistan..

    • while other nations have pulled out their personnel from Pakistan like engineers or consultants who were aiding projects, China is the only country that has not done so,and at great risk to those citizens lives. Business intersts? Sure every nation has intersts, that is the way international politics works. We have business intersts with the Chinese as well. But the question is, do those intersts encroach on the soverignity and objectives of the state of Pakistan? No they do not. In fact they are in agreement with those objectives. The US, in contrast, (to quote Chavez), disposes of allies like used condoms. Obviously, at the end of the day, whatever happens to Pakistan, we ourselves are responsble. But that doesn’t mean you characterize the Chinese as an unreliable ally as there could be nothing further from the truth.

      • @ cheeta,
        China / Pakistan alliance to counter US- India……….. !

        The Chinese are pragmatic people, surely not in denial and not halucinating.

        The clearest sign of that is (1) improving China India relations (2) China not supporting Pakistan on Kargil (3) China not offering a penny on IDPs.

        In the chess board of Geopolitics, China and India might balance the Americans some day…. !

        Guess where Pakistan will be then ….. ?

      • hahahaha….you are the one who is hallucinating dear…..China and India getting closer????? So is that why you are welcoming dalai lama into your disputed border region???? as a goodwill gesture right??? Oh, and please don’t spew such idiocy as to suggest that China and India will be allied against USA. Maybe in another 100 years when the world is a different place. By then India probably won’t even exist.But i don’t blame you for thinking this way, because deep down you need these fantasies to allay your fears. 2 great powers cannot exist in the same region at the same time, its just common sense that 1 of them will eventually be superior. You are so desperate to be recognized as the regional power that your relations can never be good with any neighboring country unless that country submits to your hegemony, which isn’t gonna happen soon.

      • You’re missing key points:

        Yes Indian and China migh not agree now, but there are far more bigger issues at stake, which will see Pakistan perish, if it follows it current path of confronting India;

        The situation since the Indira Gandhi regime oversaw Pakistan into separate nations in 1971 in the face of the combined Chinese, Arab, Pakistan and (more subtle European) military/economic alliance against India in 1971, is very interesting…

        Fact is, even the Indian military which saw the demise of the Chinese, Arab, Pakistan alliance in 1971, is only a shadow of the Indian military today; Given this, chances are China will be quite surprised in a future conflict with India.

        Bottem line is that interesting Indian military strategy goes back about 340BC, to the time of a gentleman called Kautilya, who defeated Alexander’s army (Of Macedonia/Greece) en-route through Iran…

        Kautilya’s writings were the basis of Rome’s Machiavelli’s own book of modern day’s military-politic strategy, which was then spread by Rome through the “civilized world”.

        Going by this, chances are the Arabs or others who support China or Pakistan may have borders and cities rearranged (And not by India).

        Other interesting players like Iran, etc (where love is not lost for Pakistan & some of their Arab friends), may be compelled to jump in to make things interesting… Not to mention Russia and Israel, who may have scores to settle of their own… And that’s ignoring Vietnam, Indonesia, etc who may require some border re-alignment with China…

        ..Of course, Tibetans/Muslims of Xinjiang province of China, (Not to mention the 35 million Pakistan Shias) will want a say too.

        So it will likely be an exciting international free-for-all, with all the right players wanting to settle all the old scores once and for all.

        (Pakistan may think instigating teror in Kashmir, etc is a “fine” thing, but they may be missing a bigger future to come)

  7. @John Connor,

    Aur phir tumharee aankh khul gaee,and you found yourself in a swine yard.

    BTW,how is that swine Modi? Is he still alive?

  8. Hi,
    What is keeping nations intact ?
    Lets analyze……

    States of USA: The English Language !
    Provinces of Pakistan: Islam !
    China: Ancient culture !
    India: Extreme poverty !

    Abject poverty, hunger, disease, etc, etc, etc ; These are the under currents of the shelter-less Indian mass society. Add caste discrimination, and here’s the recipe for a perfect disaster.

    India is already divided; there’s no unified caste, no common language, no common religion.

    Its just a matter of time when physical boundaries will become visible.

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