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Lahore Bombings: Indians Are Suspects, So Are Americans

March 16, 2010

US Ambassador complains to Pakistani Government that media reports have exposed the location of American residences inside Lahore’s military zone, but fails to mention why US personnel with diplomatic cover have been found at wrong places, sometimes carrying weapons that diplomats are not supposed to…

Lahore’s military zone is not only exposed to covert Indian operatives but also to undercover US agents with their suspicious heavy-duty equipment placed in several houses inside a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military area. This has been going on since 2007.


Ahmed Quraishi | Special Report

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The eastern city of Lahore is exposed not only to the Indians who have been sending terrorists to plant bombs in public places for the past quarter of a century, but also to the Americans who expanded their covert presence inside Pakistan in the last three years of President Musharraf’s rule.  After the return to democracy in 2008, the US presence [beyond diplomatic requirements or disguised under diplomatic cover] is reported to have increased manifold.

Last year, Pakistanis were stunned to watch several incidents where US citizens were caught by the Military Police at checkpoints leading up to the city’s military zone known as Cantt.  Most of the time, these US individuals refused to say what business took them to the military area. The US Consulate in Lahore is located far away from this zone, which compounded the mystery. These US nationals also refused to allow the police to check their vehicles, which is a standard procedure that all Pakistanis undergo considering the terrorist attacks. On a couple of occasions, US vehicles whose drivers refused to cooperate with MP caused long queues at checkpoints. Military Police officers impounded these vehicles. This led to US officials complaining to their media that Pakistan was ‘harassing’ US diplomats.

But the truth is that the Americans have covertly maintained an outpost of several houses in a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military zone. This zone is so sensitive that a half-constructed Sheraton Hotel lies abandoned on one of Cantt’s main streets because the Pakistani military complained that the new hotel’s upper floors provided an easy view of the residence of the commander of the Pakistan Army Corp that guards Pakistan’s northeastern border with India.

This makes the covert US presence in this area intriguing to say the least. The exact location of these houses, in the elite Sarwar Colony, is shown in the pictures that accompany this report. Most of the residents of this colony are senior retired Pakistani military officers. A handful of them have apparently leased out their homes to the Americans at exorbitant rates that far exceed the normal level of leased property rates in the Colony, according to a fascinating expose published by TheNation and is reproduced below in full.

Why are we talking about a few houses rented out by Americans linked to US government in a sensitive part of the eastern city?

The reason is a wave of terror targeting Lahore over the past two years. This is not to suggest that the US government has something to do with this.  The suspicion centers on local terrorists indirectly or directly aided by intelligence operatives from multiple countries based in Afghanistan.  The point here is that the city of Lahore is exposed not only to local terrorists working with foreign handlers, but also to Indians and possibly to private American security contractors. These contractors expanded their presence in Pakistan in the past two years, mostly using diplomatic cover. The US Embassy in Islamabad under the incumbent Ambassador has been instrumental in pushing for an expanded role for private US defense contractors in Pakistan over the past two years.

Many Pakistanis feel that such penetration of Pakistan by foreign countries is detrimental to our national security and has unnecessarily exposed us to outsiders pursuing interests that may not overlap with our own.

Today, the US Embassy in Islamabad leaked key points of a letter that US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson has sent to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In the letter, Ambassador Patterson complained about TheNation report on the American presence in Cantt, Lahore. More interestingly, she made a veiled threat that Pak-US relations would suffer if those Americans became targets for a terror attack. The letter was leaked to the Dawn newspaper.

The most interesting part of her letter was an acknowledgment on her part that the security of US diplomats in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan. This is important because it was Ms Patterson who only a year ago was lobbying the Pakistani government to allow US private defense contractors into Pakistan and was running from one government office to another to ensure that these private US contractors are allowed to carry banned weapons anywhere in the country.

When Ms. Patterson was asked why she needed these private security contractors, she said it was to protect US diplomats. Critics said that was the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan and that the Ambassador should not cross a line. Her acknowledgment of this indicates a shift. Probably it has to do with recent understandings between Army Chief Gen. Kayani and US military officials where the army chief reportedly asked US to stop indirect methods of coercion, including media leaks, the role of private contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the role of CIA in the region.

So how did the Pakistani military allow such a breach to occur in a sensitive area of Lahore?

One explanation is that the Americans moved with their gadgetry and equipment to this place sometime in late 2006 and early 2007. This means that the arrangement had the blessings of former President Musharraf.  This is significant because it means the US presence in this sensitive location is part of the sovereign understandings that Pakistan entered with the United States during that time. And no matter how damaging this is for Pakistani security interests, Islamabad and the Pakistani military are forced to put up with this foreign presence for as long as those understandings are effective.

Another explanation is that Mr. Musharraf’s regime allowed the Americans to setup shop here without the full knowledge of all the relevant branches of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.  If this is the case, then it is alarming indeed.

This story becomes relevant in the aftermath of a series of attacks in Lahore over the past two years, including one that targeted a visiting Sri Lankan cricket team. The strange part is that all of these attacks either target Pakistan’s allies [Sri Lankans, Chinese] or attack ordinary Pakistanis to kill the largest numbers of them.  Americans or American and British interests have never been attacked in this manner throughout this so-called war on terror that Pakistan has been executing on America’s behalf. If anything, much of this terror is linked to a proxy militia in South Waziristan that claims to be a Pakistani Taliban but receives all its arms and funding from US-controlled Afghanistan where the Indians also maintain a vast intelligence network aimed at Pakistan.

For a list of recorded incidents in Pakistan where private US mercenaries or defense contractors were caught at places where they should not be, see this story, What Robert Gates Didn’t Say – And US Media Hides – About Blackwater In Pakistan.

The question is: What are the Americans doing in Cantt’s Sarwar Colony?

The easiest answer is taking up residence. But there is something more to this than homemaking. The location indicates that the Americans want to keep an eye on movements and chatter in Cantt, which could indicate where Pakistan’s relations with India are headed. Washington is keen to convince Pakistan that India is trustworthy enough for Pakistan to move its army units away from India’s border and get busy in fighting America’s war in Afghanistan.

The Americans could also be interested in keeping an eye on some of the nearby military installations, including one of the largest Pakistan Air Force bases, and also a couple of nuclear installations. There are indications that the US is also interested in seeing the war on terror extended to the heartland of Punjab province in the mistaken belief that this would hurt the base of Pakistani military [Indian intelligence analysts have convinced their American counterparts that Pakistan’s military is all about Punjab province and hitting this province can help subdue Pakistan’s military and ensure its full alignment with US objectives.]

Here is the report published by TheNation on Feb. 21 on the covert US presence in Sarwar Colony in Cantt, Lahore, since 2007 and how scores of Pakistani families have become unwilling neighbors of foreigners they don’t want to see around:

“The mystery of why US personnel were being constantly caught entering into the sensitive area of Lahore Cantonment and thereby getting caught by the Military Police, has finally been resolved. However, in the process some serious questions have arisen.

In 2007, under the Musharraf regime, Americans moved into Sarwar Colony, located behind CSD Cantt just off Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Road. This gated colony contains around 200-250 houses and they are owned by retired or serving generals of Pakistan Army. The Americans have been comfortable ensconced here in a few rented houses since 2007 in what is a highly sensitive location. So question number one: Why were the Americans given permission to locate themselves in this area and who gave the permission?

Their activities really caught on only recently when they acquired Houses 87 and 88 (see pictures), ostensibly for the US embassy staff relocated from Peshawar to Lahore! The rents paid for these houses are also far higher than the average for the Colony which is around Rs 150,000 maximum. The Americans are paying around Rs 320,000 for each house per month.

Towards the end of the last year and the start of this year, the Americans intercepted at the Cantt bridge several times were all those coming to this location. However, these Americans refused to tell Military Police officials what their destination was inside Lahore Cantt. So question number two is: Why, if the Americans had rented these houses genuinely for residential accommodation? Linked to this is question three: How come the Military Police were not in on this vital piece of information? Why were they being kept in the dark?

When these houses were rented, in the first three months high security measures were taken for them -grilling, the glass was all changed probably to bullet proof, and infrared security devices were installed with a lighting system. Then, four months ago, big container trailers entered the colony (which is restricted) about seven or eight in number, and they were off loaded into the houses in the predawn hours. After the offloading, the security of the premises was given to Elite Force Punjab and Wackenhut private security guards. The covert usage of these buildings became apparent because anyone seen coming too close to the properties was mistreated and threatened.

Children playing in the park right in front of these two houses often threw balls inside the porches of these two houses. Usually Americans come out swearing. Once, children reported that a growling and angry American came out and flattened the ball before returning it to them.

Some of the Pakistani guards outside the two houses told residents in the neighbourhood that the Americans were transporting and installing hi-tech equipment in the houses. At least one resident in the neighbourhood reports that some of the guards took photographs of some of this equipment and showed them to the residents. One of the residents who saw the pictures reports that a US citizen was watching the guard from inside the house and came out, snatched the mobile phone and threatened the resident not to contact the guards again or come near the house.

But the real issue and core question is: Why the Americans are being allowed to use houses in this sensitive area of Lahore cantonment when there now exists a decision of the Government that foreigners cannot even enter the cantonment areas without prior permission?

To find out how the local residents are taking to their American neighbours, TheNation sent its reporter to the Colony and discovered a terrorised Pakistani community right in the heart of their own country. His account speaks for itself since of some unidentified private American security guards equipped with M4s. The offloaded stuff was professionally packed in layers of plastic and wood.”

Ahmed Quraishi

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25 comments

  1. Are we going to continue chatter about it? Give me a gun and i’ll take them out one by one!


    • hey there are no indians or amricans in these bomb blasts or have any hand in it .either keep writing on this baseless fabricated article . you will never be able to see or prove any american on indian or raw whatever cause there is not any , however there are many people within taliban who wants to revenge killing of punjabi taliban leader you know what or for whom i am saying , stop , crush or change mindset of talibanis to make pakistan peaceful and prosperous.cause just blaming whom so ever you dont like. we americans ARE HERE TO STABILIZE PAKISTAN.IF WANT TO DESTABILIZE YOU GUYS WE CAN DO SO SITTING IN USA WHATS TO NEED OF SPENDING BILLIONS AND GETTING OUR TROOPS KILLED HERE.CUM ON GROW UP .


      • I bet Vietnam was bitter, and I bet soon Afghanistan will be even a more bitter, We never asked for your help and stop meddling in other countries business and dont project as you are a concerned party. You are 8500 miles away from us. What interest does Pakistan serve you? You are nothing but Greedy corporations looting the wealth of other countries by hook or crook! Destabilize Pakistan? Son just think of getting your 60,000 so called strong marines in Afghanistan to safety. They are all sitting duck at moment!

        We can handle our business better by ourselves. PEACE to you 8500 miles away my friend!


      • >> You are 8500 miles away from us. What interest does Pakistan serve you?

        As of September 12, 2001, that argument no longer carries any merit. The price of harboring terrorists in Pakistan is continued US involvement. Either root them out yourselves, or watch and complain while we root them out.

        The third option is that America can hold the people and nation of Pakistan directly responsible for the future acts of terrorist organizations operating with Pakistan as sanctuary. I can’t imagine why any Pakistani would want that. We invaded Iraq for less. It would be logistically infeasible for us to occupy Pakistan directly, but hey, look, you have a powerful enemy on your border!

        It is an Arab saying that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

        Stop trying to make Americans into your enemy. The price of success in such an endeavor is very, very high.

        Another reason for America’s continued interest in Pakistan is that a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India would have regional and quite possibly global consequences depending on how many weapons were detonated and the resulting fallout patterns.

        Never mind the humanitarian considerations of millions of dead — if the people of Pakistan and India REALLY want to commit mutual thermonuclear suicide, have at it. We probably can’t stop you. However, the only groups whose interest would be served by such a monstrous event would be the aforementioned terrorists.

        Pakistan is a nuclear power. Nuclear powers need to clean their own house.

        >> Son just think of getting your 60,000 so called strong marines in Afghanistan to safety. They are all sitting duck at moment!

        Marines shoot back. Marines are expendable, and they know it, and they serve our country anyway. The Marine Corps motto is “semper fi” or “Always Faithful.” Google up ‘Chosan reservoir’ and learn what a Marine division trapped behind enemy lines can do.

        Perhaps the Taliban should have thought about what would happen when they decided to harbor terrorists. A lot more of them would be alive today if they had.


      • I find your comment is far from reality,

        9/11 was a fake attack carried out by your own GOV and i don’t need to prove you that. Under a false pretext they waged WAR. Ask you GOV, where your tax money is going? It’s a pity that with all that Budget & high tech equipment & so many agencies, it’s strange that they still failed to protect their main land!

        2nd where are the WMD of Iraq if you so shamelessly admit that you Invaded Iraq for less. I bet policies to overcome your Health Bills & Bankruptcy are flawless. “Hey no problem! let’s invade a country and rob them to meet our expenses.”
        And Dream ON about taking over Pakistan, We are no Iraq or Afghanistan or even JAPAN! We are a Nuclear state! Forget us, you don’t have guts to take over Iran even. You are no more a friend than an enemy and time has proven it over and over again. The threats are useless to us as we have been tolerating such nonsense from India & know very well how to treat them, So spare me!

        Nuclear Exchange? hmmm.. Atleast it’ll be between Nuclear Armed Countries unlike America being the only country to actually use it, that too against a Non Nuclear state. WOW, what American bravado!
        Japanese really did kick ass!

        Well dear the Soviets had their asses kicked in Afghanistan & so’ll the Americans. Just wait & see. Your Admin is already half way begging for a safe passage for your brave MARINES to exit, and that too from the Taliban.

        Perhaps the Americans should have thought about it before they entered Afghanistan & should have taken the friendly advice from the former super powers that Afghanistan is no joke & has a history and is well known as ‘the graveyard of emperors!’


  2. VERY MUCH TRUE.ALL TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN IS BECAUSE OF USA AND INDIA WHO CONTINUE TO FINANCE AND ARM THEM DESPITE SHOWING THE EVIDENCE FOR THE SAME


  3. THAT IS EVEN TRUE FOR INDIAN OCCUPIED KASHMIR
    AND THAT IS DELIBERATELY BLAMED ON PAKISTAN
    http://www.pakistannews.net/story/612323#reply


  4. The residents of this colony should be guided and encouraged by sympathisers of Pakistan to take up this issue and take it to the Lahore high court or the supreme court and let the court decide who is fault and what should be done to remove these foriegn elements from such sensitive localities.


  5. kill them
    bomb them
    kick them out of there,out of lahore,out of our pakistan
    i wish i cud kill them myself
    why army is letting this happen
    kick this gov
    they wont even let this come on main stream media
    blackwater,dyncorp,xe or whatever will be failed in their dirty goals inshallah
    spread the world
    pakistan zindabaad


  6. I heard that Gen. Kayani is a tough guy who the american say they cannot understand. How come this tough guy is letting this happen to his own security sensitive area. Even if there was some sort of agreement that Mush the Mirasi – Tabalchi may be did with the americans it cannot be on the cost of our military and civilian securities and casualties. The tough guy should tell the americans that he is not mush and its me who will not let this happen to my military and civilians. Gilani the PM should also take the action and these thugs CIA agents, blackwater, XE, Dyncorp or whoever is operating here should be kicked out of pakistan. Who the hell is Anne Patterson telling pakistan that our relationship will suffer if these thugs are not protected? What friendship and relationship Anne s talking about, it is backstabbing and we cannot tolerate these terrorists coming to our pakistan to play with our nuclear and military installations. I hope that Gen. Kayani will deal with this matter with iron fist. Shame on these so called frieds of pakistan.


  7. One more suggestions these US terrorists should be handed over to punjab police for chitrol.


  8. ya we strongeli condemn but tell me where is Isi where is army i think our army is tout they r talking bribe and no one is here to save Pakistan i dont have any trust in army>>


  9. If US is trying to destabilize Pakistan..why dont Pakistan army cut off ties with US..instead of bitching about “corrupt civilians”.Its not like civilians are all powerful or something..they just have municipal control over Pakistan like Mayor of Kabul Karzai. Oh wait! May be Pak Army is letting civilians “rule” is to not upset US Congress/Senate which will stop billions of dollars of aid to very grateful Pakistanis.


  10. these homes that the americans are residing in near the pakistani neuclear installations site surely didnt happen overnight somebody in the pakistani higher raky must be held accountable for this breach i mean its just to close for comfort to have them this close
    nujat pakistani pakhtun


  11. Just capture Parvez and hand him over to the tribals. Believe me, this war will end !

    Foreign agents might continue with their work but the majority of the TTP fighters, who are angry and whose anger was deliberately fuelled by Parvez, would stop their fight against Pakistan.


  12. i totaly agree with your coment one hundred pre cent
    adeel saab
    nujat pakistani pakhtun


  13. Folks, have a look at this before pointing fingers:


  14. And another one:


    • @Reality bites
      Why doesn’t India go to Interpol if you have all the evidence?? Why doesn’t it find out more as to how Karkare died coz his wife is alleging that the government is covering up his death?? Why didn’t the Indian police go to the site when Karkare and his men kept calling for over 45 minutes for back up??


  15. Also check this out:


    • @Reality bites
      Hey freak go read ‘who killed Karkare’ in that book the Indian author states that Kasab was handed over from Nepal to India! Possibly trained by RAW than to conduct 26/11!


      • Please feel free to believe what you like… Time will tell what is right and what is wrong… Take care…


      • @Reality Bites
        Yes I will believe whatever I want to and thankfully some Indians with brains even are getting to know the real truth. Was really happy to see an Indian’s letter in KT after the Pune attacks happened that if the officials had read the book ‘Who killed Karkare’ they would that LeT was not behind Mumbai attacks it was someone else!



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