NEW YORK: As a diplomatic standoff between Pakistan and the United States festers, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned on Friday that Pakistan risked major instability at home and a hampered war effort in next-door Afghanistan if it didn’t implement reforms and stop fomenting anti-American sentiment. In a speech at the Asia Society, Ms Clinton said Pakistani cooperation was critical to the success of the fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists in neighbouring Afghanistan. She also said it was “no secret that we have not always seen eye to eye with Pakistan”. “Pressure from the Pakistani side will help push the Taliban towards the negotiating table and away from Al Qaeda,” she said. Relations with Pakistan have plummeted to their lowest point in recent years since the arrest of an American citizen in Lahore. The employee, Raymond Davis, shot and killed two Pakistani men he says were trying to rob him on Jan 27. While reviewing President Barack Obama’s policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ms Clinton stressed that the transition from US to Afghan-led security in Afghanistan would “be formally launched next month, with troop reductions starting in July and continuing based on conditions on the ground. It will be completed by the end of 2014”. REFERENCE: Stop fomenting anti-Americanism, Hillary urges Pakistan By Masood Haider | From the Newspaper http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/stop-fomenting-anti-americanism-hillary-urges-pakistan.html
Hillary Clinton on Pakistan - Part - 1
Hillary Clinton on Pakistan - Part - 2
LAHORE: The US government is considering a ban on issuance of visa to those people who supported the assassination of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer earlier this month. Sources in Washington told Daily Times that the Congress took serious view of cheering, supporting and condoning Taseer’s assassination by one of his bodyguards in Islamabad on January 4, or for publicly encouraging, directly or indirectly, the killing of “blasphemers.” They said the US government was preparing a list of Pakistani journalists, parliamentarians, lawyers and religious leaders who would not be issued visas or allowed to travel to the US for supporting the assassination of Taseer and lionising his assassin. They said journalists Meher Bokhari, Ansar Abbasi, Majeed Nizami, Irfan Siddiqui and Mir Shakilur Rehman, MNAs Shaikh Waqas Akram and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, lawyer Ashraf Gujjar, and religious leaders Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, Syed Munnawar Hassan, Asadullah Bhutto, Maulana Shah Turabul Haq Qadri, Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, Syed Mazhar Saeed Kazmi, Allama Syed Riaz Hussain Shah, Allama Zamir Sajid, Haneef Tayyab, Shahid Ghauri, Farid Paracha, Mufti Naeem of Jamia Binoria, Maulana Asad Thanvi, Maulana Shabbir, Pir Khalid Sultan, Pir Ghulam Siddiq Naqshbandi, Allama Syed Khizr Hussain Shah, Alhaj Amjad Chishti, Allama Ghulam Sarwar Hazarvi, Allama Syed Shamsuddin Bokhari, Pir Syed Ashiq Ali Shah Jilani, Mufti Muhammad Iqbal Chishti, Allama Fazal Jamil Rizvi, Agha Muhammad Ibrahim Naqshbandi Mujaddidi, Maulana Muhammad Riaz Qadri, Maulana Gulzar Naeemi, Allama Syed Ghulam Yaseen Shah, Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair, and all leaders of the Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz might face the proposed ban. REFERENCE: US mulls visa ban on several Pakistanis Staff Report Thursday, January 20, 2011 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\01\20\story_20-1-2011_pg1_6
NEW YORK: Gilani-Zardari government aides have got perturbed because of objective criticism, disclosures of corruption scandals, economic set backs, incompetence and government’s ignorance of public issues raised by the media, and have expanded their conspiracies against outstanding and bold journalists from Islamabad to Washington. Its obvious proof is a recent letter addressed after the assassination of Governor Salman Taseer to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by the leading members of the anti-Pakistan lobby Congressmen Garry Ackerman, Peter King and their two colleagues support this impression. The signatories of the letter had asked for not granting American visa to media men not condemning the killing of Salman Taseer and political and religious leaders supporting the act of the assassin. No name of any Pakistani journalist, political and religious personality was mentioned in the letter. The letter was written by only four Congressmen out of 435 who are familiar with their anti-Pakistan stance. Secretary Clinton has so far not responded to the contents of the letter but indications are there that the US State Department had prepared a list of journalists and others on whom entry in the US may be denied by cancelling or denying visas. News published in this regard had also named persons who may face the curbs. When approached, an official of the US State Department told this correspondent that he was aware about the news, adding, the designated spokesperson was only competent to comment over the subject.
When insisted, the official sought anonymity and confirmed as backgrounder the communication by the four Congressmen. However, Secretary Clinton had so far not responded to the letter, he said. He set aside the news as baseless about curbs on Pakistani journalists, saying that freedom of press and expression was the cornerstone of the US democratic system and principles of democracy. He said that neither any list of Pakistani journalists had been prepared nor it was being contemplated. The congressmen had also not mentioned names of any Pakistani newsmen in their letter. Some elements cropped up when an effort was made to dig out facts with regard to the news. They are:
1. The letter of four congressmen came into limelight during the recent brief visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Washington when the series of statements, editorials and condemnation of the killing of Salman Taseer was still on.
2. It is fact that Zardari during his stay in Washington and interactions with Americans and Pakistani diplomats had referred negatively about Pakistani media especially the Jang/Geo Group. He had tried to convince certain US officials that reports in the Pakistani media about his government were at the core of de-stabilisation of his government. In spite of will and commitments Pakistani media is the main hurdle in fulfilling the obligations of safeguarding American interests in Pakistan, he said.
3. It was in this scenario that the aides of the Zardari-Gilani government taking notice of the sentiments, perceptions and also complaints of their boss lobbied with the anti-Pakistan congressmen and made them to write a letter to Secretary Clinton. Without waiting a response or reaction from her, they also managed to get the news published about a long list of Pakistani newsmen and other leaders whose entry to the US was about to be restricted. It is interesting that the dateline of the news about the list being considered in Washington was Lahore. On the contrary the American Embassy in the country was also ignorant about any such under consideration list.
4. Informed circles are of the opinion that government aides frustrated with criticism had dispatched this story from Washington to build pressure on the media and appease President Zardari. It predominantly contained names of newsmen from the Jang Group.
No doubt the killing of Salman Taseer was a great tragedy but government aides are exploiting it for their interest and hatching conspiracies against the free media of the country and its chain has been extended up to Washington. It would have been better for them before going to such an extend that they had studied the US political system, democratic norms and informed sources of the US government. REFERENCE: Conspiracies against Pak media By Azim M Mian Sunday, January 23, 2011 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=3505&Cat=13&dt=1/23/2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011, Safar 18, 1432 A.H
How do we know these meetings didn’t include discussions of Jang Group followed by lobbying US Congressmen for a letter to be sent to Hillary Clinton? The letter to Hillary Clinton was written on 13 January 2011 – the day BEFORE the meetings. REFERENCE: First US Controls the Weather, Now Time Travel Also http://pakistanmediawatch.com/2011/01/24/first-us-controls-the-weather-now-time-travel-also/
Jang Group says anti-Pakistan lobby Congressmen Garry Ackerman but what's this?
As per a note blogger "Cafe Pyala"
Guess who was spotted on November 9 in Washington D.C. at a reception for American and Pakistani media personnel thrown by US AfPak ambassador Richard Holbrooke's media assistant Ashley Bommer? Mir Ibrahim Rehman, scion of the house of Jang and CEO of the Geo TV Network. He walked in with The Friday Times editor and Dunya TV's Najam Sethi but stayed long after Sethi left the party.
Mir Ibrahim Rehman (c) at his master's convocation earlier this year
Mir Ibrahim (MIR) apparently jetted in for a mysterious three-day visit to the US, during which, our sources say, the main objective was to convince the US administration that Geo was neither anti-US nor anti-democracy, the line being peddled by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. MIR also wished to gather official American support for the Jang Groupagainst the PPP boycott of the group as an instance of an assault on freedom of the media.
Our sources claim that MIR did not find too much traction among US officials against the idea of a media boycott, perhaps because the Obama administration itself has a similar boycott against Fox News (albeit without the shoe-throwing rent-a-demos and vile grafitti scrawlsagainst Fox News owners). However, what is particularly interesting about the Jang Group's attempts to woo the American establishment is the fact that there has been apparently a lot of discussion within the US government about whether it should support and even subsidize a media group that has no qualms about running shrill propaganda against the US, and sometimes even promoting a pro-Taliban line. In particular, Hamid Mir's contribution to whipping up Blackwater hysteria in Pakistan, Ansar Abbasi's rants about Western puppets, and the space given to nutjobs such as Zaid Hamid (Aag TV) and Ahmad Quraishi (Aag TV and The News) have apparently raised quite a few eyebrows in the US administration.
The Americans have reason to be upset with the Jang Group, and MIR has reasons to find their upset unsettling. The running of the banal American propaganda Voice of America (VoA) programme Khabron Se Aagay[Beyond the Headlines] as an 'advertorial' on Geo since 2005 has netted the Jang Group and its owners, by some accounts, millions of US taxpayer dollars. Although the exact 'compensation package' doled out to Geo by the US government is still secret, it should be noted that the deal between Geo and VoA was mediated during the Bush-Musharraf era by the then Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood and advertising whiz-kid Asif Salahuddin, the latter of whom is reputed not to touch 'small' deals. Apparently, part of MIR's discussions with the US administration included those on the future of the Geo-VoA deal.
Incidentally, while Najam Sethi was ostensibly in the US for medical check-ups and may have been present at the Bommer reception only coincidentally, as we have reported in the past, he too has been trying to persuade American-backed NGOs to fund a new 'liberal' channel to be headed by him.
Coming back to MIR, it seems that more than American upset, a potential threat of withdrawal of lucrative financial support may be the trigger for a panic at the Jang Group. As they say, bullshit may walk but it's money that talks. I have a strong feeling that you may well see the (media) house line shifting very soon. If you suddenly begin to miss the casual anti-US vitriol in the group's publications and on Geo, you'll know why. REFERENCE: Money Talks TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2010 http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2010/11/money-talks.html
Washington, D.C. - The Voice of America (VOA) will launch Beyond the Headlines-its new television program in Urdu-on Monday, Nov. 14. The half-hour program will air on GEO TV in Pakistan at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on selected international satellites, including AsiaSat (Virtual Channel 409) and IOR (Virtual Channel 420). Beyond the Headlines (Khabron se Aage), a fast-paced, contemporary production designed with young and urban Pakistanis in mind, will continue VOA's 63-year tradition of broadcasting accurate and balanced information. Programs will examine international developments, technology, politics, social issues, education, religion, sports, and entertainment. "We look forward to opening this important new channel of communication between the American people and Pakistan," said Steven J. Simmons, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees all United States international radio and television services. Simmons is chairman of the BBG's Voice of America Committee, and has played a key role in increasing radio and TV service to Pakistan, including Beyond the Headlines. "We're particularly delighted with our partnership with GEO TV, the leading cable/satellite broadcaster in the Urdu language," Simmons added. "This new program, together with our expanded radio service, demonstrates our growing commitment to reach the people of Pakistan with new, engaging programs on both radio and TV." "The links between Pakistan and the United States are strong and growing, and our new show is a reflection of that," said VOA Director David S. Jackson. "Beyond the Headlines will focus not only on the big issues of the day, but also on features, business, and culture stories that illuminate the world we live in. For example, we'll show how Pakistanis live and work and go to school in the U.S. We want to provide a unique mix of stories that viewers can't find anywhere else."
Farah Ispahani is the managing editor and executive producer for Beyond the Headlines. She joined VOA earlier this year, bringing more than 20 years of experience in print and television media at such news organizations as CNN, ABC, and NBC. Before she joined VOA, Ispahani, who is a fluent Urdu speaker, was instrumental in the launch of CNN's Paula Zahn Now and Anderson Cooper 360. Anchoring Beyond the Headlines will be Aneka Osman. A familiar face to Pakistanis, Osman worked as an English language news anchor on Pakistan Television. She has covered regional and national security issues, Pakistan-India relations, the conflict in the Middle East, and Pakistan's general elections. She has also worked on Prime Television, the UK-based Pakistani channel, and on the Business Plus Channel.
Ayaz Gul is VOA Urdu's Chief Reporter and Pakistan Coverage Coordinator for Radio Aap ki Dunyaa (Your World Radio), VOA's Urdu radio service, and Beyond the Headlines. Gul, who is based in Pakistan, has been filing on-the-scene reports in Urdu and English for VOA since 1996, and his reports are translated into numerous languages throughout VOA. Prior to joining VOA, he worked for the Japanese network NHK and for the German news agency DPA as a reporter specializing in Pakistan's foreign and domestic news. VOA's Urdu Service broadcasts 12 hours a day of news and information to millions of Pakistanis and other Urdu speakers on Radio Aap ki Dunyaa. The program is distributed by medium wave at 972 kHz, digital audio satellite, the Internet and a three-hour shortwave broadcast. The launch of Beyond the Headlines adds two-and-half hours of television to the Urdu Service's weekly broadcast schedule. The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages. REFERENCE: PRESS RELEASES VOA Launches Urdu TV For Pakistan 11/13/2005 For more information, call VOA’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959 or E-Mail email@example.com http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05111301.html
Tail Piece is "Exclusively" for the USA.
WASHINGTON, Sept 29: "If Pakistan fails, we have major problems. If Musharraf fails, hardliners could take over, or fundamentalists, or chaos. We can't let Musharraf fail." This remark is attributed to Gen Anthony C. Zinni, who retired as head of the US central command last month, in the second of a series of articles by The Washington Post examining the political and diplomatic clout of regional commanders-in-chief of the US armed forces. In the first instalment published in Thursday's issue (and reported in Dawn on Friday), it was stated that it was Gen Zinni whom Gen Musharraf had first contacted when the latter had received a "stern protest" from the US administration after his coup ousting Nawaz Sharif. In the same article, Gen Zinni had also claimed that he had persuaded the Clinton administration to keep the diplomatic door to Pakistan open rather than clamp it shut as advocated by others. The instalment published on Friday is largely confined to Gen Zinni's preoccupations with the Central Asian Republics. It says a US team will train 300 Kyrgyztanis in counter-terrorism by next year to confront the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan whose fighters had last year swept into Kyrgyzstan on their way to Uzbekistan. Gen Zinni implies that the US could endanger moderate Iranian president Mohammad Khatemi's efforts at reform by too soon showing an inclination towards backing the moderates. REFERENCE: US can't let Musharraf fail: Zinni DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending: 2000 Issue:06/ http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2000/sep30.html#usca