Pakistani Newspapers Critical of Bush Policy

The USG Open Source Center translates excerpts from Pakistani newspaper editorials concerning the visit over the weekend of US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Islamabad. The visit has generated controversy in the United States, as well, since Negroponte declined publicly to condemn Musharraf’s dismissal of the Supreme Court.

Pakistan: Urdu Press Roundup on Visit of US Deputy Secretary of State
Pakistan — OSC Summary
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 . . .

The following is a roundup of excerpts from editorials and a report on the visit of the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Pakistan, published in the 20 November 2007 editions of six Urdu dailies:

Nawa-e Waqt Magazine Report Sees US Pursuing Its Own Agenda

Discussing the news conference addressed by the US diplomat on the conclusion of his visit, the report states: “Deviating from the real topic during his news conference before his departure, US Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte made mention of the unprecedented economic development and added opportunities for women under Musharraf. An official in the US Embassy says that the US deputy secretary had raised the issue of US assistance, including military assistance for Pakistan, in his meeting with President Musharraf. According to the official, Negroponte told the Pakistani leader that they were facing pressure from the Congress to take some punitive steps, including a cut in aid. During the visit, the US deputy secretary held two meetings with Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kiyani. It is a fact that he spent more time with Gen Kiyani than with Gen Musharraf. The US diplomat says that this should not be made a basis for any speculation. Negroponte said that he had asked Gen Musharraf to fulfill his pledge of quitting the post of Army chief. He said that, unfortunately, recent measures, including the gagging of the media and the arrest and detention of political and human rights activists are contrary to all the reforms that were introduced during the recent years. He said that a continuation of this policy would reverse the progress Pakistan had made.”

Islam Editorial Alleges US Wants to Protect Its Own Interest in Pakistan

Reading between the lines of the visit of John Negroponte to Pakistan, the editorial remarks: “The visit of the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Pakistan was part of the same efforts to protect its own interests. Although addressing a news conference after meeting President Gen Pervez Musharraf, he said that he had demanded to lift the state of emergency, remove the curbs on the media, besides stressing the need to release detained political activists. According to many analysts, the real agenda of the visit was not the lifting of emergency and establishment of genuine democracy in Pakistan but securing assurances about the protection of US interests in the future political setup in the country. He succeeded in this objective to a great extent.”

Pakistan Editorial Doubts US Intentions Behind ‘Demands’

Questioning the US sincerity in the establishment of democratic rule and the lifting of the state of emergency in Pakistan, the editorial says: “The United States started expressing concern when emergency was imposed in Pakistan due to an extraordinary situation. At this juncture, it started lamenting for the people of Pakistan and the moderate elements. Instead of supporting the interests of the people of Pakistan, the US demands are covertly trying to accomodate the interests of Washington and the multinational companies. These companies want to have a conducive environment in Pakistan in which they could buy Pakistan’s assets and indulge in economic plunder.”

Ausaf Editorial Claims Caretaker Government Not Acceptable to US

Highlighting the visit of Negroponte to Pakistan during which he did not meet any official of the caretaker government, the editorial comments: “John Negroponte’s failure to meet the caretaker prime minister indicates that the United States has not wholeheartedly accepted the interim government formed under the emergency with a view to hold elections. It also shows that the United States has some reservations about it. The steps taken by President Musharraf in the future will comprehensively prove how far Negroponte has succeeded in exerting influence on him.”

Jang Editorial Sees Musharraf Govt Weaken if it Fails to Lift Emergency

Discussing the meeting between President Musharraf and the visiting US diplomat, the editorial states: “While answering a question about removing restrictions imposed on the media, lifting of emergency, and release of detained political workers, the US Deputy Secretary of State said that President Musharraf had pledged to take necessary steps because diplomacy failed to give any immediate results. If Musharraf, however, fails to lift the emergency, the capability of his government to hold elections in an acceptable manner will weaken. President Musharraf should move the process of political evolution forward by taking the necessary steps.”

Khabrain Editorial Highlights Economic Impact of Prevailing Situation

Urging the county’s political parties not to expand their protest to a level where the agitation may have adverse impact on economic growth, the editorial comments: “While demanding of President Musharraf to lift the emergency, and doff uniform, the US Secretary of State John Negroponte also said, ‘the people of Pakistan have seen unprecedented economic growth during the past few years.’ If the opposition parties create an unfavorable law and order situation in the country by boycotting the elections and resorting to agitation, the economic growth will no more be unprecedented.” ‘