Durrani Finds Media Campaign against Pakistan ‘Disturbing’


Washington, DC: Ambassador Mahmud Durrani says he finds it “disturbing” that a media campaign is being run against Pakistan alleging quite falsely and unfairly that it is not pulling its weight in the war on terror and, further, that it is backing the Taliban.
He told a group of Pakistani reporters that the failings of others should not be dumped on Pakistan’s door. He said Pakistan has done everything – and then some more – to bring peace to the region in which it lives. He said those who criticize Pakistan should ask themselves how it is in Pakistan’s national interest to back the Taliban or to connive at the infiltration of fighters across the border into Afghanistan. He said the problems in Afghanistan were not Pakistan-manufactured and to treat Pakistan as a scapegoat for the failures of others was neither fair nor acceptable.
Durrani said he would not deny that some to and fro movement of undesirable elements does take place but given the number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, it is simply not possible to have a 100 percent surety that it does not happen.
He said on any given day hundreds of thousands of people come and go across the border stretching 1,400 miles, as they have done since time immemorial. Pakistan is doing its best to ensure that this normal movement of people is not used as a cover by those bent upon creating mischief. He said if the United States, the richest and the best equipped country in the world, is unable to stop illegal movement of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans into America, how can Pakistan with its limited resources and the most difficult terrain in the world be expected to ensure that illegal or undesirable movement of people is totally prevented.
Durrani also explained in detail the Carlotta Gall incident. She is the New York Times reporter who was roughed up by security agents in her hotel room in Quetta. He said although she had a visa for Pakistan, that visa did not authorize her to visit prohibited areas. She arrived in Quetta without permission and then went about snooping in areas where she was not permitted to go without the permission and information of authorities. He asked whether he with a US diplomatic visa was authorized to burst into areas that the US government had declared out of bounds? He felt that too much was being made of this issue and regretted that the New York Times, one of the great newspapers of the world, had taken such a partisan position. He said he was planning to call on the editors of the newspaper so that things could be put in their right perspective.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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