America’s mala fide intent?

Published: February 25, 2011

The writer is CEO of Strategic Technology Resources and a former head of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad

It seems there are some in the Pakistani media who will buy into the official US line on Davis and get irked, by the likes of this columnist, enough to name her in their rather histrionic defence of the murderer (regardless of his rather murky status he did kill in cold blood)!

And seeing Christine Fair appear on these pages reminded me of the time her fiddling with statistics on Occupied Kashmir was questioned at a National Defence University seminar in Islamabad, some years ago. We now also know how the US clamped down on its own media on the Davis case and it was an impressive reminder of how ‘free’ the mainstream US media really is. However, there has been a somewhat belated awakening amongst some even in the US media, including an interesting piece by Charles Savage in the New York Times, which seeks to question the whole immunity issue. Perhaps our unquestioning defenders of Uncle Sam should stop and pause, notwithstanding the aid flows into the media.

Meanwhile, the US continues to muddy the grounds of the Davis case and, unfortunately, has succeeded in pushing into the background the issue of what happened to the murderer of the third victim and his car. Amongst the more bizarre logic being offered for freeing Davis, is the argument that the trial would not be seen as ‘fair’ — presumably by those in the US. This is ironic given how the Dr Aafia Siddiqi trial by jury in New York was a visible sham and yet, that has not prevented the US from penalising the lady in a most despicable fashion. In any case, are we to try murderers based on how the US views these trials and condemn the credibility of our judiciary proactively?

While most arguments dealing with Davis continue to touch on the same issues, some new developments are interesting. The first is the growing evidence that Davis was indulging in spying, which makes it relevant for the Pakistani state to formally frame charges of espionage against him. In this connection, his links to banned terrorist groups are also coming to light (including in a report in this newspaper). Under the law, no one can maintain contact with such groups without being questioned at the very least. To allow foreigners to freely have truck with such groups is even worse — whatever their intent. Nor is it far-fetched to assume that Davis may have had something to do with attacks against Pakistan’s security establishment, specifically the military. After all, why were pictures of sensitive military areas found on his person? The point here being that, at a minimum level, the espionage issue should not be neglected and if, as most Pakistani experts think and his visa shows, he is not a diplomat then, he can certainly be tried and punished for this very serious crime. If nothing else, the duplicity of our successive governments, in terms of hidden deals with the US, certainly needs to be exposed through this case and, perhaps, other Davis-like characters expelled forthwith.

The US has now floated another idea — intended to be a threat of sorts from their blinkered perspective — and that is to take the whole issue of Davis’s immunity to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Optional Protocol attached to the 1961 Vienna Convention. Presumably Pakistan is also a signatory to this Protocol and, therefore, if the US decides to take the issue to the ICJ, according to the Protocol, it becomes incumbent upon Pakistan to accept, not only this move, but also the decision that may follow, since, under Article I, disputes of interpretation or application of the Convention “shall lie within the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ”. Of course, Articles II and III allow a certain time period in which other options can be exercised, including an arbitral tribunal or a conciliation procedure, since, once the ICJ is approached, its decision in this context will be binding on both parties.

The ICJ option is a viable one since it will clear the issue for both the US and Pakistan but this Optional Protocol (where the word “optional” is actually a trifle deceptive) is applicable to the 1961 Vienna Convention and the whole issue is whether Davis is covered by this or by the 1963 Convention relating to Consular matters, since the US itself first claimed that Davis was attached to the US Consulate in Lahore. It is yet another irony produced by the Davis case, that the US, which is loathe to have anything to do with the ICJ and with the notion of international courts per se, (one can still remember how the US rubbished the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the US mining of the harbour in Nicaragua and how the US has rejected the idea of the International Criminal Court (ICC) precisely to allow its Davis-like characters to kill with impunity), is now going to initiate proceedings in the ICJ. Or, perhaps, that is merely a new form of pressure with which to browbeat the present government. Whatever the purpose, the ICJ is a viable option and Pakistan should not be fearful of it but, surely, first the issue of whether it is the 1961 or the 1963 Convention that applies to Davis, needs to be settled.

One issue has become evident: the US agenda for Pakistan has growing question marks to it. The appointment of Marc Grossman as Holbrooke’s successor is a case in point. A known critic of the ICC, as vice-chairman of the Cohen Group, he has been closely associated with furthering US-India relations, including in the aerospace and defence fields. The Cohen Group was in the forefront of lobbying for the US-India nuclear deal. Earlier, as undersecretary of state for political affairs, Grossman was the main architect of the “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership between the United States and India” initiative. An active Indophile will now be dealing with Pakistan on behalf of the US. This really says it all about US intent in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2011.

Reader Comments (34)

  • Feb 25, 2011 - 11:27PM

    Yes, and while you pile on the dirt on your political opponents, our Army Chief sat down with the top brass in Oman and by the end of the meeting Hussain Haqqani was invited to the State Department to “mend ways”. Yes, we should not be so naive regarding American intentions in Pakistan – but on the other hand, your assumptions – are just assumptions. Who says that he has had a hand in attacking Pakistani military installations? Apart from leaked news reports on what was found and not found how do you know exactly which pictures were found where?

    There are enough facts of a crime that was committed in broad day light. Its sickening now, that every one is trying to squeeze the Davis lemon until the pips squeak. Everything beyond that is circumstantial evidence of 2+2 equals 5. Since we are sharing interesting articles – have a gander here, perhaps a retired COAS has more credibility, or perhaps he too has sold himself for some dollars – http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/24/insidethesecretuspakistanmeetingin_oman#commentspaceRecommend

  • faraz
    Feb 25, 2011 - 11:51PM

    You advocate that Pakistan should break off its relations with US, but you also have concerns over Marc Grossman’s appointment and India-US relations. If you dont want to develop better relations with US, then how can you influence US policies vis a vis India?

    About statistics and facts, what about the Kargil war?Recommend

  • Anushka
    Feb 26, 2011 - 12:20AM

    Thank you Shireen for talking the TRUTH!
    Well done madam!Recommend

  • rehan
    Feb 26, 2011 - 1:08AM

    Shireen Mazari for Foreign Minister of pakistan!!:))Recommend

  • Nasir Khan
    Feb 26, 2011 - 8:43AM

    The only way to cut down the US interference in Pakistan affairs is to cut down their ever increasing presence in Pakistan. However, as long as we have leaders who are willing to sell Pakistans sovereignity for a measly billion dollars a year (remittances are now more than 10 billion per year), it will not happen. The so called aid helps these leaders stash money in overseas accounts, i.e. what is left after all the American consultants tied to the aid have lined their pockets.

    The case of Davis is probably the tip of the iceberg, as there are almost 900 hundred US citizens with diplomatic immunity, from a total of around 2600 from all over the world.
    We need more people like Ms Mazari who are not afraid to speak their mind, based on facts and intelligent deductions. The arrogance and callousness of the consulate personnel was again shown when they mowed down a third person, after the two were murdered by Davis. That reminded me of how US deaths in Iraq were counted repeatedly in US media, but Iraqi deaths (mostly civilians) were totally ignored.Recommend

  • Hamid Kasur
    Feb 26, 2011 - 10:37AM

    There are three things that make Pakistan an extraordinary Country and the locus of World attention: Army, Nuclear Weapons and sophisticated Jihadi infrastructure. If Pakistan can nurture these three elements of its National Power, Indians will always remain in a Scared State whatever the strength of their economic and military power. Add 10 more nuclear weapons and train 100 hardcore jihadis is equal to India’s say 100 billion dollar worth of military hardware. Pakistan has the institutions and elements to push India to dark age. So don’t be scared of Indo-US Nuclear deal !!!Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Feb 26, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Absolutely fantastic piece of writing.
    We can always expect such honesty, truthfulness and unbiasedness from Dr. Shireen Mazari.Recommend

  • Feb 26, 2011 - 12:33PM

    Do you realise how demoralising it is for a nation to be constantly told that there is an international conspiracy against it? It makes people feel helpless. You should be running masterclasses in this regard. How to make citizens feel disempowered – wonderful work, Ms Mazari. Recommend

  • Feb 26, 2011 - 12:59PM

    I would buy the daily nation if I had to read what Ms Mizari had to say. Fortunately I dont.Recommend

  • Feb 26, 2011 - 1:07PM

    @Anushka , plenty more truth she has previously told in her own publication as well

    From WikiPedia

    The Nation published a front page article (“Journalists as spies in FATA?”[5]) on November 5, 2009, accusing the South Asian correspondent of “The Wall Street Journal”, Matthew Rosenberg, of working for the CIA, Israeli intelligence, and the U.S. military contractor Blackwater.
    Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson wrote to Mazari[6] soon after the Rosenberg article appeared. Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl, kidnapped and killed in 2002, was labelled a Jewish spy in a similar manner by some sections of Pakistani media.
    Twenty-one international news editors from Islamabad’s foreign correspondent community also signed a letter[7] of protest, criticizing the unsubstantiated article for compromising Matt Rosenberg’s security.
    In a television interview[8] regarding the incident, Shireen Mazari strongly defended her story.
    On November 20, 2009, “The Nation” published yet another front page story[9] with a photograph of what it described as “Mysterious US nationals”. “According to a source in another investigation agency, the foreigners seemingly belonged to the US spy agency CIA. It was evident from the fact that two police commandos were escorting them, the source added.”
    However, it turned out that this “Mysterious US National” was in fact the award-winning Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak, who works for Getty Images. Hugh Pinney, Getty’s senior director of photography, wrote[10] to Shireen Mazari on November 21, 2009.
    Both Rosenberg and Berahulak have left Pakistan.[11]
    Recommend

  • Ijaz
    Feb 26, 2011 - 4:48PM

    Intellectual honesty requires dispassionate analysis which I find lacking in the articles written in passionate defence of Davis and the US. In a fit of US defense, many columnists ignored the facts Dr.Mazari has drawn our attention to. I wish other writers also balance their tilted views. Recommend

  • harkol
    Feb 26, 2011 - 5:39PM

    @Shireen

    For the first time I see an article from you, that may be close to truth. Pakistan and US both need to revist their relationship. It is not turning out good for either.Recommend

  • G.Din
    Feb 26, 2011 - 5:42PM

    The bile flows on and on….and on…..and on….Recommend

  • vasan
    Feb 26, 2011 - 6:14PM

    Hamid Kasur :Pakistan does not need any enemies if the citizens are like you. You have not learnt one lesson from all the damages caused by your jihadists and US alliances. God save PakistanRecommend

  • IZ
    Feb 26, 2011 - 6:36PM

    Hamid Kasur’s comment says everything that needs to be said about this country’s defence establishment and its brain-washed cohorts. If only they would stop and peek out of their massive air-conditioned Islamabad offices built with US money and look around and ask themselves, who, exactly is currently heading for the dark ages…Recommend

  • observer
    Feb 26, 2011 - 10:12PM

    @Hamid Kasur

    If Pakistan can nurture these three elements of its National Power, Indians will always remain in a Scared State whatever the strength of their economic and military power.

    Well said brother, I do not know why the Musharrafs and Kayanis of Pakistan hesitate in declaring nuclear jihad as the state policy of Pakistan, as was recently done by Hafiz Saeed. Time the nationalists declared Hafiz Saeed Emirl Momineen.Do this and watch the fun times begin.

    Add 10 more nuclear weapons and train 100 hardcore jihadis is equal to India’s say 100 billion dollar worth of military hardware.

    Err, has it occured to you that with 10 nuclear weapons exploding the 100 hardcore jihadis will be completely superfluous.Or did you want them as second strike weapon?Recommend

  • nabeel
    Feb 27, 2011 - 1:59AM

    on the appointment of grossman.

    is it a coincidence that dennis ross, negroponte, holbrooke, and now grossman are zionists. or is that not relevant here.

    how would israel react to the appointment of an arab/muslim heritage american official being appointed to liaise USG-GOI affair???Recommend

  • Boota Khan
    Feb 27, 2011 - 2:58AM

    It appears as if Shireen Mazari has stepped over few tails which is bothering folks like ‘Tight Dhoti’, Vasan and Observer. Recommend

  • Goga
    Feb 27, 2011 - 5:13AM

    Jihad is the only way and that is what the Quran says.Recommend

  • Jeddy
    Feb 27, 2011 - 12:50PM

    A war is going – that war is to demoralise people. Make people despondent about the country. To make people feel only the most horrible things happen in Pakistan only, Pakistan is not a country worth living. It is a country without hope, without a chance of progress. This is being done cleverly. A select opinion leaders make sweeping statements which completely condemn Pakistan – that it is the worst country in the world and nothing good can ever happen here.Recommend

  • omar yusaf
    Feb 27, 2011 - 1:59PM

    @Umayr Masud: I guess some of us prefer to live under a rock. The rest of us would rather have exposure to the facts no matter how unpleasant they are.Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Feb 27, 2011 - 4:02PM

    Let the Court decide, if the Govt. needs Intellgence help they may go ahead. Recommend

  • pakpinoy
    Feb 27, 2011 - 7:34PM

    Let’s just be honest. The writer is a certified dishonest, disingenuous joke of a journalist. Facts, accuracy and intellectual integrity mean nothing to her. I remember the interview clearly in which she defended her malicious slander of the Wall Street reporter. She only survives as a journalist in Pakistan because here truth doesn’t matter much. God save us! Recommend

  • Arindom
    Feb 28, 2011 - 5:57AM

    While the author is able to list out all the points proving America’s malafide intent, she would also do well to take a quick look at at the other party’s, i.e. Pakistan’s “malafide intents” too.

    Since long Pakistan has harboured and even encouraged a toxic brand of religious fundalism and continues to do so today. This brand of fundalism feeds on hatred for India and all things Indian. The blind rage against India has led to unchecked extremism, nuclear sabre-rattling and indeed, open acts of terrorism. The world has started taking notice after the ill-effects started spilling out of the region and into West. So terrible is this hatred for India is that Pakistanis are not ready to even acknowledge that their own citizens are killing Pakistanis.

    Neither US, nor the rest of the World wants such uncivilized belavior in their midst. Once North Korea is enough – another one in South Asia? No Ma-am!! malafide intent or not, this madness must be stopped!!! And who better than America?Recommend

  • Tony Sngh
    Feb 28, 2011 - 8:27AM

    @Hamid Kasur:
    The only reason Pakistan is an Extraordinary country is because its less than ordinary. Even in so called “banana republics”, people do not blow their fellow citizens with such impunity as they do in Pakistan. So far as Army and its strategic assets are concerned, even an intelectual challanged can see the results on Pakistan society. Perhaps the Jidahists too are waiting to lay their hands on nuclear devices to commit “mother of all suicide bombings” in the country. but then its too much to expect you to think about the cosequences of your proposal, should it be put into practice.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Feb 28, 2011 - 8:43AM

    So the “truth” for Pakistanis is anything which appeals to their emotion and satisfies their ego; In this case, the “truth” that Davis is a cold-blooded CIA agent, who shot 2 innocent Civilians for no reason(why, CIA trains its agents to kill people for no reason and lets just forget about the profession of those killed,who are robbers) and that he does not have diplomatic immunity(even though nothing is clear on this aspect).

    So, enjoy the “truth” guys. But, remeber this “truth” will have consequences, just like the “truth” and logic of training thousands of Terrorists to achieve your end had conseqences. The impact of this will be economic and political. Get ready for a no-Aid Pakistan after 2014.

    Pray to the heavens that China will fill US’s shoe(Considering the recent pittance that China had given for the last year’s floods, it doesn’t arouse hope).Recommend

  • Hassan
    Feb 28, 2011 - 10:39AM

    @ Umayr Masud…..let me get this correct you are quoting wikipedia as a credibile source….hhaahahahahahaha awesome your a smart one!!!!!!Recommend

  • Hassan
    Feb 28, 2011 - 3:11PM

    @ Anoop, ur lack of intellect amazes me considering you comment on this website often enough, pray tell me how you know those two boys were robbers? the matter is sub judice do you even know what that means, its still in court, the law will decide if the two boys were robbers or not and if RD acted judiciously or not.

    I think you should focus on your own truth and try to make your country a better place, god knows you guys need it, we know what Pakistan is and what it is going through so please refrain from this idiotic posturing all the time. Supporting terror is not just the sole past time of Pakistan. India has been well versed in the dark arts as well.

    First you deal with your own poor and hungry before you worry about who will and will not fit into the US’s shoe.Recommend

  • Feb 28, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Excellent article and observations.
    The hypocrisy of the US Administration knows no bounds. It’s amusing how the US leaps to international law when it suits but you can not flick justice on and off with a switch.
    They ignored the Geneva and Vienna Conventions – and still are now – with the treatment of the detainees in Guantanamo.
    They trampled on the diplomatic immunity status which should have protected His Excellency Mullah Zaeef, the Ambassador to Pakistan from Afghanistan.
    And they trammelled the Vienna Conventions with the arrest of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was denied consular access for nearly four weeks.
    Even now the US is demanding that Gaddaffi be brought before the ICC – but this is a court the US refuses to recognise.
    The law is for everyone, and should be used in equal measure regardless of faith, nationality or culture.
    Kind regards
    Yvonne Ridley, London, UKRecommend

  • Arindom
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:08AM

    @Yvonne Ridley:

    Law should certainly be equal to all. But terrorists operate outside the law. So why should the US follow law when dealing with terrorists?

    By the same token, countries that support terrorism have, by their actions, utter contempt and disregard for Internation Law or civilised behavior. So why should US be so careful of internnational Law while dealing with such countries? Recommend

  • Arindom
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:10AM

    @Hassan:

    The very first eyewitness accounts say that the “two boys” very armed and they had just robbed another citizen.

    I wouldn’t be surprised with the courts conveniently ‘forgets’ to look at this evidence! Recommend

  • Hassan
    Mar 1, 2011 - 10:48AM

    @ Arindom, no i am sorry to disagree the eyewitness accounts did not say any such thing, the US goverment has brought up the issue of the boys having a gun and allegedly that they had robbed a person 20 mins before the shooting by RD.

    This is not classified as evidence in any court of law!!!!Recommend

  • Anoop
    Mar 1, 2011 - 10:53AM

    @Hassan,

    “pray tell me how you know those two boys were robbers? ”

    –> Throuigh news like this.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/world-south-asia-12305049

    I am not making a judgement call, neither should you.

    “India has been well versed in the dark arts as well. ”

    –> But, India is not foolish to support Terror outfits in its own territory. We supported LTTE long back and we paid for it. Learned our lessens. Result: No Indiginous Religious attack in India in 2010.

    India will become the fastest growing economy in 3 years, but Pakistan will stay in the top ten most failed states even after 3 years and will be lucky to have even 1/3rd of India’s growth rate. Its clear who needs to learn from whom, buddy.

    “First you deal with your own poor and hungry before you worry about who will and will not fit into the US’s shoe.”

    –> Ofcourse I worry about it. That is one of the reasons I comment here. I dont want Pakistan to fail and India bearing the consequences. That is the sole reason I am even remotely interested in Pakistan. I mean who on Earth would be interested in a place like Pakistan! Get this into your mind: Pakistan only holds significance because it holds a gun to its head and screams to the world that if the World doesn’t give it free money, then it’ll shoot itself and give nukes to the Terrorists. Be proud.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Mar 1, 2011 - 10:55AM

    @ Arindom, The US attacked Iraq with the pretext of WMD, no WMD were found hundreds of thousands were killed in Iraq who is responsible would the US present it self in a court of law?

    The US operated outside the law as well so why shouldnt they be hauled up for terrorism, but you would never say that would you?Recommend

More in Opinion