Dr Weinstein is no CIA agent

Published: August 26, 2011

The writer is an economist who works at a government-funded development project in Islamabad

By repeatedly declaring that there are no Punjabi Taliban, the chief minister of Punjab has basically refused to acknowledge the ethnicity of accomplished terrorists such as Qari Zafar and Usman Punjabi. Many interpreted that statement as, “only Pathans can be Taliban”. But the clarification came very quickly, as the chief minister asserted that ethnicities shouldn’t be labelled with terrorism — be it Pathan or Punjabi. Fair enough, but then that didn’t seem to be the case as Punjab’s minister, Rana Sanaullah commented on the abduction of Dr Warren Weinstein.

Mr Sanaullah has said that the kidnapping was perhaps a result of collusion between Mr Weinstein’s staff and the abductors. This may be a plausible theory, but to support it the minister doesn’t mention any links of the accused to terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or the Sipah-e-Sahaba, instead he simply mentioned their domiciles, as being from Swabi, Charsadda and Fata, as if that were enough proof of culpability. Forget about the non-Pashtun guard, it was the ethnicity of the Pashtun staff that had to be suspected and highlighted, because it just makes good mathematical sense, since the minister would think that Pathan equals Taliban.

But this guilt by domicile wasn’t limited to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It also applies to an American passport in which case its holder is assumed to be a CIA agent. It was bewildering to hear the Punjab law minister equate Dr Weinstein with Raymond Davis, and also link it with the doctor’s refusal of an offer by the Punjab government to provide a police escort.

Dr Warren Weinstein, who headed the Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness (PISDAC) project, is a very well known figure within Pakistan’s aid and development community. Under the PISDAC project, Weinstein oversaw strategic interventions in the dairy, gems jewellery, marble and granite sectors in Pakistan, resulting in the establishment of companies such as Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC), and the Pakistan Dairy Development Company. The project also provided technical assistance in modernising dairy as well as marble production and improving marketing in the gems and jewellery sectors. The overall impact of that intervention on Pakistan’s economy according to one reported, is estimated to be around $67 million.

The details of Dr Weinstein’s contribution to Pakistan’s economy, including PISDAC and other projects, are easily available on the internet. Given the current office that Mr Sanaullah occupies, and the importance of what he says to the press, Punjab’s law minister should perhaps encourage his staff to use Google to keep him updated on such a sensitive issue.

Another document that the good minister needs to be made aware of is the Pew Research Centre survey for 2010. According to this, the Taliban enjoy an approval of 22 per cent in Punjab, compared to seven per cent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, six per cent in Balochistan, and five per cent in Sindh. These figures may make some sense especially if one considers that in the past, the chief minister of Punjab has publicly said that an olive branch should be offered to the Taliban.

Ingratitude goes against our national ethos, and we are showing exactly that by baselessly maligning the name of Dr Weinstein — a person who has dedicated seven years of his life to serving Pakistan. There are many other ways to justify the incompetence of Punjab’s security apparatus, but a mixture of racist generalisations and unsubstantiated allegations is certainly the most shameless way to go about it.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.

Reader Comments (31)

  • Abbas from the US
    Aug 26, 2011 - 8:31PM

    Good speak up Mr Khan:

    As I say it is fashionable to lump all Americans as CIA these days. There may be enough reasoning, specially since what has transpired between the Pakistani and American intelligence since the begining of the year. All we get to see sitting at a distance is that hate and bigotry is rampant in the Punjab. All the targetted political killing of Ahmadi Muslims, Shia Muslims, Chrisitians and those like Salman Taseer who took up the cause of the helpless Aasiya have had their location in the Punjab.

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  • Aug 26, 2011 - 8:45PM

    Nice alibi.

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  • Aug 26, 2011 - 9:09PM

    We have blinders on, doesnt matter, everyone is RAW-Mossad-CIA-MI6. The celebrations that followed the announcement of his kidnapping were disgusting!

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  • faraz
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:39PM

    Who is going to invest in a country where people celebrate kidnappings of foreigners like Weinstein and big businessmen like ST’s son. We are heading towards an economic collapse. There is a serious law an order problem but the way people celebrated these kidnappings is absurd and alarmingRecommend

  • Roflcopter
    Aug 26, 2011 - 9:53PM

    How do you know he’s not CIA?

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  • Aug 26, 2011 - 10:34PM

    Those poor Americans… always so misunderstood

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  • Aug 26, 2011 - 10:41PM

    @Roflcopter – since its pretty much impossible to establish who is and is not an “agent” I guess its fair for anyone to be kidnapped or murdered! How is this attitude any different from the right wing extremists in America who believe every Muslim in the US is a threat and wants to impose Sharia law on them?

    Lets for an iota of a second assume hes CIA, does that mean he should be kidnapped and be made to disappear?

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  • Abdul Rehman Gilani
    Aug 26, 2011 - 10:58PM

    Wasnt this the guy who tried defending Raymond Davis’s barbaric action in the name of self-defense? Seriously, how much sycophantic of the US can our liberal lobby become!

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  • AOAO
    Aug 26, 2011 - 11:41PM

    at the op:
    “racist generalisations ”
    Seriously? Do you even know what that means? American is not a race son.

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  • Aug 27, 2011 - 12:10AM

    @ET: Thanks for printing the article but the edits are a bit too much.
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  • faraz
    Aug 27, 2011 - 1:06AM

    @Abdul Rehman Gilani

    The ‘defenders of ideology’ formulate our foreign policy and are the main beneficiary of Pak US relations. The ‘invisible soldiers of Islam’ negotiated the release of Raymond Davis using Islamic law.

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  • yousaf
    Aug 27, 2011 - 1:20AM

    @Faraz:-thankyou for telling that we are HEADING towards an economic collapse,because I thought we dont have a head

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  • XYZ
    Aug 27, 2011 - 1:57AM

    why being indulged in discussion whether he was an CIA agent or not..since he was in pakistan , so its govt’s duty to get him released from kidnappers. Govt may start a trail againt allegations levelled against him(if he thinks he is aspy) but that too is possible only after he is recovered

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  • Hafeez
    Aug 27, 2011 - 2:21AM

    @AOAO:
    Seems like you didnt read all thats written in column. Racist generalization, that the writer is referring to is about Rana Sanaullah’s announcement about some arrested suspects and he also went on to telling their domiciles. What a funny guy Rana Saab is! Keep it up Imran

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  • AZK
    Aug 27, 2011 - 5:07AM

    As if writing for equal rights for declaring ethnic background for the terrorists isn’t ridiculous enough making a case that a spy may not be having the deceiving outfits is only childish. Also generalizing that every American is thought of as a spy is a criminal overstatement.

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  • AOAO
    Aug 27, 2011 - 7:50AM

    @Hafeez: I am definatley getting new glasses! Thanks for pointing out………….. Nevertheless… the writer need not be a spokesperson for anyone. as no one can really say if he is or is not a spy! Lets not over do thing or be overzealous unless we ve all missed something very important.
    Bottomilne: stop being a mouth piece for anyone!

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  • Mirza
    Aug 27, 2011 - 8:27AM

    Spot on despite the author’s name being Imran Khan.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Aug 27, 2011 - 8:33AM

    One comment that I did write before is, Dr Warren Weinstein is a high profile, respected technocrat who has been trying to improve the lives of many. CIA or any secret agents are not high profile, highly educated middle aged technocrats and they certainly do not work openly in a country like Pakistan for years. In fact as soon as any secret agent’s name is identified he is called back by its country.

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  • Kazim Mirza
    Aug 27, 2011 - 9:05AM

    While opinion of Khan Sb are respected, I would like to invite attention to the following link to a youtube archive, which present a brief interview of Mr. Jeremy Scahill, the famous Journalist and Author of the book titled “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”. Please visit and watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zLl8CnS5Z0&feature=fvst.

    The book is worthy of reading.

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  • gp65
    Aug 27, 2011 - 9:34AM

    IF a person is employed by a bonafide aid agency and spends bulk of their time working for it, then they cannot simultaneously be a CIA agent.

    On the one hand country wants more aid. If aid is given to politicians, the citizens fully expect that it will be eaten up by corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and army officials.If they bring their own people to lead the projects, so that there can be control over money spent, then first of all there are restrictions on their movement because all goras are presumed to be spies.Then their security is at risk also because all goras are expected to be spies.

    The country also wants tourism dollars. Well again if a tourist with a visa to Pakistan needs to get separate visas for each city he visits and plus his life is at risk because he will be presumed to be CIA, how many tourists will the country get? Can you imagine having a US visa and then having to take separate NOCs to vist New York and Disney World and San Francisco?

    Such attitudes is the perfect example of apne hi paon pe kulhadi marna.

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  • Aug 27, 2011 - 11:43AM

    Good and objective article.

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  • Aug 27, 2011 - 5:00PM

    Only CIA insider can say that conclusively that so & so is CIA agent or otherwise.

    Only thing is that we should be careful while mingling with the foreigners.

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Aug 27, 2011 - 6:20PM

    For the record, Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness (PISDAC), which Warren Weinstein headed, was a three year multimillion dollar activity that sought to catalyze six sectors under the aegis of Small & Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA, Government of Pakistan).

    Dairy, Furniture, Gems & Jewellery, Horticulture, Marble & Granite and Surgical Instruments have been significantly strengthened through the induction of second generation reforms under PISDAC. Consequently, new investment and employment increased in these and related sectors, stirring fresh economic activity in excess of $100 million.

    As for J E Austin Associates Inc., the Arlington, Virginia, based international development and management firm that Warren Weinstein represented in Pakistan through SMEDA, grew out of the Harvard Business School under the leadership of Professor James Austin, a widely respected authority on economic development.

    Among other projects, J E Austin Associates was responsible for designing the iconic case study method at LUMS and helped establish the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at IBA, Karachi.

    Until recently, Warren Weinstein was engaged in upgrading and capacity building of Leather and Sports Goods sectors, initiatives that were funded by the Ministry of Industries, Government of Pakistan.

    As for Rana Sanaullah and other dinasours in his club, Habib Jalib had aptly said:

    Jidher jaen wohi qatil muqabil
    Yeh surat kabb no thi aye dil muqabil

    Churra kerr jism o dil niklain kidhar ko
    Kay hai har gaam perr jahil Muqabil

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  • 1stResponder
    Aug 27, 2011 - 7:29PM

    @Roflcopter: do u have a shred of evidence that he is cia? Recommend

  • AZK
    Aug 27, 2011 - 10:10PM

    Guys, I see a lot of loyalists claiming Dr. Weinstein wasn’t a CIA agent or didn’t have linkages with it citing his past known activities of social development, but the fact of the matter is no one knows for sure and that information doesn’t go to prove anything which is where the article and argument breaks down. Dr. Nabi Faiz was a prominent business man and peace activist in the US but was apprehended on suspicion of being a foreign agent although there was very little proof. So if there is any proof against Weinstein let it come out, and not be entangled into making baseless attempts to prove one way or the other.

    If however someone makes a generalization that such suspicion is across the board for every US citizen in Pakistan then that is a criminal overstatement. We have lots of US friends doing the good work in Pakistan or spending their time here and they should not feel this kidnapping is meant to intimidate them while they are being law abiding. The authorities however, need to find out whatever has happened to Mr. Weinstein and make sure he is brought back home safely.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 27, 2011 - 10:31PM

    Seems like Pakistan has been obsessed with the CIA ever since they found the hiding place of OBL. I understand that may have been embarrassing to Pakistan but I would suggest you focus your anger at why your govt was apparently hiding OBL.

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  • AZK
    Aug 28, 2011 - 7:01AM

    @Cautious: Well the reasons are best known to the CIA itself and that is why we are so angered that these guys who hired, trained, equipped and finally gunned OBL are so unaware of the reasons why the Pak govt would have been hiding him or not.
    In the same vein as you have suggested, we can perhaps broaden the scope of the discussion a little bit by previewing how the US intelligence agencies and Govt had apparently hidden / trained terrorists in their own country and also immobilized their emergency response system that could have prevented much of the destruction after 9/11 right under their technological sophistry, and immaculate knowledge about terrorist activities. That perhaps cannot be matched by anyone else.

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  • Ikram Khan
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:21AM

    Well all agents are undercover so Winestien could be a CIA/Mossad agent.

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  • Imran Khan Yousafzai
    Aug 28, 2011 - 2:01PM

    lame excuses

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  • malik
    Aug 29, 2011 - 3:00PM

    Sorry, Mr Khan, we have already made up our minds that he is indeed a CIA agent, like most americans in this country are. Please don’t give facts and confuse us.

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  • Marie
    Oct 4, 2011 - 11:12PM

    Dr. Weinstein should be helping America get back to work. What he is doing is looking for a new country to exploit. You will all be sorry allowing anyone from the Western world in to ‘aid’ you into poverty and slavery. Develop your own gems, leathers, agriculture and dairy. What these scientists have done to our food, water and medicines is absolutely criminal. Have you heard of Monsanto? Do you know we can’t drink RAW MILK in the US, or grow our own lemon trees and gardens without the FDA bringing in swat teams to destroy it? You people better be careful what you are wishing for. $67 million is nothing compared to the hundreds of billions people that Dr. Weinstein work for will steal from you.

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