The CIA, the ISI and ‘desi liberals’

Published: February 28, 2011

The writer is author of The Gathering Storm, Pakistan: Political Economy of a Security State (Royal Books, 2008) and a former head of emerging markets investments, Citigroup

The writer is author of The Gathering Storm, Pakistan: Political Economy of a Security State (Royal Books, 2008) and a former head of emerging markets investments, Citigroup

The most important fact to come out in the open is not that Raymond Davis is a CIA contractor, but that it is beyond any doubt that he was a covert operations person, as has now been officially acknowledged by the US. It has astonished me that so many of our ‘desi liberals’ have been defending him, and focusing just on the academic question of immunity or the possibility that the ISI might be exploiting this.

It is critically more important to find out what hundreds of CIA agents (according to scores of reports including those carried by top US papers) are doing in Pakistan, and why they were provided cover by an embassy whose facilities are being upgraded by a massive spending programme exceeding one billion dollars, according to official US documents.

We are being told that the ISI was not even aware that Raymond Davis was a CIA agent. According to The New York Times, the ISI has demanded an accounting by the CIA of all its contractors working in Pakistan. Does all this represent a major turf battle between the ISI and the CIA in which Raymond Davis happens to be a pawn? Or is it that the military establishment was so embarrassed by WikiLeaks, revealing its close ties with America, that it decided to use this incident to prove to the Pakistani public that it is not them but the politicians who are American puppets?

The ISI was most certainly aware of the drone attacks and indeed gave permission to the CIA to conduct them as I had documented in my article “Whither Sovereignty?” (The News, September 14, 2008). Permission was given by General Musharraf in January 2008 — months before the PPP came into power. As far back as September 2008, the Los Angeles Times had reported that Pakistan’s military leadership had agreed to receive US military ‘advisers’. It is no longer a secret that some, if not all, drone attacks were launched from an airstrip near Quetta. Was the ISI also not aware of this?

Many ‘desi liberals’ had dismissed earlier reports of the presence of hundreds of CIA operatives as right-wing conspiracy theories. But now US officials have confirmed this to papers like the Washington Post. Moreover, they have acknowledged that Raymond Davis was a CIA agent, that he did work for Xe (formerly Blackwater), that he did live in a private home in Lahore and was so important that the CIA specifically requested the American media to not disclose his association with the agency and his background. It is therefore, no longer rational, or in fact possible, to dismiss questions about the presence, motives, activities and scale of the operations of CIA agents in Pakistan.

‘Desi liberals’ would do well to reflect upon the perception that in their zeal to fight extremism, they have by default, intent or design become defenders of the most blatant and biggest CIA ‘covert’ operation in the history of Pakistan — or, for that matter, one of the biggest in the CIA’s history.

But that is a secondary issue. The real issue is that either the ISI allowed the CIA to send hundreds of agents, and is pretending ignorance or innocence now that the beans have been spilled, or it didn’t know this in the first place — which means that questions should be asked about the agency’s job performance.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (74)

  • irfan
    Feb 28, 2011 - 11:15PM

    Very well written.
    Revelations about Raymond Davis & Americans confession regarding his CIA links is a big slap on our “desi liberal” aka jokers.Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 28, 2011 - 11:20PM

    What about the responsibility of the government? ISI is supposed to inform the government, not to take action on its own..!Recommend

  • Feb 28, 2011 - 11:28PM

    By design the question is why three Pakistani citizens died and the government of Pakistan failed to protect them or any other of the 30 thousand odd Pakistanis who died. Whether the poltice, military or ISI knew these people were here or not is inconsequential. All they care about is their public image. If they knew these operatives were in the country then they are complicit in the deaths of the three people, if they did not then they should explain why they didn’t and what are they doing to make sure it doesnt happen again. As was revealed in this paper yesterday, most of these “agents” were living in cantonment areas in Lahore, paying hefty rents to retired brigades and generals, even though foreigners are not supposed to live in cantonment areas.

    You are holding the powerless minority to account. The powers to be are just leveraging these events to their own advantage. Though that is not to suggest that these events were orchestrated. Its not the desi liberals who allowed drones to operate from Pakistan, it wasnt the desi liberals who allowed US contractors and the CIA to operate in Pakistan, it wasnt the desi liberals who allowed military advisors to join frontier force units and be stationed at its training center. Recommend

  • Dreamer
    Feb 28, 2011 - 11:35PM

    Your continuous reference to, and attack on ‘desi liberals’ makes this piece quite weak. I count myself as a Pakistani liberal, and apart from a handful of people, nobody is asking for Raymond Davis to be immediately freed because the Americans said so. The case is with the free and fair courts our ‘desi conservatives’ are always talking about. I’m sure they can decide the right course of action when presented the evidence. I would be glad if he is punished in Pakistan. As for the CIA operatives, it is a pity that the government is turning a blind eye to mercenaries of TTP and Xe, etc. I really fail to understand what our establishment hopes to gain from such an unclear policy. My problem with the right is that they are using these events for political gains. They use xenophobia to heighten the public’s hate for westerners, and then have the audacity to approach the same to help them come into power.Recommend

  • yasir
    Feb 28, 2011 - 11:48PM

    Its time to bury dictatorship and democrazy.Both are same. Look out of the box..Recommend

  • ani
    Feb 28, 2011 - 11:54PM

    In defense of the desi liberals, at least they raised a contrarian and civilized voice (and it amounted to nothing as always – they really are “secondary” in Pakistan), as opposed to joining the desi jihadists whose hyper religio-nationalism is appaling and dangerous.

    The depth of CIA and ISI (that reports to the military) collaboration is widely known. The military has its own policy independent of the civilians. However, they – the ruling party, will end up being the scapegoat. Given the duplicitous record of ISI towards its own elected leaders and people, good luck asking and getting answers. Recommend

  • Feb 28, 2011 - 11:56PM

    Can we please stop point scoring cliche’s in the articles. Recommend

  • Atif
    Mar 1, 2011 - 12:03AM

    very well written and very well needed. ‘Desi Liberals’ are going really far in defending Raymond –
    CIA is an american agency, that has annual budget of billions, it has agenda to protect Americans at any cost, declassified documents have shown that CIA and Mossad can go to extreme measure to carry out its tasks. Liberals live in a delusional world where they think CIA is a bakery that bakes love cakes for them and call people conspiracy theorists, who try to write on CIA.Recommend

  • zeruk
    Mar 1, 2011 - 12:12AM

    constructive piece of writing,desi libral,what a term for traitorsRecommend

  • Shez
    Mar 1, 2011 - 12:25AM

    Spot on the ‘desi liberals’. They are as aloof from common Pakistani’s perceptions as one could be. They represent the corrupt elite class and are more loyal to the royal than the royal himself.Recommend

  • Shazia Ahmed
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:06AM

    This brings out the crux of the matter… in this game between the CIA and ISI, big and real question as far as Pakistani awam are concerned is what the hell these armed and trained agents have been doing? Mr. Nazar’s clear and bold approach is commendable, he does not spare anyone!Recommend

  • jameel akhtar
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:15AM

    pakistani systems and sensitive departments have gone so corrupt and lousy that their inefficiency makes the headlines everyday. provision of safety and security, which is primary objective of government, is absent since the times of Ziaul haq. instead of building some social structure norms and standards, mighty and unjust brass has given the culture of exceptions to law and today all the confidence of a common citizen has evaporated.
    the entry of the regiments of CIA operators in Pakistani soil is itself big question for ISI, MI, Customs intelligence and other sensitive agencies.

    i have heard( it may be incorrect) that a very senior police officer was using his influence to get the Xe(Blackwater) personnel residential accomodation in different cities. moreover, a big serving official was actively using state organs for their operations on the behest of unknown political backups.
    my ALLAH save PakistanRecommend

  • Talha
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:25AM

    I am a liberal and I want Davis to be dealt with harshly. Don’t know what this writer and his co-Islamists have been reading but what can you expect?

    Also, not all people are ‘desi’, such punjabi terms are not for the entire Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tammy Gul
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:28AM

    I love this, expose of “desi liberals’ from a citibankerRecommend

  • Amna
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:30AM

    @ani: Why do people always defend these desi liberal types with the argumnet that they are more civilized then the crazy extreme people in society.

    There is quite a huge population of Pakistanis that are moderate, fairly religious and can dont fall into either category of the extremist crazy mullah types and the “desi liberals”.

    I keep hearing this ridiculous argument everytime someone says anytrhing about a “liberal”.

    Just because I am not a “desi liberal” does not automatically mean I am a crazy fanatic.

    Who knew Pakistan’s “educated” could really be so ignorant.Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:40AM

    “Desi Liberals” – I am proud to be one… We are not going around bombing people, nor defending the murderers, we dont have a warped sense of dignity or honour or any misguided opinion on ‘sovereignty’ (when we dont have any). Desi Liberals dont go around passing edicts based on how a person looks from the outside neither do they judge people based on how many times he says namaz. We form our own objective opinion on things based on the information we have. We are labelled as “desi goras” , “elitist”, “traitors”, “CIA agents”, “murtad”, etc etc. We are used to being labelled by these so called reighteous and holier than thou mob. We dont sacrifice reason when putting a point across. We try to understand people based on who they are and not based on which religion they belong to or long the size of their beard is. We love Pakistan and want to see it prospered however routinely labelled as “anti pakistani’ only because we have the gall to question what we believe is wrong or when we criticize something we observe to be totally ‘whacky’. We dont believe that the world is out to get us or that CIA’s sole agenda is the destruction of Pakistan and the “ummah”… We believe CIA and America and even India has better things to focus on (like the well being of their own people) than being obsessed by a shadowy enemy. We are not keen on conquering the planet so that we hoist the flags of muslim ummah everywhere neither do we day dream about khilafat… We are proudly very inclusive breed and want all and sundry to live happily amongst each other without being judged by if they offer zakat or if they are hindu or christian or if they are in love with pak army or isi. We proudly believe that all institutions including army and intelligence agencies should be under the command of a civilian government, irrelevant of the imperfections that model offers. We oppose when the establishment/ intelligence agencies become king maker and become all too obsessed with a shadowy enemy. Yes we are desi-liberals and we are proud of it !!!
    Haris ChaudhryRecommend

  • Nadir El-Edroos
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Your article isnt as desi liberal bashing as it appears. You come to the same conclusion as most progressives, “The real issue is that either the ISI allowed the CIA to send hundreds of agents, and is pretending ignorance or innocence now that the beans have been spilled, or it didn’t know this in the first place — which means that questions should be asked about the agency’s job performance.” Its just along the way you strolled through alot of populist rhetoric.

    As for everyone who thinks that the Desi Liberals are traitors and supporting the CIA. First, “desi liberal” is too broad a term. Who does that include? Your vagueness allows everyone to reflect their biases and come to their own conclusions.

    No one supports Mr. Davis or his actions. Neither does anyone want XE or the CIA operating in the country.

    It wasnt the desi liberals that allowed drones to be based in Pakistan.

    It wasnt the desi liberals who allowed the strikes take place.

    It wasnt the desi liberal that allowed US advisors to operate in Pakistan, providing training.

    It wasnt the desi liberals who allowed the US access to military bases in Pakistan.

    It wasnt the desi liberals who allowed the US to fly through Pakistani airspace to attack targets in Afghanistan.

    Its not the desi liberals who allowed rendition of Pakistani citizens. Handing them over to the US for prosecution or torture in other countries.

    It wasnt desi liberals that rented out their homes to Americans in cantonment areas for hefty sums, even though foreigners are not allowed to live in those areas.

  • Nashervan Khan
    Mar 1, 2011 - 2:04AM

    What exactly is a “desi liberal”? Is being a liberal something reserved for non-desis only? Sadly we now use terms like “liberal” as an insult without understanding what they mean. My grandfather migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947. He was the son of a farmer and later a professor at University of Sindh (Hyderabad). He received a modest salary, and could only afford to raise his 6 kids in a 2 bedroom annex provided by the university. He was comfortable in both Urdu and Persian. Though I remember him speaking English fairly well by today’s standard, he always struggled with it (always jokingly telling us “yeh vilayati zabaan mera moon tera kar deti hai”). He died a modest man of modest means. He was also a self-confessed and unshakable liberal to the day he died. Not because he was or ever aspired to be a member of the so-called elite. But because he believed in democracy, humanism, civil liberties and human rights, and in polite, informed and rational debate to settle disputes. These are the values that real liberals do and should represent. I doubt my grandfather would recognize the closed-mindedness of today’s Pakistan. Certainly Pakistan would be much better off with a few more “desi liberals” like him.Recommend

  • Qaiser
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:11AM

    For me any article that is based on the idea of over generalizing a section of society lacks credibility. Whether it is referring to the “Islamists” or “Liberals”. These labels are themselves are western imports used frequently by our all so wise and independent thinking intelligentsia.Recommend

  • Karim Khan
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:48AM

    This is the best analysis I ever read of the Raymond Davis case ever in any Pakistani paper so far. The question the writer asks touches the core of the matter. Recommend

  • Fact Check
    Mar 1, 2011 - 4:09AM

    Take the fight all the way and see what happens. I bet, Pakistan is not going to win this battle.

    ISI will not get a accounting of CIA agents in million years. Moreover, there are CIA agents in every country. It is known fact, everyone spies on everyone else. Recommend

  • Tilsim
    Mar 1, 2011 - 4:35AM

    As if desi liberals are the source of our problems. What a ridiculous angle.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Mar 1, 2011 - 4:38AM

    One thing common between Desi Liberals and Desi Jihadis is that both do not share American Halva with each other. Not many years ago, during first Afghan war in eighties, Desi Jehadis were all over American Halva and would not allow anyone else to touch it. Now Desi Liberals are enjoying the feast and Desi Jihadis are cursing them with jealousy. Stay cool Desi Jehadi brothers, your time has also come. East Libya is already handed over to you with all its oil resources. Americans also need you in other Middle Eastern countries and in Iran, and that Halva is cooked in lot of Desi Ghee. Go and enjoy.Recommend

  • Arindom
    Mar 1, 2011 - 5:38AM

    What the CIA is doing in Pakistan?

    Answer – it is tracking down and monitoring the terrorists that Pakistan has been harbourig and encouraging.The CIA is actually doing the world a great service in trying to pre-empt terrorist attacks originating in Pakistan. God knows, without the CIA spying on the terrorists in Pakistan how many more Mumbai-type attacks would have occured, across the world.Recommend

  • Mar 1, 2011 - 6:09AM

    This is a very contradictory article. You start by saying that you are astonished by people defending him and then go on to say that the ISI knew about everything. Which begs the question, if they knew about Raymond Davis, and had no problem with him, why all the fuss now about his links to extremist organizations? Why not apprehend him then? Instead of crucifying the people for doing publicly now what the establishment did privately all along.
    As it turns out, he does not enjoy diplomatic immunity which in any case is not blanket but has varying degrees, and does not apply at all to actions taken outside one’s job, of which this would be a case in point.

  • Maulana Diesel
    Mar 1, 2011 - 7:28AM

    jeeez…another Citi banker trying to take us for a ride. Were you still head of emerging markets when your former colleague was selling our Steel Mill for pittance? When things were good we were considered Emerging Markets now we have been turned into SUBMERGING markets. First you guys lose billions of dollars, almost bankrupting the bank and now giving us lectures on ‘desi liberals’. Please do show us some mercy and keep your opinions to yourself.Recommend

  • Watty
    Mar 1, 2011 - 8:10AM

    The “real issue” is very simple. “Why is Pakistan still providing cover for extremist safe havens and fostering selective terror groups such as LT/JD and others?” If it were not for these extremist/terrorist groups in Pakistan, there would be no need for the CIA or US military involvement. Pakistan has repeatedly given a legally binding pledge to the international community to deny the use of its territory to these extremist groups but has failed to deliver. The real issue is “Does Pakistan insist on using terror as a tool in its relations with its neighbors and the international community”. That is the real issue.

    It is nonsensical for Pakistan to respond with its habitual lie ; “We are also victims of terror”. That is akin to a man who breeds hundreds of snakes to complain that he is also a victim of a few snake bites, while he refuses to take responsibility to get rid of all the snakes.

    The US has been very clear on its mandate: “If Pakistan is unable or unwilling to eliminate terror originating from its soil then the Afghan/ISAF forces will deal with the problem themselves in exercise of their internationally recognized right of self defense.Recommend

  • khan
    Mar 1, 2011 - 8:12AM

    Who are these ‘Desi Liberals’ who among other things, the writer asserts ‘dismissed earlier reports of the presence of hundreds of CIA operatives as right-wing conspiracy theories’?

    Any one who keeps up with current affairs knows that because of US troops in Afghanistan, the CIA ‘base’ in Pakistan is the largest outside of Langley. Perhaps writer is socially mixing with a crowd of ignorant people who profess to be liberal. He should instead vent at these ignoramuses for their stupidity rather than have a go at liberals in general. Recommend

  • Arifq
    Mar 1, 2011 - 9:03AM

    Dear Nazar Sahib, what name should be given to people such as yourself who choose to cherry pick and suffer from selective amnesia when it comes to history. Pakistan-CIA relationship extends all the way back into the 50’s-60’s when Peshawer was used by the Americans to launch U-2 spy planes against the Soviets. One can give you the benefit of doubt because of age factor for the raging hippy (60’s) era, but what about the so-called Afghan Jihad? Surely you could not have missed that great era of ISI-CIA nexus. Fact is, we have a rich history of serving American interests and to rile on recent events is nothing but sheer political opportunism. Recommend

  • Maria
    Mar 1, 2011 - 9:28AM

    The CIA should come clean and work together with Pakistani intelligence agencies. Otherwise, they will only alienate more people in Pakistan despite the good work being done by government agencies. Many Pakistanis have come to appreciate the humanitarian work and help in building Pakistan’s infrastructure. In one stroke all of the good will earned by working alongside Pakistanis stands to be jeopardized. This is a cause of concern for everyone who wishes to see good relations flourish between the two allied nations.Recommend

  • Mar 1, 2011 - 9:30AM

    Well written.

    Now wait, blogs are coming against you :)Recommend

  • Sami Shah
    Mar 1, 2011 - 9:38AM

    The only thing more offensive than your sentence structure is your assertion that “desi liberals” are some hive mind that all act the same. Those “desi liberals” (which means what exactly? Liberals that love naan? Liberals who can bhangra?) are just people who can be wrong about their multitude of opinions as often as they are right.Recommend

  • Maulana Sandwitch
    Mar 1, 2011 - 9:45AM

    Hundreds of CIA agents are here in Pakistan to hunt down Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, who are hiding in all parts of the country,without any visa or passport.Embassies, all over the world, provide cover to their nationals who are on official visits.Abu Zubaida was apprehended from Faisalabad,Khalfan Ghailani from Gujranwala,AL Shieb from Karachi,and many more from different cities.All such operations are covert,so you have not broken any news.The real, and not academic, issue is of immunity.Davis has immunity if the US Embassy declares him as a diplomat.Intelligence operatives serve in embassies under cover of diplomats.You may like to write another article”Wither Sovereignty-2″,about thousands of foreign terrorist who are using our soil,without having any valid visa ,passport or other travel documents.They are violating our sovereignty and are active accomplice in killing of more than 30,000,innocent Pakistani.You are again wrong, the biggest CIA covert operation in Pakistan, was conducted against USSR, in the eighties.BTW what is a Desi Liberal?Are there any foreign liberals also, residing in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Sheheryar
    Mar 1, 2011 - 10:08AM

    ‘Desi liberals’ are nothing but the sons and daughters of the corrupt elite class who are defending their personal interests in the name of liberalism. Recommend

  • Mir Agha
    Mar 1, 2011 - 10:20AM

    There’s nothing liberal about them. They’re leftists, bordering on 5th columnists.Recommend

  • Imran
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:08PM

    it could be isi strategy to get more funds,leverage in afganistan policy.

    They are corrupted in politics ,and more corrupt in handling with national politics…

    It still thinks of bleeding neighbors and keeping them unstable to win game..

    I am still in support of politicians controlling isi and army 100% …

    We are dealing with many people and this is the reason,nothing works as it is supposed to..
    we must have 1 policy,1 power,1 boss….Recommend

  • Mar 1, 2011 - 1:21PM

    ” ‘Desi liberals’ would do well to reflect upon the perception that in their zeal to fight extremism, they have by default, intent or design become defenders of the most blatant and biggest CIA ‘covert’ operation in the history of Pakistan — or, for that matter, one of the biggest in the CIA’s history.”

    what a brilliant write-up exposing the Orwellian “sheeps” !! Recommend

  • Mar 1, 2011 - 1:40PM

    Sorry to hear that both the liberals and the conservatives have no middle ground.. everyone sees the other with an eye of suspicion. Regardless of where you are coming from, the statement innocent till proven guilty should be applied to Raymond Davis.. However, when people state that he needs to be hanged regardless makes me cringe at the thought which is more akin to the extremism which led to Salman Taseer’s assassination.

    Lets find faults in ourselves as both the liberals and the fundamentalists have continued to fail the people of Pakistan due to their myopic view of reality..Neither should we be trading Raymond for Aafia.. i think its time to bridge the divide between the two! Recommend

  • faraz
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:43PM


    Which elite are you talking about: army, agencies, bureaucracy, religious groups, jihadi organizations, feudals, businessman, political parties? Do you consider them liberal? And which liberal has been the main recipient of American largesse? Its the army which is the main benificiary whether its Ceato Sento, Afghan Jihad or War on Terror. So its funny when the pro establishment right wing political and media groups talk of national honour and conspiracy theories.Recommend

  • rahul db
    Mar 1, 2011 - 4:02PM

    @Haris Chaudhry: Kudos man, I am from India and you are absolutely right, India does not want to destroy Pakistan but your army has to keep telling your people that story else they cannot justify their bill. Some nut cases like Bal Thakarey will spew nonsense, these people have no standing even in their own states forget the rest of India.Recommend

  • syed maududi
    Mar 1, 2011 - 4:45PM

    examples of a desi liberal are
    1- p hudbouy
    2- ayesha siddiqa
    3- p musharaf
    4- a a zardari

    it describes an over bearing and deeply condescending mind set, with the wrong assumption that not only do they know best, every one else is totally ignorant.Recommend

  • Aristo
    Mar 1, 2011 - 5:01PM

    Whether ISI tacitly allowed CIA operatives to enter here or that they were completely unaware of their entry into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan proves only one point, either way they failed big time and now instead of Jugaads (typical Pakistani reaction to resolve issues) formulate a potent strategy to deal with the CIA. I don’t think this is too much to ask for.Recommend

  • Wow
    Mar 1, 2011 - 5:15PM

    Dear writer more than 90% of Pakistanis are ”desi liberals”Only those people who are not attached to any mullah, military ,any political party , & who has nothing to do with violence. No body in this world endorse Lahore episode and more over US was choice of military not ”desi liberals”Recommend

  • Babar
    Mar 1, 2011 - 5:47PM

    If I am a liberal and I don’t want Raymond to go free, what does that make me?Recommend

  • Kamran A.
    Mar 1, 2011 - 5:58PM

    Why do we keep asking what these CIA operatives are doing in Pakistan? Is it not clear yet, let me cut through the chase, it’s called OIL. Everything since before and including 9/11 has been orchestrated by the neocons to lay the ground work for ensuring, that the US and it’s allies can monopolize the largest chunk of what remains of this quickly disappearing resource. Everything else is just semantics and details, smoke and mirrors…means to an end. That is the backdrop that needs to be ever present in our mind’s window when we discuss why these operatives are here. Spare me the name calling for pointing out the elephant in the room. Time has come that we start calling a spade a spade, and loudly. And if anyone feels the urge to invoke the ever so popular and conveniently dismissive, conspiracy theory defense against this contention then please also include a “sane” explanation for what happened to wtc 7 on 9/11, and that’s just one aspect of the official version of events on that day that doesn’t make any sense, there are dozens more. So now, look at what’s going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan from this vantage point and think again what people like RD are doing here? It sure as heck doesn’t have anything to do with protecting Pakistan or US for that matter from any would be terrorists. Recommend

  • Yousuf Nazar
    Mar 1, 2011 - 6:06PM

    Maulana Diesel: When as you put it “my former colleague” ( we never were collegues by the way) was privatizing, I had left the bank and wrote against the privatization.

    See this link to DAWN

    See not all bankers supported him. I wrote over 20 articles in DAWN in 2006-2008 criticizing both Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz’s policies. They were published in a book form “The Gathering Storm” by the Royal Books Company in March 2008.

    So you can’t bracket me with my “former colleague”. Recommend

  • Farrukh Riaz
    Mar 1, 2011 - 6:38PM

    I am delighted to see some of these “burgers” here squirming over Mr. Nazar’s crisp and brilliant piece. He was one of the first to expose the double game behind the drone attacks in the article he refers to. These people would dismiss any criticism of American presence as conspiracy theory. I have read hundreds of articles in the English press by these people many of whom write for the Express Tribune as well. I agree with the writer that is a secondary issue and that The real issue is that either the ISI allowed the CIA to send hundreds of agents, and is pretending ignorance or innocence now that the beans have been spilled, or it didn’t know this in the first place — which means that questions should be asked about the agency’s job performance.Recommend

  • Nirma Saigol
    Mar 1, 2011 - 7:09PM

    A desi liberal supports drone attacks but opposes the ISI. He/she condemns establishment but is allergic to a criticism of America and calls it anti-americanism forgetting America has been the biggest supporter of Pakistan’s military rulers. He shouts a lot about blasphemy law but ignores that most poor people in the country can’t even get two square meals. Why he does not care? Because he resides in a posh locality and participates in NGO discussions!Recommend

  • IZ
    Mar 1, 2011 - 7:13PM

    Hello. I’m a desi liberal. And I would very much like all these CIA/Blackwater/Xe types out of the country. At the same time I am not so naive or foolish as to believe that the ISI, MI and other “intelligence” agencies were unaware of these groups and their presence in the country. I would also like them to stop lying and trying to mislead the people of Pakistan as they so often have done in the past and are doing now with all their lies surrounding this case. As for Raymond Davis, as a good desi liberal I want Pakistan to be a country in which there is the rule of law. If this means Davis has legal immunity he should be expelled (along with the US ambassador and a bunch of other people of ‘dubious’ functions at the embassy.consulates). if he does not have immunity then he should stand trial which should be a model of fairness so no one can accuse the Pakistani courts of bowing to external pressure, whether from the US or from anti-US political parties.

    I realise that for desi non-liberals these positions seem to be “defending” Davis as they neither care about whether or not Pakistan is legally obliged to grant immunity or not to Davis, nor do they care if he was actually trying to defend himself or not, nor do they care if our own intelligence agencies are lying and misleading us. All they want is Davis to be executed immediately. For them the only law by which Pakistan should be ruled is their own will and nothing else. Sorry, but that doesn’t wash with me.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Mar 1, 2011 - 7:38PM

    “Desi Liberals” is oxymoron. They are neither desi nor liberals. Just look at their audacity that they call majority wrong while themselves as enlightened and on true path. One just wonders that what is the difference between the fanatics and so called desi-liberals. Except that they belong to two opposite ends of the political spectrum. Recommend

  • pakistan zindabad
    Mar 1, 2011 - 8:00PM

    Its very interesting to see the reaction of people when a writer strikes the nerve. But i wouldnt linger and listen to their explanation or their opinions because most of them who call themselves “Pakistani Liberals” are living abroad in luxury and checking bi-weekly to give their 2 cents worth.Recommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 1, 2011 - 8:16PM

    The ISI has hijacker Davis case to bargain for concessions with US govt. Its not liberals who are at fault here but the ISI which refuses to obey any domestic or international laws.Recommend

  • billo
    Mar 1, 2011 - 8:18PM

    First let Pakistanis get accounting from the ISI, from missing persons to its role in drone attacks. Then we can worry about the CIA.Recommend

  • Nirma Saigol
    Mar 1, 2011 - 10:17PM

    Bangash: you have missed the point. It is not the incident but what has been revealed afterwards is the subject of the article. A large section of our English press made fun of people who said US agents (Blackwater etc.) were operating in PakistanRecommend

  • Shaukat Wariach
    Mar 2, 2011 - 12:49AM

    Mr. Nazar has the honesty and courage to criticize the ISI. Many just blame the extremists but are afraid to speak about the ISI. Why some are not happy about the term. I think he has poked fun at those who dismissed every report of CIA involvement as a conspiracy theory. This Davis saga has brought out in the open CIA’s huge involement.
    And Maulana Sandwich, research your facts, the opertaion since 2002 is the biggest CIA has undertaken in AfPak. If terrorists are hurting Pakistan, the ISI and its one-time patron the CIA are not doing any better. Anyone can criticise them but it is takes courage to take on both the CIA and the ISI. I commend this article… clear with a punch!Recommend

  • Ignatius Riley
    Mar 2, 2011 - 1:17AM

    Reverse the situation: had two Americans holding weapons come upon a Pakistani driver, who had just come from an ATM with a wad of cash, been shot and killed, there would be a parade in the streets, much like for the murderer of the Punjab governor. A previous poster got it right: it has nothing to do with fairness, justice, rule of law at all. You want Davis dead, regardless of the intention and actions of the “victims.” Period. Ah yes, poor Pakistan, beset on all sides by U.S. conspiracies and India and I’m sure aliens from the galaxy Andromeda as well. All the ills of the country — a growing extremist insurgency bent on ensuring a 12th century version of Islam rules the country, and its neighbor, Afghanistan; economic woes; corruption in the government; etc. etc. ad nauseum — all, yes all are the fault of someone else.

    Surely the lazy analysis by educated yet willfully ignorant Pakistanis of why the U.S. is involved in Pakistan at all (remember 9/11?? oh, of course, that was a conspiracy too), plays no role. Of course, the fact that India prospers while Pakistan stagnates is only due to the actions of Pakistan’s enemies (news flash: the enemy is yourselves), the breast-beating over Kashmir (another news flash: the majority don’t want to be part of Pakistan), all are convenient to lament and cry over, as they remove the need for you to actually do something to improve your country and make it what it can be: a modern, developed beacon of an enlightened democratic Islamic state, one that shows tolerance and respect for democracy and the faith of others. Until you reject the extremists, reject self-pity, you will be, ironically, exactly what you believe (falsely, of course) the U.S. wants you to be: weak and at the whim of a foreign ideology.Recommend

  • Humanity
    Mar 2, 2011 - 3:07AM

    Who let 800 CIA agents into the country? Certainly not the ‘desi liberals’!Recommend

  • Tania Khan
    Mar 2, 2011 - 7:36AM

    Hi Mr. Diesel, have you been in hibernation… Mr. Nazar has consistently opposed both Shaukat Aziz and Zardari governments. It is not fair to stereotype people just because they are from a bank. Look at individual track record. Who can deny that most liberals made fun of people who said there are CIA/Blackwater agents in Pakistan. Now more facts are out. Both the government and CIA have a lot of explaining to do and it is right of the people to know!

    These modern defense society types are more interested in green card and going to parties and cannot take it when one of their own ( an American banker) takes them to task for it.
    So “desi liberals” stop telling us we depend on US aid. We the people do not, the big guns, the army, Zardari, etc. do. What difference it has made since 2001 when Musharraf told us it was necessary.. we are in greater mess than ever.Recommend

  • IZ
    Mar 2, 2011 - 9:15AM

    @Patriot said “the level of intolerance rampant in the left wing thats totally at par with the intolerance level ‘desi jihadis’ are known for.
    ‘Desi jihadis’ (as you call them) have blown up over 600 schools in Pakistan and continue to attack students and colleges in the country. Desi liberals are helping to build and fund schools across the country. Alas that someone proclaiming himself a “patriot” cannot see that this is not “at par”. If only our self-proclaimed patriots could at least understand the good that education does in the country then we would be a far stronger and stable country than we are now. Sir, if you have a political disagreement with liberals, that is fine, for we should discuss and debate what is best for our country so that the best solutions can emerge. But if you cannot see the difference between mass murder and political debate and discussion then your “patriotism” is only going to bring ruin upon the country.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Mar 2, 2011 - 12:06PM

    Finally the real and much more dramitic issue behind the killing of these innocent people has come to be realized by the Media. Who let these dogs out? If we are still to save this country from the biggest and unprecedented conspiracy to destroy Pakistan, it is imperative that an impartial judicial inquiry is conducted into this very question. The culprits at our end whether they are part of the establishment or the democratically elected government who are found to be responsible must be hanged outside Minar-e-Pakistan!!Recommend

  • Sharmeen
    Mar 2, 2011 - 1:21PM

    This brings out clearly the villains… both the ISI and the Americans. I agree with Shaukat that
    many just blame the extremists but are afraid to speak about the ISI and its long history of working with the CIA. Forget the aid, it has destroyed our country since Afghan War starting 1980. We all condemn extremists but what this article does is to highlight the fact that insitence of the liberals not to question US motives has divided the society and give corrupt generals and politicians space to tango with the US at the cost of very integrity of Pakistan.
    Very good, original, and incisive analysis. Recommend

  • Shahid Karimi
    Mar 2, 2011 - 2:27PM

    @Nadir El-Edroos:
    You should know there is fine distinction between liberals and progressives..the chief distinction being progressives tend to be veru concious about economic and social justice, lean towards the left, and do not support neo-imperialism or hegemony. Liberals more concerned with democratic governance and individual freedom. Mr. Nazar has a strong point but I guess most people are nor aware of these political terms. I do not claim to have any special knowledge but a masters in political science taught me some elementaries. Recommend

  • Shahid Karimi
    Mar 2, 2011 - 2:41PM

    @Ignatius Riley:
    Your response is a fairly tale, let’s deal with the facts!Recommend

  • Ignatius Riley
    Mar 2, 2011 - 6:03PM

    Where are these news accounts in the Pakistani press ridiculing those who denied a CIA presence in the country? Jang, Dawn, etc., for years have been full of articles claiming the CIA was in Pakistan. Is this really a surprise? What country doesn’t have its intelligence assets in its embassies abroad? No doubt there are ISI (and RAW, and MI6, and Mossad, etc) in the United States. So what? That is the nature of international relations and to somehow feign outrage at “disclosure” of the obvious is at a minimum disingenuous.

    But, yes, the situation in Pakistan is different, as one poster so aptly put it: Pakistan is offering safe havens to extremist groups (by the way, yet another political figure murdered, the Minister for Minorities) that are not only fostering continued conflict in Afghanistan but also threatening the existence of a modern democratic Pakistan. Can you really deny that? Pakistan views a Taliban government in Afghanistan as “strategic depth” against a putative threat from India. Unfortunately for Islamabad, this double game of fighting against the insurgents threatening Pakistan, while at the same time supporting those that are fighting in Afghanistan and Kashmir isn’t working. The links among all of them are too intertwined, and the goal for all remains the same: a theocratic government destined to doom economic, social and political growth in Pakistan and the region.

    Condemn the CIA, ISAF etc for fighting the insurgents all you want, march in support of the murderers of the Punjab governor and the Minister for Minorities, all the while downloading music and western films, getting visas for the US or UK, knowing that you can adopt the veneer of the injured nationalist/islamist while enjoying – and secretly, and you know it – breathing a sigh of relief that someone is combating an insurgency that would have you living a very, very different life if they wre to win.Recommend

  • saeed ahmad
    Mar 3, 2011 - 2:48AM

    Writer seems to be unaware of the way gov mechinary functions…ISI has no powers to stop anything… It only reports. It’d be better had the writer also questioned the role of Pak ambassador in USA, FIA and Rehman malik sahib who have been physically facilitating the entry of US nationals [CIA chaps]through bypassing the procedures and rules.

    How easily some people seem to have forgotten the way these CIA chaps’ entry was helped by the gov. Was it ISI who controlled and operated the airports when special chartered flights were landing on Lahore and Pashawer airports? Where were IB, FIA, and immigration people?

    Why are the SHOs and police officials in whose areas these foreign nationals are residing in private homes [of many cities] sleeping?

    And why are Zardari and Gilani quiet on the subject? It’s their duty to at least clearify, may be through a formal press release through the foreign office or interior ministry.

    ISI bashing has become a fashion in Pakistan and any cheapster who wishes to win a quick audience amongst masses happily indulges in this dangerous game. This newspaper needs to be more chosey in publishing these papers please in the larger public interest please.Recommend

  • saeed ahmad
    Mar 3, 2011 - 2:59AM

    @Maulana Diesel:
    Man you look to be being personal….!Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Mar 3, 2011 - 5:33AM

    Why is it that everyone that I meet from Citibank always introduces himself as the head of something or the other? Are there no worker bees at Citi? Maybe that explains the $50 billion write downs on CDO’s that were mis-marked and over valued on the books.Recommend

  • Tania Khan
    Mar 3, 2011 - 1:42PM

    Saeed Ahmed saheb, ISI -CIA axis goes way back to the 1980s and before. Do you think in Jan. 2008, when the CIA was setting up base near Quette, it was the Rehman Malik or Zardari who allowed it? Yes they are corrupt and incompetent but we cannot close our eyes from the reality that Army and the ISI are the most powerful in Pakistan and all visa renewals are vetted by them. Ask any former secretary or senior official and they would agree. ISI bashing is not a fashion when an Army rules a country for a long period and its Army Chief tells American ambassador he is thinking of replacing Zardari with Afsand Yar Wali Khan, one has to believe they are the ones who really call the shots? The writer is absolutely right and we have to be unbiased. In fact, he should be commended that he has taken on all .. the ISI, the CIA, and the ‘desi liberals’. I feel he is unbiased even though you may not agree with him on some points.

    Maulan diesel: can you do better than just pass some smart alec and personal remarks and avoid the subject which is what is it these armed CIA agents have been doing?Recommend

  • Nirma Saigol
    Mar 3, 2011 - 1:44PM

    Oh come on Maulan Diesel: have the guts to come out in the open instead of venting your anger at Citibank. Did they refuse you a loan or what?Recommend

  • Shaukat Wariach
    Mar 3, 2011 - 1:52PM


    I agree with you. These people are talking in tangents, making personal attacks without discussing the contents of what I think is a crisp and brilliant piece summing up the main issues.Recommend

  • Raza Jafri
    Mar 3, 2011 - 2:06PM

    Mr Saeed Ahmed: you dont seem to have any idea of how the ISI operates. It has more than 10,000 employees. It also operates through civilian agents. It was actively involved in Kargil, Siachen, Benazir’s murder, etc. Please wake up!!Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Mar 3, 2011 - 11:02PM

    Are you trying to tell me that these investment banks were not involved in the privatization of the Steel Mill? Have you been hearing the testimony of the Goldman Sachs traders to the US Senate hearing committee? Have you head of Fabulous Fab? These guys knowingly sold securities that were designed to fail, to their clients. This is no different than a car company selling a car with defective brakes to a client and then buying life insurance on the poor chap. This is not service to humanity my friend. I would much rather trust Zardari then trust another investing banking type giving me lectures on liberalism. Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana
    Mar 4, 2011 - 12:22AM

    @ Anonymous very true!!Recommend

  • Raza Jafri
    Mar 4, 2011 - 12:35PM

    Maulana Diesel

    What all the banking problems in the world have got to do with the subject matter or contents of this article. You are bordering on incoherence and hysteria. It does not matter who wrote this article, can we discuss the subject matter please? Yes, both the ISI and the CIA are responsible. Do you have a point?Recommend

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