Can't deny what Clinton said was true: Pakistani media

Islamabad : An editorial in a leading English daily Saturday maintained that much of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh words on Pakistan’s lack of seriousness in tackling the Al Qaida were true and that Islamabad should be honest enough to accept this.

Another editorial in the same vein said the “circumstantial evidence” of Al Qaida’s presence in Pakistan was “unending”.

“If we are honest, we cannot deny that much of what she said was true,” The News said in an editorial headlined “Clinton’s call”.

Clinton, who concluded a three-day visit to this country, Friday questioned Pakistan’s seriousness in taking on Al Qaida, saying she found it “hard to believe” Islamabad didn’t know where its leaders were.

“Al Qaida has had a safe haven in Pakistan since 2002,” Clinton told newspaper editors in Lahore Thursday, adding: “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to.”

“Maybe that’s the case; maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know…As far as we know, they are in Pakistan,” Clinton, the senior most official of the Obama administration to visit Pakistan, maintained, questioning this country’s leadership on its repeated assertions that Al Qaida leaders are not in Pakistan.

“But for all her pleasant smiles, Clinton did not shy away from making some things quite clear,” The News noted.

Having said that, the rest of the editorial focused on Clinton’s remarks on Pakistan-US ties, saying: “For reasons buried in ideology, many of us, whether we draw influence from the right or the left of the political spectrum, have difficulty in suggesting that an alliance with the US could benefit Pakistan.”

At the same time, it held that it would be “na�ve” to assume that Washington wishes to “help” Pakistan as an ally.

“International relations are after all geared around self-interest and self-preservation. There is nothing noble about Washington’s focus on Islamabad. But it is possible that at this particular moment in history the interests of both nations coincide. This is something we should use to our advantage,” The News contended.

“Circumstantial evidence is unending” of Al Qaida’s presence in Pakistan, Daily Times said in its editorial, adding: “Drone attacks regularly kill foreigners who can only be interpreted as Al Qaeda adjuncts.”

Pointing to Pakistan’s “tendency” to divide the terrorists into three categories: the Afghan Taliban who are good, the Pakistani Taliban who are bad and the “foreigners” sheltered by some Pakistani Taliban who are bad too, the editorial said: “These categories are patently false as is often proved by printed notices issued by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) naming Osama bin Laden and Mullah Umar as its patrons.

“There is a possibility that there is also an insufficiency of intent to take on Al Qaida and finish it off,” Daily Times contended.

The editorial was headlined “Is Al Qaida in Pakistan?”

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