Security threats real and imagined

Apr 10th, 2012 | By | Category: The News

The News (Jang Group)A new report by Ahmad Noorani for The News claims that Haqqani’s missing Blackberry ‘could significantly help CIA, Mossad and RAW’. However, a quick review of the facts suggests that this is nothing but more sensationalist media fear mongering.

Husain Haqqani was summoned to Pakistan on 16th November 2011. landed in Islamabad on 20th November 2011. A few days later, the Supreme Court barred Haqqani from leaving the country. A month later and the former Ambassador could not even leave PM’s House, much less the country. And there he sat until the Supreme Court lifted the ban on travel on 30th January.

According to another report by Ahmad Noorani, Husain Haqqani instructed the Attorney General for Pakistan to direct Embassy staff in Washington to locate the device and deliver it via diplomatic pouch.

In an extraordinary development Pakistan’s ex-ambassador to US Husain Haqqani has instructed the Attorney General for Pakistan to direct the staff at Pakistan’s embassy in Washington to search his Blackberry Blackberrys from his luggage and dispatch them in a diplomatic bag to Pakistan, lawyer of Haqqani, Syed Zahid Hussain Bokhari confirmed to The News.

A few days later, the Attorney General informed the commission that despite a thorough search, officials were unable to locate the Blackberry device in either the Embassy or the Ambassador’s residence.

While Haqqani was under virtual arrest, officers were instructed to search both the Embassy and the Ambassador’s residence for the missing device. Can there be any doubt that every inch of both buildings was overturned in the quest? Still, officials claim they did not find it. Perhaps they didn’t. Perhaps the Blackberry remains sitting in some drawer or overlooked under a pile of papers. But that can hardly be the fault of a man who was sitting under virtual house arrest for more than two months over 7,000 miles away.

Ahmad Noorani’s latest report is supposedly based on the concerns of anonymous “Foreign Affairs Ministry officials”, but it should be noted that none of these officials point to any actual sensitive information being compromised. Neither does the report quote any officials from security agencies warning that any sensitive information had fallen into the hands of ‘CIA, Mossad and RAW’ or that a missing Blackberry could even present such a grave threat to the national security.

The timing of this report should also raise eyebrows. As noted previously, Husain Haqqani requested officials to send his personal Blackberry via diplomatic pouch over three months ago. If the device presented such a security threat, why was it not a security threat three months ago when Ahmad Noorani reported that officials were unable to locate it? Does it really set a security threat? Or is it just a convenient headline?

Perhaps it is worth considering another recent report, this one discussing a new survey that revealed “most Pakistanis feel the local media spreads negativity, is sensationalist and is sponsored by political parties”. If there is legitimate evidence against Husain Haqqani, it will be worthy of a news report. Until then, however, the public does not need to be fed empty speculations about hypothetical security threats. In short, facts please. Or is that just too much to ask?

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