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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Pakistan’s interior minister has offered to quit if the presence of US security agency Blackwater in Pakistan

Pakistan’s interior minister has offered to quit if the presence of US security agency Blackwater in Pakistan is proved — but he could be treading on thin ice for more than one reason.
Talking to reporters here Saturday, Rehman Malik said US logistics company Dyne Corp had a presence in Pakistan since 2003 for providing transit assistance to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan but it was not associated with Blackwater.
He said then president Pervez Musharraf had permitted Dyne Corp to use the Pakistan route for assisting the international forces in Afghanistan.
Malik said he had held talks with the concerned authorities, including the intelligence agencies, and Dyne Corp’s presence in Pakistan would be regularised.
The company, he said, is also imparting training to the paramilitary Frontier Corps and other law enforcement agencies.
Malik’s remarks come even as the Lahore High Court has sought a detailed reply from the government on an application alleging that Blackwater was indulging in illegal activities in Pakistan and had a hand in the recent bomb blasts in Peshawar.
Holding there was a possibility that Blackwater was behind the Peshawar terror acts, the petition, filed by advocate Zafarullah, has asked that it be banned, Online news agency reported Friday.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Sharif, while issuing notice to the government on the petition, directed the deputy attorney general to file a detailed reply by Dec 4.
The petition contends that Blackwater was involved in unconstitutional and illegal activities in Pakistan and its personnel were freely roaming on the roads of Islamabad.
The citizens are being roughly treated by this organisation, he maintained.
The petition wanted the court to issue directives to government to stop Blackwater from indulging in such activities.
Peshawar has witnessed nine terror attacks since early October that have claimed over 240 lives and injured many more.
The city witnessed this year’s worst terror attack Oct 28 when a massive explosion in a crowded market killed 117 people and injured over 200.
The attacks have been blamed on the Taliban, which is battling the Pakistani military in the rugged South Waziristan region along the border with Afghanistan. The military has claimed considerable success in the operations.
Blackwater Global describes itself as an intelligence and risk management consultancy providing expertise, outsourcing and support functions for government, military and commercial clients.
“Passionate about delivering the finest products, services and talent available on the market, Blackwater helps clients gain insight into the complex activities, ideologies, capabilities and intentions of today’s asymmetric adversaries,” a posting on its website says.
Blackwater Global had convened a web symposium July 21 entitled ‘Top Challenges for Pakistan: Energy & Security’, addressing Pakistan’s strategy to tackle these challenges.

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