New Delhi: Pakistan is reaching out “urgently” to retired bureaucrats, ambassadors and politicians in the West so that they can create goodwill for Pakistan in these democracies, especially in the United States, specific information accessed by The Sunday Guardian has revealed.
This particular action by Pakistan, sources aware of the development, including a western diplomat serving in India, was necessitated in view of the criticism it has faced and increased scrutiny that it has come under from various quarters following the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban and the subsequent events.
The fact that ISI chief Faiz Hameed went to Kabul to have symbolic “tea” before government formation in Kabul, even as diplomats of other countries were desperately trying to leave the restive region, has strengthened the narrative among western observers that the Taliban were, all this time, working on the directions of Islamabad. The same view has got additional credibility after intelligence agencies of these countries found irrefutable proof of technical assistance—including by way of satellite imagery—provided by the ISI to the Taliban commanders during the takeover of the Panjshir valley from the resistance fighters.
With the Joe Biden dispensation making it clear that it will be moving away from executing military options in the restive Af-Pak region, unless compelled to do otherwise, Pakistan officials are worried over the impact of the economic method of controlling “terror” that the Biden administration will be executing in the coming weeks.
The effort to recruit influential individuals is being done with a lot of “urgency”, with a deadline of everything being put in place by 1 October, which is a very crucial month for Pakistan’s economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), during its annual programme on 11-17 October, will decide whether or not to extend further monetary assistance to Pakistan. On 13 October, a $1 billion Eurobond (a type of debt instrument) that Pakistan needs to repay is maturing, for which it is working to float another bond. Most importantly, a meeting of the FATF is scheduled for mid-October, during which the financial institution will decide whether or not to shift Pakistan to the white list from the grey list.
Sources said Pakistan will need the complete support of Biden to ensure that the IMF helps it out. A positive outcome on both these fronts related to the IMF will increase the credibility of Pakistan among the managers of the Western capital market. The scrutiny and criticism of the role being played overtly and covertly by Pakistan in Afghanistan is going to increase in the coming days. And it is to tackle this that the Pakistan agencies have asked its officials to prepare an exhaustive list of diplomats and politicians, especially those who are a part of think tanks or are looking for post-retirement “opportunities”. “Each one from the list compiled is being approached either directly by the Pakistan foreign ministry or through indirect methods to rope them in so that they can basically speak on two things—how Pakistan suffered during the last 20 years and yet continued to help the US-led NATO forces, and, secondly, how it is a victim of a ‘complex’ disinformation campaign that has been launched by India since the last half a decade. The belief among the relevant officials in the Pakistani establishment is that these two narratives will gain more credibility and traction if they come from the mouth or pen of retired western diplomats, ambassadors and politicians,” a senior official monitoring the situation told The Sunday Guardian.
It is because of these emerging developments that Pakistan is right now on a shopping spree and spending massive amounts of dollars to create a pool of supportive voices in Washington, Europe and the UK.