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Pakistan protests at derogatory cartoon

May 07, 2005


WASHINGTON, May 6: The Pakistan Embassy in Washington has protested against a cartoon appearing in a section of the US press that ridicules the country’s role in the war on terror. “We are disgusted with the insensitivity of the editors of the Washington Times. They have insulted the 150 million people of Pakistan,” said Mohammed Sadiq, Pakistan’s charge de affaires in Washington.

“This insensitivity is totally inexplicable. If this is not a mal-intent attempt to undermine Pakistan’s efforts in war on terror, it is an extremely regrettable and poor judgment call by the newspaper,” he said. “This betrays the mindset of the editorial board.” The cartoon shows a US soldier patting a dog that holds Abu Faraj Al Libbi and saying: “Good boy … now let’s go find bin Laden.”

The Libyan terror suspect, who was the third-ranking leader in Al Qaeda, was arrested in Pakistan.

President George W. Bush has described Al Libbi’s arrest as “a critical victory in the war on terror” and said that he “applaud(s) Pakistan and President Gen Pervez Musharraf for their strong cooperation in the war on terror”. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: “Pakistan deserves most of the credit for arresting … an important field general.”

Mr Sadiq said: “The Washington Times, obviously, felt otherwise. The newspaper’s reaction to the laudable action of arresting a dangerous terrorist like Al Libbi is totally unwarranted.” He said the Times was strengthening the hands of extremists because “this is exactly what the extremists and terrorists have been saying about Pakistan’s cooperation with the US”.

Mr Sadiq noted that the view in the extreme fringe of Pakistani society was surprisingly similar to that of “the extreme fringe of the US press”.

“We hope that this mal-intent on part of Washington Times would not provoke a wider reaction in Pakistan and it will be ignored with the contempt which it deserves,” said the Pakistani diplomat.