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Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Sources of conflict

Following is a Times of London timeline of events from a May 14 story by By Catherine Philp (The start date looks wrong, since the story appeared in the May 9 print edition of Newsweek, but this timeline could mean the story first went online on the MSNBC co-branded site on May 4).

  • May 4 Newsweek report claims Gauntanamo interrogators descecrated the Koran
  • May 6 Imran Khan demands US apology
  • May 7 Pakistan foreign ministry expresses “dismay” at report
  • May 10 2,000 students demonstrate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. State
    Department condemns desecration if true and says Pentagon has started
  • May 11 Four killed in Afghanistan after police open fire on demonstrators.
    Government and aid agency offices in Kabul attacked
  • May 12 Three more die in Afghan demonstrations. Hundreds march in major
    Pakistan cities. Saudi Arabia calls on US to investigate claims. Condoleezza
    Rice urges end to violence and says report is being investigated
  • May 13 More unrest in Afghanistan. Protests spread to Indonesia and Gaza
    Additional reporting by Zahid Hussain in Islamabad, Michael Theodolou in
    Nicosia and Richard Beeston in Baghdad
Now read this report on the Muslim news site Dawn, referencing a cartoon that appeared in the Washington Times on May 6th. (and in the Hindustan Times on May 7, the Pak Tribune and who knows how many other publications.)

Pakistan protests at derogatory cartoon

By Our Correspondent

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.

Days later, the same publication ran this headline:

Govt urged to lodge protest with US: Derogatory cartoon in newspaper

ISLAMABAD May 9: The National Assembly through a unanimous resolution on Monday condemned publication of a derogatory cartoon caricaturing Pakistan in the Washington Times. The NA asked the government of Pakistan to register its strongest protest and resentment with the government of the United States and seek unqualified apology from the said newspaper.

The resolution, which was jointly drafted and signed by the treasury and the combined opposition members, was read out by the ruling PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and was re-read by Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain for further clarity.It said, “This house expresses its gravest resentment over publishing of the cartoon which puts Pakistan in ridicule.

The people of Pakistan express ondemnation of the matter and demand of the government to take up the issue with the US government and ask for seeking apology from the said newspaper.The entire Pakistani nation had felt injured by the publishing of such a derogatory cartoon by the said newspaper and demand of the American government to get the said paper tender apology.”

And just yesterday, another regional publication, The Nation (Pakistani, not VandenHeuvelian) conflated the Quran desecration and WashTimes cartoon stories in one big ball of angry protest (including reports that Pakistani officials had complained to both Washington and the U.N.)

ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Tuesday came down hard on the US for desecration of the Holy Quran at Guantanomo Bay camp and demanded of onvening
the meeting of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to take the world’s super power to task.

While the government informed the House that it will go to court for legal battle if the Washington Times, which ridiculed Pakistan for its support in the US war against terror through a cartoon, does not tender an apology.

PML President Chaudhry Shujat Hussain while taking part in the debate asked the Washington Times to officially reget over the appearance of this cartoon.He said he has conveyed this message through the country’s envoy in the US, Gen. (Retd) Jehangir Karamat and vowed to fight for the prestige of the Pakistani nation if the US authorities do not address the protest.

Seems to me that Pakistani officials are equally indignant over the now discredited Newsweek report, and the insult to the country's pride by the right's favorite Beltway rag.

To date, not sure there's been any outrage, or apology, over and from the Washington Times.
posted by JReid @ 2:04 PM  
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