– In Pakistani Media, the U.S. Is a Target for Acrimony
By SALMAN MASOOD
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The United States might still be weighing its options about how to deal with Pakistan, but many politicians, retired army generals and popular television talk show hosts here have already made up their minds that America is on the warpath with their country.
Such is the media frenzy and warmongering that popular talk show hosts have even begun discussing possible scenarios of how Pakistan should react if the United States attacks the country. One television news channel has even aired a war anthem.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has called on a conference of opposition political parties and government’s allies for Thursday to discuss the crisis. The government is also enlisting allies.
Islamabad, the capital, has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity with the visits of Chinese and Saudi officials. The American ambassador, Cameron Munter, has also met with President Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.
After meeting with Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu of China on Tuesday, Mr. Gilani said that “China categorically supports Pakistan’s efforts to uphold its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” an oblique reference aimed at the United States.
Earlier in an interview with Reuters, Mr. Gilani warned against any cross-border raids by American forces in Afghanistan. “We are a sovereign country,” Mr. Gilani was quoted as saying. “How can they come and raid in our country?”
Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence chiefs, meanwhile, have conveyed their message through their posturing. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the army chief, canceled his Monday visit to Britain, stoking a sense of crisis.
On Sunday, General Kayani led a meeting with his top military commanders. No press statement was issued, but leaks to local media outlets warned of a “stern response” to any attack on Pakistan by American forces from Afghanistan. ….
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