Tag Archive: WikiLeaks


Imagine Madhuri Dixit and Shahrukh Khan making an appearance in one of the Kabul theatres or the Tora Bora Mountains preaching enlightenment, moderation, non-violence and tolerance and the Taliban suddenly start feeling their hearts melt for American soldiers and Indian road contractors.  Don’t throw it away or laugh it off as a weird thought but it did exist at one point in time. The USA seems to have been under the impression that Bollywood heart throbs are so much worshipped in Afghanistan that their presence could make a lot of difference.   US diplomats suggested stars of India’s film industry could be sent to Afghanistan to help stabilize the troubled country, according to a leaked cable published Friday. The Express Tribune has reported that the confidential US document from March 2007, released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, said that high-profile Bollywood actors could play a key role in India’s “soft power” assistance in Afghanistan.

“We understand Bollywood movies are wildly popular in Afghanistan, so willing Indian celebrities could be asked to travel to Afghanistan to help bring attention to social issues there,” it said.

Bollywood, based in the western city of Mumbai, is a two-billion-dollar industry which has become increasingly popular abroad, not just among the Indian Diaspora but in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Gulf states. In Afghanistan, Bollywood films are regularly shown on television, though with the bare midriffs and plunging necklines of its sari-wearing actresses pixellated for a largely conservative Muslim audience. Movie soundtracks are also popular.

The suggestion, which did not come to fruition, was part of a role envisaged for India in what US diplomats called “people-to-people” assistance. Others included “symbolic” exchange programs in areas like sports or business. US diplomats in New Delhi described India as Afghanistan’s “natural ally” and advocated using its vast wealth of well-trained, and cheaper, expertise to build capacity in areas including the civil service and electoral bodies.

But it warned that a key obstacle to increasing Indian influence would be Pakistan, which fears being encircled by its larger, powerful neighbor and traditional rival. India has committed $1.3 billion to Afghanistan since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001. Thousands of Indians are building roads, sanitation projects and power lines, while India is also building the new Afghan parliament. But India’s involvement has come at a cost, with a number of deadly attacks on its interests in the country, including at its embassy in Kabul.

Also read:

WikiLeaks: India systematically torturing civilians in Kashmir (Telegraph)

WikiLeaks cables: US diplomats suggested Bollywood stars should tour Afghanistan (Guardian)

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The first sermon that Pakistanis received from the new US ambassador, as expected, was about the implications of rampant corruption in the country. It was immediately not made clear as to who was the possible audience of this sermon but it made one thing amply clear; uncle Sam’s envoy are bold (read: un-diplomatic) in and well-versed about the country of their posting, particularly when it comes to Pakistan. According to a report in the Sify News, the new US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, said Monday the country will not be able to attract foreign investment unless and until it is able to check corruption.

While addressing industry representatives at Karachi Stock Exchange, he said: ‘Corruption in government sector can deter foreign investors and their confidence should be restored to attract maximum investment in Pakistan. Corruption in public institutions has caused a loss of over $300 billion and these institutions suffering from bad financial health need to be privatized,’ he suggested.

‘The rich and the privileged will also have to pay taxes if the financial constraints need to be overcome,’ Munter remarked adding that the ‘levying of the proposed reformed general sales tax (GST) will also broaden the tax net and increase revenue collection’. The US envoy also pointed out that several joint initiatives for energy production with the help of US firms were awaiting Pakistan government’s approval. ‘These include a project worth $375 million for producing 150 MW of electricity,’ he said.

Pakistan is facing economic problem after devastation caused by floods and terrorism across the country. The US administration is one of the major foreign donors working with the Pakistani government to avert this crisis in energy, trade and other sectors. The relationship between the United States and Pakistan is “spicy”, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has said.

The ambassador was in Pakistan’s cultural capital a day before where he after a hearty spicy breakfast he said: “Pakistan-US relations are spicy. No doubt traditional Pakistani food is world famous.” Talking to the media on Sunday after enjoying a traditional Lahori breakfast at a local restaurant along with his wife Dr Merilyn Wyatt and US Consul-General in Lahore Carmila Conroy, Munter said: “Pakistani people are spicy as well as sweet, very much like the Lahori food.”

The US envoy, who also relished ‘halwa-puri’ and ‘lassi’, said Lahori food was among the best food items across the world. “Being a Californian, I prefer spicy food and I have great relish for Pakistani spicy food,” he added. Talking about the recent WikiLeaks releases, Munter said they would not affect the strong Pakistan-US ties. “The United States-Pakistan relationship is strong. Pakistan’s government leaders talk to me openly and honestly and I speak with them in the same manner,” said Ambassador Munter, adding, “We continue to work very closely with the Pakistani Government.”

Remember that old fellow from the US State Department hired by Obama Administration for  matters relating to Pakistan, that unwelcome guest and a frequent Pakistan visitor who irritates and annoys every time he opens his mouth, that Richard Holbrooke who, in the most difficult hour of Pakistani people made most insensitive remarks about Pakistan and its friends? An average American understands and respects the sensitivities of other people but this special representative of the representatives of Americans only added insult to injury of the hapless Pakistanis whose leaders have sold them so cheap that their very mention in the WikiLeaks produces nothing but a foul stink and stench.

It has now been revealed by Sify News that he has been sharing information he possesses on Pakistan in his official capacity with India. According to the agency, US special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke told Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari‘s government was weakening. This again was revealed by whistle blowing website WikiLeaks. In a meeting with Rao Jan 18, 2010 in New Delhi, Holbrooke spoke about the evolving political landscape in Pakistan with a ‘weakening’ President Zardari and the relationship between chief of army staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, The News International reported.

This man is the most serious security threat to Pakistan and should be banned from entering the country if he is not fired by Obama Administration.

During the meeting, Rao described the Indian effort in Afghanistan, saying it was focused on strengthening governance by building Afghan capacities and that the Indian engagement is transparent and should not be threatening to Pakistan. She said India needs some deliverables on terrorism before it can engage in bilateral talks with Pakistan. Holbrooke also pledged transparency with India on America’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.