March 16, 1995
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM: THE KARACHI ASSASSINATIONS
A week after the killing of two U.S. consulate employees in Karachi,
Pakistan, foreign commentators continued to deplore the violence, but
also looked at the incident's impact on U.S.-Pakistani relations and
international efforts to combat terrorism. In Pakistan, editorialists
promised that the attack would be treated with the "utmost" diligence by
authorities but saw Islamabad walking a fine line "between international
cooperation and foreign dictation" in prosecuting the case. Karachi's
centrist Dawn rejected U.S. Ambassador John Monjo's contention that
since the murder of Americans overseas is a crime under American law,
the perpetrators should stand trial in the United States. The
extradition of suspects would mean "a...great deal of embarrassment for
Pakistan," the paper said. Islamabad's radical Muslim was skittish
about the offer of U.S. assistance in prosecuting the case, saying that
"the parameters of such a cooperation should be clearly spelled out so
that our sovereignty is neither compromised nor targeted." Elsewhere,
there was solid support for dealing with the case through established
criminal justice procedures instead of through harsh undemocratic
measures. Dhaka's independent Daily Star said that the fact that "the
United States has offered FBI assistance to track down the assailants is
encouraging." Hong Kong's independent Standard judged that a crackdown
on Islamic radicals is "likely to radicalize already aggrieved
populations" and actually promote more extremism. An Indian paper said
that the imposition of new sanctions on Pakistan would be useless and
Observers also tried to assess the extent to which the killings had
damaged U.S.-Pakistani relations. Some noted the belief held by the
Benazir Bhutto government that the attack was part of a sinister design
by extremists to bring an end to her government's initiative to improve
ties with the United States. Most analysts concluded that in fact, the
incident will seriously hamper Prime Minister Bhutto's efforts to get
the U.S. Congress to lift the ban on aid to Pakistan imposed in 1990
because of the country's refusal to halt its nuclear arms program. But
writers also concluded that while Mrs. Bhutto "may be given the cold
shoulder" by American investors during her upcoming trip to the United
States, the fact that First Lady Hillary Clinton's trip to Pakistan has
not been cancelled indicates that bilateral relations have not been
Journalists in Pakistan, Bangladesh and France expounded on the dangers
of the spread of extremist violence. But these writers also blamed the
United States, in part, for this situation, saying that the Karachi
attack is the legacy of huge amounts of money and arms distributed by
the U.S. to anti-Communist guerrillas during the Afghan war. In Paris,
economic Les Echos hoped that the incident would open the eyes of U.S.
officials to the existence of an international Islamic terrorist
network, and, in an oblique reference to Algeria, make the U.S. "more
circumspect about the radical Islamic movements which they sometimes
treat with kindness."
This survey is based on 34 reports from 10 countries, March 9-15.
EDITOR: Gail Hamer Burke
PAKISTAN: "A Judicious View"
According to Karachi's centrist Dawn (3/15), "The opinion expressed by
Justice (retired) Dorab Patel, a former Judge of Pakistan's Supreme
Court, that any move to try outside Pakistan the persons suspected of
the murder of two American nationals in Karachi the other day would be
inconsistent with the laws and constitution of this country merits
"U.S. Ambassador John Monjo's contention that since the murder of
Americans overseas is a crime under American law, the U.S. government
would have the powers to pursue the perpetrators of the crime for the
purpose of a trial in an American court appears to be based on a
misunderstanding.... The other part of Ambassador Monjo's reported
statement that the suspect persons could be brought to justice in the
United States in addition to whatever measures the Pakistan government
may take for their trial appears to be even more problematic. If such a
thing happened, it would in effect amount to a second trial of the
suspects, something that is specifically barred under the fundamental
rights provided in the Constitution.... Ambassador Monjo should feel
reassured by the fact that the murder of the two American nationals in
Karachi has been universally condemned in Pakistan. There is no
question of the crime being viewed except with the utmost sense of
compunction. There should be no reason for the ambassador, or any other
American dignitary, to believe that the demands of justice would not be
fully met if the trial of the suspects in the case is held in a
Pakistani court of law. On the other hand, it would be a matter of a
great deal of embarrassment for Pakistan if the American authorities
were to insist upon the suspects being sent outside the country to face
a trial in the United States as in the similar case of the trial of a
Mexican national cited by Justice Patel in his statement."
"Karachi: Cause And Effect"
Karachi's centrist News opined (3/15), "Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
has blamed the West for its role in creating the present conditions in
Pakistan. The Afghan war brought the Western nations in droves to
Pakistan to assist in the 'holy war' against the Soviet Union. But when
the war ended, the West withdrew, leaving Pakistan to reap a rich
harvest of problems."
"U.S. Contribution To Extremism"
Peshawar's pro-opposition Frontier Post editorialized (3/15), "Quite
apart from the U.S. policies toward Pakistan, extremism here is also
fueled by the perception that the West is actively engaged in targeting
Muslims be they in Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya or Palestine. Given that
perception, any government that seeks to maintain friendly or even
normal relations with the West and particularly the United States--still
seen to be running the show in a political and military context--
confronts an uphill task in combating extremism.... If the issue of
extremism is to be tackled effectively, not just in Pakistan but in the
broader context, the United States and the West generally will have to
credibly demonstrate a different, much more even-handed approach."
According to the Frontier Post (3/12), "Although the United States has
reacted to the killing of the Americans in Karachi with restraint and a
sense of realism, the tragedy may well have adverse implications for the
prime minister's forthcoming tour of that country. In a crucial sense,
Wednesday's violence will almost certainly reinforce the current
international perception about Pakistan being a society at war with
"Who Should Tackle This Problem?"
Islamabad's radical Muslim held (3/12), "Terrorism at all levels and in
every region deserves to be eliminated and condemned but the situation
in Karachi is our problem and while we can seek help in better
methodology and skill from those who have effectively overcome this
problem, we will have to be very careful in handling the affairs of
Karachi especially when there is evidence that foreign hands are
involved in creating the law and order situation. The parameters of
such a cooperation should be clearly spelled out so that our sovereignty
is neither compromised nor targeted. We have already become a laughing
stock for the rest of the world in not understanding the delicate
difference between international cooperation and foreign dictation."
"Fighting Out Terrorism"
Lahore's opposition, right-of-center Nation remarked (3/12), "While the
killing of two U.S. Consulate employees in Karachi has evoked widespread
indignation from Washington to Islamabad, and it seems as if the entire
state apparatus in Pakistan has been jolted into action, the track
record of our intelligence agencies in tracing culprits involved in acts
of terrorism has been so outrageously poor that even vows of decisive
action by the President and the Prime Minister do not inspire much
confidence. And it would be a matter of shame if 'experts' were to be
flown from Washington to investigate the crime.... Whether it is sheer
incompetence or lack of political will to confront the prophets of
terror, the government's credibility to meet the challenge of violence
has slumped to an all-time low, raising serious doubts about its ability
to salvage a modicum of law and order in the country."
"Pakistan Nation Insulted"
The sensationalist, right-of-center Pakistan Observer asserted (3/12),
"There seems to be no end to the humiliation handed out to our nation
from Washington. The latest in the series is the fast dispatch of a
large contingent of detectives, forensic experts and ID kit makers
subsequent to the murder of two Americans in Karachi.... By this heavy-
handed and high-pressure approach, the United States has condemned this
nation, its institutions, and its integrity in one go. Washington
appears to believe that we are a lesser breed, with no competence to
probe crime, no knowledge of the due process of law and no idea what the
concept of justice means."
INDIA: "Pakistan's Woes No cause For India To Gloat"
An analysis in the independent Times Of India (3/13) by contributing
editor of the Economic Times Swaminathan Aiyar stated, "If Islamic
terror spreads in Pakistan, it will spread to India too.... India can
do little to curb the rise of Muslim militancy in Pakistan. That
country claims that Indian intelligence agencies have caused the
sectarian mayhem in Karachi, a claim the international community does
not take seriously....
"Many Indians want the United States to declare Pakistan a terrorist
state and impose sanctions on it. There is a small chance this could
help us, a bigger chance that it will be counterproductive. We must
distinguish between terrorism sponsored by the state (as in Kashmir) and
terrorism that undermines the state (as in the Shia-Sunni shootings and
the murder of U.S. diplomats). It would be extremely gratifying if U.S.
pressure could end Pakistani state support to Kashmiri militants....
Declaring Pakistan a terrorist state will not harm or deter killer
groups, and will weaken those elements in the administration (admittedly
not all) who want to control extremism.... Instead of depending on U.S.
pressure, we need to focus on winning over the alienated people of the
Kashmir valley. This will take time, a decade or more, but there is no
"Instead of gloating over Pakistan's travails, we need to see it as a
bell that tolls for us too. When the state is unprincipled, it created
major problems for itself.... We cannot be saved from the consequences
of such folly by asking for U.S. sanctions: We must put our own house
"Price Of Riding Tiger Of Terrorism"
The United States, declared an editorial in the independent Times of
India (3/10), "has had to pay with American blood for its policy of
selectively riding the tiger of terrorism."
"U.S. Should Reassess Ties With Pakistan"
An editorial in the independent Indian Express (3/10) judged that the
incident "should serve as an eye-opener to the United States, which has
been showing Pakistan considerable indulgence over the years." Noting
that despite hard evidence of Pakistani support to terrorists in the
Kashmir valley, Washington "has been fighting shy of declaring Pakistan
a terrorist state," the editorial found it "surprising that there is a
body of opinion-makers in the United States who continue to view
Pakistan as a trusted ally.... The killings should make Washington
reassess the emerging scenario in Pakistan and its relations with
"U.S. And The Subcontinent"
An editorial in the pro-Congress Daily (3/10) opined, "Now, when
American lives have been lost in Pakistan, the U.S. secretary of
state...has realized the 'dangers (the Americans) confront in the
worldwide struggle against terrorism.' The U.S. administration needs to
be reminded that what is happening in Karachi is exactly what happened
in Punjab some years ago and continues to occur sporadically in
BANGLADESH: "We Condemn"
The independent Daily Star opined (3/10), "Whether the aim of the attack
on the Americans in Pakistan is to hamper the process of improvement in
the U.S.-Pakistan relations is not yet clear. But the government of
Benazir Bhutto would like to believe that it was part of a sinister
design to bring an end to her government's initiative to improve the
bilateral ties. The fact that the U.S. First Lady's visit to Pakistan
later this month will go ahead as planned shows that America has
confidence in the host country. However, Benazir's visit to the U.S.
next month with the aim of inviting American investors to her country
may be given the cold shoulder.
"To know that the United States has offered FBI assistance to track down
the assailants is encouraging. The involvement of the U.S. intelligence
might add sophistication to the process of investigation hopefully
leading to an apprehension of the assailants. We sympathize with the
bereaved families of the victims and express our outright condemnation
of such an act of terrorism."
"Killing Of U.S. Diplomats Strongly Condemned"
Independent Banglabazar Patrika (3/9) commented, "Armed attacks are not
usually made on diplomats even during wars.... Yet we had to watch the
brutal killing of two diplomats.... The incident is a violation of all
international conventions and practices. We strongly condemn the
incident and hope that violence and barbarism will decrease in Pakistan.
We also hope that Pakistan will be able to uphold its position as a
civilized nation, not a militant one."
The conservative Times (3/9) editorialized, "The murder of two American
diplomats in Karachi yesterday has sown alarm in the government of
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's increasingly unconvincing prime minister.
Ms. Bhutto is due to visit America next month and the killings, coming
in the wake of the widely-publicized trial for blasphemy of a teenage
Christian boy, are bound to ensure that her welcome in Washington will
be much less effusive than she would like.
"The murders are accounted to be in reprisal for the extradition from
Pakistan to America of Ramzi Ahmed Yusuf.... Ms. Bhutto has condemned
the killings as part of a 'well-planned campaign of terrorism,' designed
to 'create fear and harassment' in Karachi. What she has not done,
however, is to explain how she proposed to check the descent into
anarchy of her country's commercial capital. Karachi is now an urban
battleground whose resemblance to Beirut increases with each passing
month.... Cynics have suggested that the government in Islamabad would
do well to redeploy in Karachi those Pakistani UN peacekeepers who were
recently withdrawn from Somalia.... The collapse of Karachi would be an
economic catastrophe for Pakistan.... Karachi--like the rest of
Pakistan--needs more democracy, not less."
The liberal Guardian (3/9) opined, "In April, Benazir Bhutto makes an
official visit to the United States.... She wants the U.S. Congress to
lift the ban on aid to Pakistan imposed in 1990 because of the country's
refusal to halt its nuclear arms program. The administration supports
Ms. Bhutto's plea on the grounds that U.S. business in Pakistan is being
hampered by the congressional ban. Their analysis is only partially
right. U.S. investment, and above all the welfare of Pakistanis, is
being undermined by extremism and violence, which the elected government
is failing to curb. The international community should be putting much
greater pressure on Benazir Bhutto to confront the insidious enemy
within before the country explodes."
Renaud Girard concluded in an editorial in conservative Le Figaro
(3/10), "The United States should do well not to forget the role it
played in the Afghan war against the Soviets. Pouring billions of
dollars, the CIA blindly gave its support to the mujahideen and to the
most fundamentalist Pakistani factions. This money is boomeranging
against the Americans today. The West, too, bears responsibility for
the evolution of the Islamist cancer."
"A Reprisal Operation?"
Economic Les Echos (3/9) said in an editorial, "The assassination of two
U.S. diplomats in Karachi yesterday seems to be a reprisal operation....
The deaths of the two diplomats should incite U.S. leaders to open their
eyes to the existence of an international Islamic terrorist network, and
make them become more circumspect about the radical Islamic movements
which they sometimes treat with kindness. The fact that this happened
precisely in Pakistan makes us wonder about the danger of manipulating
"One thinks that the United States is reaping, although unjustly, what
it had sowed during the Afghan war against Soviet occupation. In the
'80s, Washington supported...the most reactionary Islamic resistance
movements. Today, these 'Afghans' are back in their homeland...and they
often show violent opposition to those regimes who get along well with
the West and America in particular."
ITALY: "Fundamentalist Spoilers"
Economic Il Sole-24 Ore (3/9) contended, "The death of the two American
consular employees in Karachi is a triumph for those who want to restore
isolationism and obscurantism in the 'country of the pure.' No symbol
could have been more immediate and effective or have an equally
resounding echo in the world. The reason for the terrorist attack is
probably a reprisal for the arrest and the handing over...by Pakistani
authorities of Ranzi Ahmen Yousef, the alleged organizer of the '93
World Trade Center terrorist attack.... Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto
is scheduled to visit the United States in less than a month. The
fundamentalists have spoiled what was to be the most important trip
abroad by Bhutto, the time to reassure the United States about the
nuclear issue and to firm up contracts with American firms."
RUSSIA: "One Of The Assassinated Diplomats Was A Spy"
Under the headline above, Maria Smirnova and Andrei Smirnov observed in
reformist, business Kommersant-Daily (3/10), "Following the American
diplomats' slaying, the strife between the Sunni and Shiite communities
has gone beyond the framework of an internal conflict, assuming an
international character. Even so, the assassination of the Americans
will hardly impair the relationships between the United States and
Pakistan any further. In any case, Hillary Clinton is not going to
cancel her visit to Pakistan this month."
JAPAN: "Potential Damage To Pakistan"
Liberal Mainichi's New Delhi correspondent Kojima wrote (3/10), "The
killing of two U.S. consulate officials in Karachi...is casting a dark,
long shadow over the Bhutto government's ability to maintain law and
order in Pakistan. The attack is also adding a new twist to violence
sapping Prime Minister Bhutto's bid to portray Pakistan as a moderate,
Islamic nation open to Western investment. If terrorist attacks against
Westerners continue, U.S. and European investment will decline sharply,
throwing the female prime minister's economic growth program into
"The ambush occurred at a sensitive moment for Bhutto, who is visiting
Washington in April to promote efforts by the United States and Pakistan
to put their nuclear dispute aside and build a new relationship based on
economic ties. Using her status as a female prime minister of an
Islamic republic, Mrs. Bhutto is also trying to foster the image of
Pakistan in the Western world as an outward-looking, stable democracy."
HONG KONG: "Shockwaves"
The independent Hong Kong Standard opined (3/10), "The shockwaves from
this affair will reverberate far beyond the borders of Pakistan.
Fundamentalism is a threat to more secular Islamic regimes in, for
example, Egypt and Algeria, which are cracking down on fundamentalists
for self-preservation. But drastic repression is not only an affront to
democracy, it is, ironically, likely to radicalize already aggrieved
populations and promote the very Islamic extremism that rattled regimes'
military backers seek to contain.
"There is irony, too, in the fact that Washington reacted to the World
Trade Center bombing by showing Americans that it protects them and puts
their anxieties above foreign criticism. By doing so, however, it may
have put other U.S. citizens around the world at risk."
THAILAND: "Pakistan Deserves Support"
The lead editorial of the top-circulation, moderately conservative
Bangkok Post held (3/13), "Pakistan and its terrible killings in
Karachi are at the center of the world's eyes at the moment. But the
threat of terror is not restricted to any nation or area. It can strike
from anywhere at any time. Pakistan deserves full support from our
country and others, not least because terrorism worries us all."
"Bhutto Government Has To Bear Repercussions Of Zia Regime"
Noting that the current situation could create hurdles for further U.S.
commitments to invest in Pakistan, the independent Nation told its
readers (3/11), "The dictatorship of Zia ul-Haq was blindly supported by
the West during the Cold War because it was fervently anti-Communist.
Sadly, the repercussions in the post-Cold War are being borne by a
democracy in Pakistan trying to instil law and order in the country."