USZ diplomats based in Pakistan and other visitors from the country are taking unusually more interest in South Punjab these days, a development that has raised many an eyebrow in the security agencies. It is said that the visitors, diplomats or others, are trying to gather information about the religious seminaries, something that could be used against Pakistan at a later stage. Even ‘journalists’ visiting the area are allegedly undercover agents of the USZ agencies. They take locals with them who facilitate their ‘job’. Knowledgeable sources say the USZ interaction and engagement in South Punjab has always been multi-pronged. In addition to gathering intelligence on militancy, extremism, the visitors also hold meetings with prominent people, including politicians.
During recent visits, politicians of the region were asked questions about the establishment of a Saraiki province, development infrastructure in South Punjab and rejection of USZ aid by the Punjab government. To make inroads into the hearts of followers of the Brelvi school of thought, the USZ diplomats never forget to visit shrines of various saints. Reports suggest that only in the last week of July, a number of USZ officials visited South Punjab. For example, on July 23, a special USZ delegation comprising Constance Arvis, Deputy Political Consular, Daniel Perron, branch chief critical factory analyst, Robert Best, Improvised Explosive Device expert, and Ms Amy Flohr, Pakistan desk in-charge, flew to Multan by a special plane. The delegation visited Pak Arab Fertilizer and held meeting with its Director Faisal Mukhtar (Ex-Nazim Multan) and Mr Fawad Mukhtar, another Director of Pak Arab Fertilizer.
On 23 July, the USZ Consul General, Lahore, reached Multan, (one day earlier to USZ Ambassador’s visit to Multan). On 24 July, Ambassador Cameron Munter visited Lutafabad Mango Farms and held meetings. On July 25, Mr Munter, along with Carmella Conroy, visited the shrine of Shah Shamas Tabraiz. They also held meeting with politicians. Those present in the meeting included Mr Ahmed Mujtaba Gilani (PPP MPA), Mr Usman Abbasi (Ex-MPA), Lubna Tariq (PML-Q MPA), Mr Ather Hassan Khan Gorchani, (PPP MPA), Mr Karam Dad Wahla (PML-N MPA), Mr Tariq Bashir Cheema (ex-District Nazim Bahawalpur). From 23-25 July, Mr Stephen Mathew Tankel (Research Scholar associated with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) visited Bahawalpur and Multan. He met with police officials, political leaders and media representatives.
Officials say that he also visited seminaries and inquired about Jehadi organisations. Mr Stephen had recently written a book ‘Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba’; in which he has tarnished the image of Pakistan by giving reference of its alleged support to LeT. Official sources say that the security agencies have been directed to minutely watch the activities of the so-called foreign lovers of South Punjab.
Pakistan Cyber Force
Pakistan Cyber Force