As reported in the press on March 2, the US Congress has been requested to allocate $ 22.9 million to form a Quick Reaction Force comprising specially trained Pakistani personnel who would be deployed at the US Embassy in Islamabad and its Consulate in Karachi. The US would deploy 25 additional special protection specialists and four diplomatic security agents at its missions in Pakistan. To complement this, the Obama administration has also sent to the lawmakers a plan worth $50 million for Comprehensive Communications Strategy to counter what it has called 'extremist views (I suppose, anti-Americanism) and create America-friendly environment here. A Rapid Response Team is being set up for that purpose. The Quick Reaction Force would primarily be responsible for providing a tactical and medical emergency response capability at the compounds but, in addition, could also be called upon to provide support at the time of high-level visits or to attend to security incidents affecting US personnel outside the compounds. The last bit i.e. providing services outside the compounds could be the one we in Pakistan find as the most undesirable because this could undermine our own law-enforcement agencies. Worse still, and most likely, these forays outside could be vastly expanded as the need be and the personnel used to carry out subversive activities within our country might also get increased. We know in Iraq, the police had once arrested a team of British Special Services Group personnel red-handed and locked them up in a police station but the British Army raided the premises and got them freed. Coming to our region with the useful experience gained in Iraq, this US-British nexus could wreak havoc in our cities. In our country, unfortunately there are divisions on sectarian and ethnic grounds, which could easily be exploited by these skilful operators who could start riots here. For example, by blasting a Sunni mosque and later targeting a Shia Imambargah, and repeating it a few times, they could start Shia/Sunni riots in Pakistan. They could use the ethnic divide in Karachi, using it the same way. We saw in the recent Ashura blasts in Karachi that due to shortage of equipment, staff, or whatever, our law enforcement agencies do not have the adequate capacity to deal with such emergencies. In these circumstances, giving a free hand to Americans would be suicidal. -S.R.H. HASHMI, Karachi, March 3.