Recently a petitioner in Supreme Court of Pakistan has questioned the objective of construction of a hotel inside the U.S embassy Islamabad. This petition was originally filed in 2009 against the astonishing level of expansion of fortress like U.S embassy. In a separate appeal, the petitioner challenges the expansion of embassy as what he calls the “(construction) of a mini city… and secret underground bunkers” and further raises his concerns over close proximity of these underground bunkers, seven-story high buildings etc to sensitive installations, such as Kahuta.

L.H.S picture courtesy BBC. R.H.S taken from Pakistan Today

US Embassy has acquired a total of 56 acres land in Islamabad of which 18 acres was integrated later on a ridiculously meager price of one billion rupees (18 times less than the nearby land sold by CDA to another party). Only for some laymen to comprehend that 56 acres land is roughly equivalent to 2,300 plots of 120 sq. yards which can accommodate six to ten thousand people. The Americans demanded for importing more armored vehicles, whereas the premises has sufficient allocated space for parking dozens of armed/unarmed armored vehicles. Beside other protection, the building is constructed blast proof and nuclear protected. Reports revealed that stationing of hundreds of US Marines along with a thousand of other staff inside the premises is part of the plan. The largest US embassy is in Iraq which is of 106 acres whereas this is the 2nd largest of US embassy in the whole world.

Moreover the US government purchased 20 acres of land from the Karachi Port Trust in 2005 for its consulate in Karachi and its momentous occurred in May 2008. Following two years of construction work office moved to the greater spot situated at New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road. In addition concerns were also raised as to why US consulate was established in Peshawar near the tribal belt?

One must wonder what could be the motive behind engendering such a gigantic embassy in Islamabad. Without a doubt one can say that it can't be built to oblige American vacationer or cookout exercises. Let’s be honest, the US embassy is not here for the conciliatory relations alone as have been repeatedly told instead there is a whole other world to it which pretty much any customary individual on street could talk about.  

To comprehend other roles of US Embassy or its Consulate, I would like to categorize it as follows:

a)      US Embassy – In Developed Countries:

The US embassy in developed countries is at least used for espionage. Many countries in past have shown their exasperation over spying by US agents in their countries. In July 2014 Germany publicly told the top U.S. spy official to leave the country, a rare and forceful act illustrating deep anger over revelations of American espionage and spying in the country.  The French president, Francois Hollande, has described revelations that the US spied on three successive French presidents as unacceptable and said Paris would not tolerate actions that threaten its security. And yet there were many other countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to Maputo, Mozambique etc where reports of espionage events came to surface.

b)      US Embassy – In Third World, Under Developed or War Zone Countries:

The US embassy in third world countries has several roles other than the diplomatic purport. It not only uses their official agents for spying but also uses NGOs for this purport. In addition America stations it troops/officials under the pretext of providing security to their diplomats which are then used for their covert operations and colliding with the local mercenaries. However, in the last decade or so it has been more intrigued in stationing and using Private military contractor (PMC) for this purpose. Iraq, the largest American embassy, was used for all these purposes and in this respect the name of Blackwater (i.e private military contractor) surfaced around 2006 when it was used after the Invasion of Iraq. The US effectively chips away at these techniques to either over-throw the Govt. who are not complying with their policies or engender an environment conducive for the Govt. to implement US-policies and so forth.

Few Reported Notorious US activities in Pakistan:

Let us dig down the case of Pakistan which comes under the second category. In Pakistan news surfaced in 2009, that some of FBI agents and private military contractor under the pretext of US diplomats have been working here since 2006.

Jeremy Scahill a well known journalist reveals that:

“In 2006, the United States and Pakistan struck a deal that authorized JSOC to enter Pakistan to hunt Osama bin Laden with the understanding that Pakistan would deny it had given permission.”

The same report reveals that at a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater (later known as Xe Services) are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives.

In another incident the US embassy official (Ghafoor) was caught taking pictures, spying and monitoring Zafar Chowk gate of Naval Headquarters in Islamabad just days before the suicide bomber attacked the Naval HQ on 02-Dec-2009. The official was said to have a fake nameplate of the motorbike. Unfortunately, the case was not booked against 1923 official Secrets Act for spying instead to ease of the public pressure the case was only booked for fake documents/name plates.

In another separate incident the espionage issue really struck hard on Pakistani media and public when Raymond Davis employee of Blackwater was arrested on charges of killing two civilians. Interestingly reports revealed that:

 “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency”.

The things recovered from him were 9mm Gloc Pistol, five 9mm magazines, a digital camera (which had photographs of Pakistan`s defence installations...) etc. Surprisingly some 27 contact numbers of TTP and Lashker-e-Jhangvi personnel were also retrieved from his mobile phone data, the links of which were used for igniting sectarianism or other anti-state incidents. Before more details could be revealed, Pakistani authorities under the US-duress withdrew all charges and sent Raymond back to US.

Robert Anderson, a former CIA agent of Vietnam War, reveals who Raymond is and what are the missions carried out by these covert agents:

“I had Davis’s job in Laos, 30 years ago…Davis is the American being held as a spy working under cover out of our embassy in Islamabad…In the Vietnam War the country of Laos held a geostrategic position, as Pakistan does to Afghanistan today. As in Pakistan, in Laos our country conducted covert military operations against a sovereign people, using the CIA. We were told if captured we were to ask for diplomatic immunity, if alive….In Laos, the program, I was affected to carry-out a systematic assassination of people who were identified as not loyal to US goals. It was called the ‘Phoenix Programmes’...” 

Well these are not few isolated events but actually these covert operation were in full swing. Some low profile events reveal how easily these agents were moving in and out of Pakistan. The arrest of Joel Coex an FBI agent with an unknown mission was arrested temporarily in 2014 at Karachi Airport carrying weapons and spying equipment. In another event William Jones US agent was arrested in 2012 with weapons and not to forget the arrest of four US officials who were caught near Peshawar motorway in June '14 with heavy weapons. All of them were US agents working in Pakistan who were later released.

Moreover some 50,000 plus visas were issued to Americans during 2008 to 2011 out of which 13,000 were categorized as US diplomats and senior officials. It also came as no surprise when John McCain (A US senator) in Aug`11 demanded the withdrawal of NOC requirement for US diplomats.

Surprisingly many of these events which were accidently revealed were actually the tip of iceberg of the activities being carried out by US in disrupting Pakistan either directly through its agents/contractors or through contacts with local militias like TTP.

Webster Tarpley (Author and investigative journalist in Washington DC) in an interview to RT TV inculpates US agents and Blackwater of directly involved in bomb attacks & escalating the terrorism within Pakistan.

Colossal Game

America, just after few years of its invasion, realized that this War cannot be victoriously triumphed, rather some sort of compromise or trade off with Taliban would be the right policy to give it some face saving back home which could only be achieved by bending Taliban towards the negotiation table. However, Taliban under the leadership of Mullah Omar adopted a hardcore doctrine of repudiating any offer of negotiation until certain prerequisite are fulfilled like exit of foreign forces from the country, removal of current puppet regime, etc.

US drone strikes alone were not yielding the desired results. So in an effort to cut down the support Afghan Taliban receives, Pakistan was asked for military operations in tribal belts even extending to those groups like Haqqani Network which were considered loyal to the objectives of Pakistan and were believed to have association with Pakistani establishment.

Though there was some initial reluctance within ranks of Pakistani authorities, but the greater concern was always how to tackle the public opinion for this massive operation.

So in a well indited script under the fiasco of terrorism, we see over last few years a havoc was engender in Pakistan by the US which could not have been without the consent of the Pakistani authorities.

The below graph illustrates the rise of terrorist incidents Pakistan has been tormented with. If we carefully scrutinize, the surge of terrorist incidents were commenced in year 2006 which is the same period when US contractors/agents arrived in Pakistan. A year later (i.e 2007) TTP believed to having links with these US contractors were also established. So there seems to exist a strong co-relation between the US covert activities and the rise of terrorism within Pakistan.

Though America is still far from the desired compromised solution it wishes to achieve with Afghan Taliban but the events unfolding seems to have shaped up pretty well considering where it was couple of years ago. As for Pakistan its regional influence has been shrinking over the last couple of years and its policymakers have brought it to a verge where America by hook or crook achieves what they want from Pakistan. Many believe that with this embassy expansion, the United States is orchestrating to use Pakistan for pushing its policies in the region, similar to what it did in Baghdad.

“The US is eying a long-term presence in the region to protect its interests and Islamabad is an ideal place for that purpose technologically, diplomatically and personnel-wise,” said former Pakistani foreign secretary.

Unless Pakistan adopts independent foreign/domestic policies and takes some concrete measures against the expansion of US embassies, its hegemony, its covert activities Pak is prone to move in a deteriorating trend which it is afflicted with.

Pakistan has all the ingredients to become a powerful progressive modern state (even a super-power) but lacks the sincere leadership and vision for which it was created.