The BBC News recently reported that a secret document by Nato disclosed that the Taliban in Afghanistan were being directly assisted by Pakistani security services. The document, titled State of the Taliban: Detainee Perspectives, claimed to be based on the interrogation reports of thousands of captured militants, revealing that Pakistan knew the locations of senior Taliban leaders. A day after the publication, Pakistan strenuously denied having any links with the Taliban. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar categorically dismissed the accusation divulged in the report and said: “Pakistan had no hidden agenda in Afghanistan.” Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit also brushed aside the claims by terming the document as a frivolous attempt.

The document, however, is nothing more than a repetition of past claims that usually surface in the media propagating that Pakistan has been directing the Taliban to regain power in Afghanistan. This is yet another attempt by Nato to malign and pressurise the country to “do more” in the ongoing war on terror. It has nothing new and unique to tell to the world against Pakistan and lacks facts, figures, names and data to authenticate its claims. Why such incomplete and fact-lacking reports are tossed in the media without complete verification? Does it meet the standards of responsible broadcasts like BBC to air such baseless propaganda against a vital ally in the war on terror?

Ever since the Afghan war started, international media tycoons have been subjecting Pakistan to undue media trails and false accusations. In fact, BBC predominantly functions as the US/Nato mouthpiece against Pakistan and recurrently plays pressure tactics in support of its anti-Pakistan drive. Previously, BBC’s documentary, Secret Pakistan, had surfaced on the media with an equally typical theme that our intelligence agency, the ISI, supports militant groups. Now, the Nato’s self-devised document is a fresh example of its malice that comes at a sensitive time, when Pakistan has already blocked the supply route to coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The latest document was leaked a day before when Pakistani Foreign Minister was en route to Afghanistan to mend the strained relations between the neighbouring countries; perhaps, this was done to their ties. While the US and Pakistan relations were already under severe stress, such an undertaking by Nato and the international media is perplexing and likely to jeopardise the healing process. Even a well known anti-militancy journalist and author of several books on the Taliban, when questioned in an interview that how he perceives the timing of this leak, given that all sides are now pushing for a negotiated settlement? He answered: “The timing, obviously, is very bad because this is precisely the time that Pakistan needs to come forward on this peace process with the Taliban. Certainly, this kind of document is going to make things much more difficult for Pakistan to accept an American negotiated end to the war, and Pakistan is not going to cooperate with the Americans or the Nato.” He also opined: “There will be a lot of suspicion in Islamabad that the Americans deliberately leaked it at this particular moment, perhaps, to sabotage Pakistan’s efforts to reach an understanding with Afghanistan.”

Any threat to Afghanistan’s independence and sovereignty is a threat to Pakistan’s existence, whereas a stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our own interest. Pakistan is committed to non-interference in the war-torn country. The country has suffered enormously because of the long conflict in Afghanistan. The death of more than 30,000 non-combatants, 5,000 officers and soldiers, and 300 ISI officials in Pakistan is a testimony to its commitment towards the war. Pakistan is, undoubtedly, striving along with the international community to end terrorism in Afghanistan and bring the peace process to a fruitful end.

The international community should avoid blaming Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan. The world, unquestionably, needs its assistance to curb the menace of terrorism from the region. This blame game, therefore, must come to an end and all the partners in the counter-terrorism campaign should work together, trust each other and fight terrorism.

In the same vein, the international media, particularly BBC, must avoid such reckless attitude towards a vital country that enormously strived against extremism. The British government must rein in its media from airing such allegations, as it may have implications for the war on terror. Such malicious propaganda against Pakistan would certainly have adverse effects on the counter-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan, and would take this war nowhere else, but to a mere quagmire.

The writer is a freelance columnist.