Security agency Blackwater not operating in Pakistan: US

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ISLAMABAD - The US embassy here has rejected suggestions of secret operations by American security agency Blackwater in Pakistan, terming them false and baseless.

An article in a US magazine alleging Washington’s collusion with Blackwater or any other contracting firm were equally baseless and false, the embassy said in a statement on Wednesday.

“US government programs for Pakistan are open and transparent and function in partnership with the government of Pakistan,” Ambassador Anne W. Patterson said in the statement.

“US personnel and programs in Pakistan have only one purpose - to assist the government and people of Pakistan as they face the complex challenges confronting their nation,” she added.

The statement comes as the Lahore High Court last week sought a detailed reply from the government on an application alleging that Blackwater was indulging in illegal activities in Pakistan and had a hand in the recent bomb blasts in Peshawar.

Holding that there was a possibility that Blackwater was behind the Peshawar terror acts, the petition, filed by advocate Zafarullah, asked that it be banned, Online news agency reported Friday.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Sharif, while issuing notice to the government on the petition, directed the deputy attorney general to file a detailed reply by Dec 4.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had Saturday offered to quit if it was proved that the security agency had a presence in Pakistan.

Zafarullah’s petition contended that Blackwater was involved in unconstitutional and illegal activities in Pakistan and its personnel were freely roaming on the roads of Islamabad.

The citizens are being roughly treated by this organisation, the petition maintained.

The petition wanted the court to issue directives to government to stop Blackwater from indulging in such activities.

Peshawar has witnessed nine terror attacks since early October that have claimed over 240 lives and injured many more.

The city witnessed this year’s worst terror attack Oct 28 when a massive explosion in a crowded market killed 117 people and injured over 200.

The attacks have been blamed on the Taliban, which is battling the Pakistani military in the rugged South Waziristan region along the border with Afghanistan. The military has claimed considerable success in the operations.

Blackwater Global describes itself as an intelligence and risk management consultancy providing expertise, outsourcing and support functions for government, military and commercial clients.

“Passionate about delivering the finest products, services and talent available on the market, Blackwater helps clients gain insight into the complex activities, ideologies, capabilities and intentions of today’s asymmetric adversaries,” a posting on its website says.

Blackwater Global had convened a web symposium July 21 entitled ‘Top Challenges for Pakistan: Energy & Security’, addressing Pakistan’s strategy to tackle these challenges.

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