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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Press anguish over US co-operation
pakistan
Pro-Taleban supporters voice their feelings in Pakistan
The Pakistani press is involved in a fierce debate over the possibility of the country helping the United States retaliate after last week's devastating attacks on New York and Washington.

In neighbouring Afghanistan, a pro-Taleban newspaper accuses Washington of using last week's events as a pretext to hit out at Islam.

Etefaq-e Eslam, a weekly published in the western Afghan city of Herat, says the Bush administration is using the attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon as an excuse to "crush Islam".

International arrogance is feigning Socratic irony while seizing the opportunity to crush the pillars of the Islamic systems

Afghanistan's Etefaq-e Eslam

Arrogance

"American officials know very well that Muslims of that country or other countries, in particular Osama Bin Laden, do not have the capability to carry out such terrorist actions.

"However, international arrogance is feigning Socratic irony while seizing the opportunity to crush the pillars of the Islamic systems."

Washington is "repeating the old song and accusing Osama... in order to mislead international public opinion and reassure the American people".

In Pakistan, the press is fiercely divided over Islamabad's role in the affair.

Targets

The Urdu-language Jasarat accuses Washington of "losing its mental equilibrium" in choosing Osama Bin Laden, Afghanistan and Pakistan as targets for "a third world war".

The real target is Pakistan ... Israel wants to militarily occupy the only nuclear power in the Islamic world

Jasarat

Jasarat suggests that "the real target is Pakistan", noting that the events are "part of a pre-planned project under which Israel wants to militarily occupy the only nuclear power in the Islamic world".

"We must understand that the Zionist lobby in the United States has started a worldwide war against Islam.

"The real question is whether the rulers of Pakistan show courage and steadfastness," Jasarat argues.

"But the danger comes from the classes which monopolise power in Pakistan. They show cowardice, weakness and the lack of conscience at every sensitive moment, which has destroyed Pakistan."

Blackmail

Another Urdu daily, Rawalpindi's Nawa-i-Waqt, counsels Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to "reject American blackmail, as it would confirm the Indian occupation of Kashmir if it does not get our cooperation".

The United States is trying to make us fight this friend... The American agencies are seeking a scapegoat to hide their own failures. Bin Laden is an easy target

Nawa-i-Waqt

One of Pakistan's largest-circulation dailies, Nawa-i-Waqt describes Afghanistan as "our neighbour and dear friend. The United States is trying to make us fight this friend... The American agencies are seeking a scapegoat to hide their own failures. Bin Laden is an easy target".

Cooperating with Washington will "destroy our national security, defence, foreign and domestic policies.

"Our situation would be worse than Iraq as we would lose the friendship not only of Afghanistan, but also of China".

Assurances

Islamabad's Urdu-language Ausaf, however, says the United States "must believe that the assurances given by Pakistan regarding the eradication of international terrorism are not hollow promises".

"The Pakistani people will also prove they hate terrorism the most."

An editorial in the English-language Pakistan Observer says the country should take advantage of a situation which was "unprecedented, marked by serious challenges and grave ramifications".

"It is imperative that the advantage of Pakistan's 'unstinted cooperation' in fighting terrorism should also accrue to Islamabad. Let Washington not be the only beneficiary of the international coalition."

Enemies

The News International, another English-language daily, says the Muslims have been singled out as "the new enemy of the next cold war".

Let us not fret over the indignity of being arm-twisted into befriending the US again or count the cost of another misadventure. Let us not ask the pointing fingers for proof, or point to Israel as the prime beneficiary of the slick operation

Anwar Ahmad in The News International

It said the cry "America is at war" had "stimulated xenophobic and religious prejudices".

A columnist in The News International, Anwar Ahmad, looks to a hypothetical 2011, when "all militant movements have been crushed".

"Let us not fret over the indignity of being arm-twisted into befriending the US again or count the cost of another misadventure. Let us not ask the pointing fingers for proof, or point to Israel as the prime beneficiary of the slick operation that has deflected attention from its barbarity, demonised the Muslims and set the US on a collision course with them."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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