Tag Archives: US Embassy

Ambassador Olson’s Eid al-Adha Message

Ambassador Richard Olson

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend best wishes to all Muslims in Pakistan on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. I also congratulate the nearly three million pilgrims, including thousands of American Muslims, who are performing the Hajj this year. This great peaceful gathering breaks down barriers of race, class, and culture, and reflects the true image of a global community.

Those making the Hajj are a reminder of the powerful role that faith plays in lifting individuals and communities to a higher standard.

As Muslims unite to embrace the virtues extolled during the Hajj – those of sacrifice, benevolence, and brotherhood – I wish peace and strength to the people of Pakistan.

Eid Mubarak!

Acting U.S Chief of Mission Richard Hoagland Speaks to ARY’s Beenish Javed

Acting Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Richard Hoagland, recently sat down with ARY News Foreign Affairs correspondent, Beenish Javed, to discuss key issues in US-Pakistan relations including shared counter-terrorism operations, drones, and how American economic assistance can be better used to improve Pakistani sentiments towards the US in the future.

Ambassador Munter Statement on Raymond Davis Confirms DoJ Investigation

The US Embassy in Islamabad released the following statement by Ambassador Cameron Munter today.

Ambassador MunterThe families of the victims of the January 27 incident in Lahore have pardoned Raymond Davis.  I am grateful for their generosity.  I wish to express, once again, my regret for the incident and my sorrow at the suffering it caused.

I can confirm that the United States Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the incident in Lahore.

I wish to express my respect for Pakistan and its people, and my thanks for their commitment to building our relationship, to everyone’s benefit. Most of all, I wish to reaffirm the importance that America places in its relationship with Pakistan, and the commitment of the American people to work with their Pakistani counterparts to move ahead in ways that will benefit us all.

Quality of US Reporting on Pakistan is Lacking

The quality of US reporting on Pakistan is lacking. This is increasingly evident from the number of reports filed by respected, award-winning journalists at mainstream media outlets that end up proven inaccurate. While some of the confusion may be due to the generally complex nature of US-Pakistan relations,  producers and journalists need to re-examine their processes for vetting sources and confirming information before it is released. With the stakes as they are, we simply cannot afford to keep making mistakes.

TV CameraIn the most recent example, ABC News reporters Matthew Cole and Nick Schifrin reported yesterday that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon threatened to send Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani back to Islamabad if Raymond Davis is not released. This report was immediately denied by the Pakistani Ambassador via Twitter, “Read my tweet: No US official has conveyed any personal threats 2 me or spoken of escalating tensions.”

When ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper responded, “That’s not a denial,” the Pakistani Ambassador reiterated his denial: “This is: Read my tweets: No US official, incl the NSA, has conveyed any personal threats 2 me or spoken of extreme measures.”

What is curious about the report by Cole and Schifrin is that they didn’t seem to ask the Pakistani Ambassador who, as demonstrated by his Twitter feed, is quite accessible to journalists. Instead, they cited “two Pakistani officials involved in negotiations about Davis” and “a senior U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.”

Ambassador Haqqani noted that the Pakistani officials Cole and Schifrin spoke to could not have known what was said in the meeting with NSA Donilon as he was the only Pakistani present. As for the senior U.S. official who confirmed the report, we would be wise to remember that senior government officials have been known to feed high profile journalists statements designed not to inform, but to influence public opinion. Examples of this behavior were well documented in Bob Woodward’s most recent book, Obama’s Wars1.

Following the ABC News report, Pakistani English-language daily Dawn spoke with the US Embassy in Islamabad which described the ABC News report as “not true”, a position confirmed by an official press release from the Embassy early this morning which describes the story as “simply inaccurate.”

But ABC News is not the only major media outlet that’s come under fire for its reporting on Pakistan recently. We have observed in the past that The New York Times has occasionally published problematic coverage of Pakistan, and Pakistani blogger Syed Yahya Hussainy earlier this week criticized The New York Times for relying on the same individuals for comment on issues despite evidence that they may not be neutral observers.

Additionally, as we noted on Wednesday, news reports have suggested that tensions over the fate of Raymond Davis threatened trilateral meetings scheduled for later this month, but this assertion too has been denied by the US government.

Beale also said that there was no change of plan in President Asif Ali Zardari’s trip to the US, and nor was President Obama planning to cancel his trip to Pakistan. The spokesperson said that the US embassy and consulates will continue work as per usual in Pakistan.

We wrote on Wednesday that “Both nations’ needs deserve respect and attention, and the only path to a solution that satisfies both nations is open and constructive dialogue.” In order to facilitate such a dialogue, we need the press to cut through the rumor and speculation that clouds public perception about international relations.


1 See: Woodward, Bob. Obama’s Wars. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010. 157-159.