Blackwater in Pakistan

A growing number of news reports from Pakistan are voicing concern over the alleged presence of the controversial security contractor Blackwater (or Xe) in Pakistan. The latest online edition of banned Urdu newspaper Zarb-e-Momin (linked to the outlawed al-Rasheed Trust) also issued an article on this topic.

After briefly outlining Blackwater’s history, columnist Aurya Maqbool Jan argues that the most shocking aspect of the firm is that it operates under the cover of NGOs and charity organizations in areas where Americans wish to carry military operations:

“It asks a few educated individuals to engage in welfare activities in the area; while this facade is being maintained guerrilla-like soldiers sneak their way in.”

In Pakistan, Jan claims, Blackwater headquarters are situated in the University Town area of Peshawar, and the NGO cover used by the firm is that of “Creative Associates,” an organization involved in development work in the tribal areas.

“Driving dark colored armed vehicles, wearing even darker shades, carrying heavy weapons, they come out of their cars only during traffic jams in order to protect the important personalities sitting in it. […] Under the pretext of providing protection to NGOs and its American staff members they enter their target area, and soon thereafter envelop entire regions under their influence.”

Jan suggests that retired army officials, bureaucrats, journalists and workers of human rights organizations in Pakistan may already have been hired to realize Blackwater aims in Pakistan.

Jan reminds his readers that Blackwater has been accused of “murder, kidnapping, (and) sexual violence.” He draws a comparison with Iraq whose people are “very familiar” with Blackwater activities; because NGOs were spying for Blackwater in “all Iraqi cities”, and “killed Iraqis everyday.”

The writer warns that if the Pakistani people does not turn away these “unwelcome guests”, Pakistan could turn into another “Falluja or Najaf”.

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