Tuesday, October 21
London talking about bugging operation in Pak mission
Shyam Bhatia in London, Rediff.com, November 05, 2003
The bugging operation at the Pakistani high commission has been the topic of discussion in the diplomatic community in the British capital.
The operation was exposed by the Sunday Times in London though the newspaper did not reveal the mission involved. However, rediff.com learnt that it is Pakistan's.
The report has embarrassed the governments of Britain and Pakistan, which on paper at least are allies of the United States in the fight against terrorism. According to the paper, the US embassy in London was also party to the operation.
Such espionage has not been in evidence since the days of the Cold War, when electronic devices were attached to every nook and cranny of the embassies of the Soviet Union and its allies.
The bugging operation seems to have been prompted by efforts to track possible links between Islamic extremists and Pakistan's security agencies operating out of London. Another reason seems to be doubts that many UK-based Islamic radicals of Pakistani origin have joined the Al Qaeda, either in the border regions of Afghanistan or other hotspots in West Asia.
What is most revealing is how little the Pakistanis are trusted by their UK counterparts and how, for all the bonhomie that exists at official levels, a question mark hangs over President Gen Pervez Musharraf's true intentions and his decision to distance himself from Islamic radicals.
The exposure is also a blow to the prestige of Pakistan's newly arrived high commissioner, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, who presented her credentials to Queen Elizabeth II only last Tuesday. [...more]