Monday, 8 February 2010

More Blackwater paranoia in Pakistan

Maulana Fazl-ur Rahman, leader of his own faction (JUI-F) of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in Pakistan, told The Nation newspaper today that there were more than 9,000 staff from the US mercenary company Blackwater (now known as Xe) in Islamabad alone.
He was concerned that there were more Blackwater staff than police officers in the capital city. According to the paper: "He further stated that if Taliban were involved in crime in Pakistan then Blackwater was also involved in the same thing, adding that the Americans should not be given a free hand in Pakistan."
In the 2008 elections, Rahman's faction won only six general seats in the National Assembly, plus one additional seat in the Women Reserved section. In the provincial assemblies, it won 14 seats in the NWFP Assembly, but could only muster two seats in the 371-seat Punjab Assembly. The faction is generally regarded as being close to the Afghan Taliban, not least because many of the latter's leaders studied at madrassahs run by JUI-F in Pakistan.
In some quarters Rahman is known as Maulana Diesel, following his involvement in a scandal involving the sale of diesel export permits.
Rahman's comments echo those of Mufti Mohammad Rafi Usmani, grand mufti of Pakistan, who, as I reported here, said in December that Blackwater was responsible for a bomb attack in Karachi that left 43 people dead.

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