Washington: In a move that gives all indications of a downward spiral setting into motion for bilateral relations between the United States of America and Pakistan, Islamabad has denied permission to US embassy staff to enter the frontier capital of Peshawar. As the state capital of Pakhtunkhwa, erstwhile North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Peshawar is widely regarded as the most important staging point for all anti-Taliban and terror operations in the frontier districts of Pakistan.
The action is being reported even as Washington has deeply embarrassed Islamabad by exposing an ISI operation in Washington DC that was operating as a lobby group to promote the Pakistani view point on Kashmir. It was a long-standing operation that sought to influence, and fund, US lawmakers on the all-important Hill on positions related to Kashmir – an operation that the Americans had left undisturbed for well over a decade.
The arrest of the ISI operative, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, in Washington, a man who for long was posing as an 'activist' for Kashmir, is widely regarded as a huge setback for the Pakistan-sponsored separatist movement on the Indian side of Kashmir.
The claims of the Hurriyat and other separatists in the Valley, of being 'indigenous' movements, representing the interests of the people, now stand thoroughly exposed, for Fai's arrest and his indictment reveal that he was also a conduit for funding operations of these groups and individuals over a long period of time.
The separatists now stand exposed as being no more than frontmen for the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani military intelligence agency.
Quoting US and international aid officials, the Washington Post Sunday said Pakistani authorities have repeatedly denied permission to US embassy employees to enter Peshawar to attend meetings or replace workers at its consulate in the city over the past ten days.