Tit for Tat
Last year the Pakistanis expressed public outrage after reports appeared that British intelligence agencies were listening in to the happenings at Pakistan’s High Commission in London. The British government was excoriated in parliament and press and was duly reprimanded and reminded that Pakistan was, after all, a ‘frontline ally in the war against terrorism‘. (Since this phrase is used so very often, it will henceforth be abbreviated to FATWAT. The shorthand will save time, space and bandwidth).
But this week’s recall of Britain’s military attache in Islamabad reveals that the Pakistanis too have been up to some naughtiness of their own. The ‘old tartan barrel’ fell for a combination of beauty and intelligence that came in the form of a Pakistani defence academic, working for the usual ‘rogue elements’ within Pakistan’s ISI. Even in their embarassment the British authorities have been kind enough to exonerate not just Gen Musharraf, but also the ISI as a whole. As a result of this nice little diplomatic gesture, the Pakistani authorities were saved the need to pull out the FATWAT reminder.
Tailpiece: For the record, the British authorities have let it be known that while Brig Durcan’s relationship with the Pakistani ISI agent was ‘inappropriate’, it was only a ‘platonic friendship‘.