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INSIGHT 05:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

June 14, 2002 Friday

Transcript # 061400cb.k01


4183 words

Terrorist Attack Kills 10 in Karachi

Maleeha Lodhi, Imran Anwar

Jonathan Mann, Chris Burns, Suzanne Malveaux


After the shock of September 11, Pakistan and the United States struck against terror. Now terror strikes back. Ten people were killed in a bombing outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi.



JONATHAN MANN, HOST: After shock, Pakistan and the United States strike against terror. Now terror strikes back. Ten people are killed outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi.

Hello and welcome. There is a cement and steel reinforced security wall surrounding the U.S. consulate with an enormous hole ripped through it. Another barrier behind it has been reduced to rubble and the bodies of people who were standing or walking nearby were so badly mangled and dismembered that, at first, authorities weren't sure that they could accurately count the dead.

As the U.S. and Pakistan continue the war on terror, they got another message Friday that they are literally taking on a powerful force. On our program today, counterattack in Karachi -- first though, a look at the hour's headlines.

The U.S. has ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat it accuses of spying. The U.S. official tells CNN, Washington wants United Nations Diplomat Abdul Rahman Sahd (ph) expelled by the end of June. Sahd has listed his first secretary at the Iraqi U.N. mission. A note was delivered to the mission ordering the expulsion. No response yet from the Iraqis. They have the right to appeal though the order with the United Nations itself.

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops and the Vatican may have different ideas on how to deal with clergy who sexually abuse young people. U.S. bishops are meeting in Dallas to consider a proposal to remove abusers from their positions. A vote is expected, following a debate. But a major Catholic newspaper is reporting that the Vatican may not approve a policy of zero tolerance.

Parts of China are bracing for more torrential rain after some of the country's worst flooding in years. In China's Shaanxi Province, the army is racing to shore up flood defenses. At least 205 people have been killed. Hundreds more are missing. Flash floods and landslides have destroyed stretches of highways, brought down bridges, and forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes.

Ships from Argentina and South Africa are preparing to go to the Antarctic on a rescue mission. A German cargo vessel is trapped in the ice there. There are more than 100 scientists onboard, most of them Russian. An icebreaker is to leave from South Africa Sunday. It will be carrying emergency supplies and two helicopters. An Argentinean icebreaker is to meet the South African ship and together they will try to free the trapped ship.

The first round of the World Cup is over, leaving 16 teams heading into the second round. Japan finished at the top of Group H, beating Tunisia 2-0. Belgium finished second in the group, defeating Russia 3-2. In Group D, South Korea advances with a 1-0 victory over Portugal, the Koreans helped along when Portugal's ranks were reduced by two red cards, and the Koreans also helped the United States, in turn, which lost to Poland 3-1, but still had enough points to advance because of Portugal's loss.

The correspondent for the "Wall Street Journal," Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in January. In March, grenades killed five people in a Protestant church in Pakistan, two Americans among them. Last month, 11 French citizens and three Pakistanis died in a bomb attack, and now 10 people are dead in what is clearly not an isolated incident.

A previously unknown group calling itself Al Qanoon, the law, claimed responsibility for Friday's attack. We begin our coverage with Chris Burns in Karachi.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The blast was so powerful it shattered and scattered cars on this normally busy street. The bomb blew a hole in the reinforced outer wall of the bunker-like U.S. Consulate and it scattered body parts more than a football field away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just arrived at a meeting in another part of the town and sat down when we heard the boom. It was coming from this direction, came back and found out that, as you see here, the van had been blown up and it had taken out a large part of the wall of the Consulate and killed several passersby.

BURNS: Exactly how the attack was carried out remains under investigation. Authorities in this port city aren't ruling out a suicide attack, but are discounting other theories.

SINDH SAYED, PROVINCIAL POLICE CHIEF (through translator): According to the eyewitness account, traffic was moving and it did not stop. The explosion took place in a car which was among the moving vehicles.

BURNS: Officials say the bottom line is the bombing was a terrorist attack. Suspicion falls on Muslim militants President Pervez Musharraf has been cracking down on in recent months.

Two days earlier, authorities say they arrested five more suspects in Karachi in the so-called dirty bomb case, and Musharraf has not only joined the U.S.-led war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, he stepped up efforts to stop militants from entering the Indian-controlled section of mostly Muslim Kashmir.

Fighting there threatens to draw nuclear-armed India and Pakistan into war. That's why authorities say they have a pretty good idea who bombed the consulate.

MAJOR GENERAL RASHID QURESHI, PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: In the past, there have been certain extremist groups who felt very upset about Pakistan aligning with itself against terrorism in the world.

BURNS: Backlash against Pakistan's crackdown has already been deadly. A suicide bombing in Karachi last month killed 15 people, including 11 French workers. Another suicide attack on a church in Islamabad killed five people, including two Americans.

BURNS (on camera): The latest attack came just days after the U.S. and other governments called on their nationals to leave the country. That's got Pakistani authorities worried. An exodus could badly hurt the country's struggling economy.

Chris Burns, CNN, Karachi, Pakistan.


MANN: Chris Burns joins us now once again by videophone from Karachi. Chris, how seriously is the claim of responsibility being taken?

BURNS: Well, authorities have never heard of this group, Al Qanoon before, so it comes as a surprise. If you look at the message that they gave, it was a handwritten message that was faxed to news organizations here in Karachi. Authorities say they've never heard of the group but they're not discounting it entirely either. They take seriously any kind of threat.

MANN: I don't mean to be glib about this, but it almost seems like a murder mystery where every suspect has a motive. People are talking about al Qaeda. They're talking about Kashmiri extremist groups or remnants of the Taliban. Are all of those groups within Pakistan essentially the same now? Could anyone who would have carried out this attack has been allied with the others?

BURNS: Well, Jonathan, you say there are a lot of militant groups with a lot of different agendas, very good question exactly who might be carrying this out; however, we spoke with analysts in Islamabad in the last week or so saying that they fear that there would be some additional terror attacks as a result of Musharraf's crackdown, both against al Qaeda and Taliban as well as those militants who are crossing into Kashmir.

So it is a concern by officials here and by analysts that that is a threat that Musharraf faces. He's between a rock and a hard place here. He's trying to face off with the militants. At the same time, though, he's facing pressure. He's facing political pressure within his country among those who empathize at least with the militants who are crossing into Kashmir, who have crossed into Kashmir, who see this as a liberation movement against Indian control of the eastern part of Kashmir, so there are a lot of agendas that Musharraf is facing.

Also, face it, he's a general. This is a military regime. He was not elected. He has to be very careful about not arousing too much more opposition than he might already have -- Jonathan.

MANN: Chris Burns in Karachi, thanks very much. Americans are being warned to leave Pakistan and U.S. consulates in the country are being closed, at least for a day. Now the Bush administration is considering additional steps to protect Americans after the bombing. It says the attack is a vivid reminder that the U.S. is at war. CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is following the story for us from Washington -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening. The reaction from the White House was swift and with great resolve. Early this morning, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer saying that yes, it was a reminder that this nation is at war, the State Department officials saying that this was a deplorable act of terror.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: . with families that they knew in Pakistan as well. But these people, if they think they're going to intimidate the United States, they do not understand the United States of America and we will continue to hunt them down and seek justice.


MALVEAUX: And State Department officials believe that this could be the work of al Qaeda or al Qaeda operatives. They do not have any definitive evidence right now. It is under investigation. It is interesting to note that this comes just one day after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was in the country.

This has not come necessarily as a surprise to some officials at the White House, because as you mentioned before, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf under a great deal of pressure from those inside his own country, those who are very unhappy with the close relations that he has developed with the United States in the war against terror, and also in his efforts to reign in the Islamic militants who have been fighting the Indian soldiers over the dispute at Kashmir -- Jonathan.

MANN: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, thanks very much. We take a break. And then, the Pakistani president has declared war on terror. Is he winning? Stay with us.


MANN: He has been around the world on Pakistan's behalf. Now he can stay home for a while. Friday, President Musharraf accepted the resignation of his foreign minister Abdul Sattar. Sattar, a career diplomat, says the reason is his health. He is to remain in place though until the president appoints his successor.

Welcome back. These are anxious times for the government of Pakistan. The minister's resignation aside the border with India to the east and Afghanistan to the west are both unsettled and within the country itself, the president has been taking on very powerful groups. Joining us now to talk about all of this is the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi. Madam Ambassador, thanks so much for being with us. Let me ask you first of all about this terrible attack in Karachi. Everyone is guessing. What's your guess? Who do you think could have carried it out?

MALEEHA LODHI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Well, first, let me say that it's a sad day for Pakistan. The investigators are working hard in tracking down who could have been responsible for this. We do not have any definitive information yet, but whoever it is, this was an assault on Pakistan's resolve and on Pakistan's determination to fight terrorism.

And let me say that the government and the people of Pakistan will not be deterred. We will continue down this long and hard road because we know that we have to win in the war against terrorists.

MANN: Are there more terrorists in your country today than there were a year ago? Is al Qaeda, is the Taliban moving into Pakistan now that it's been pushed out of Afghanistan?

LODHI: Well, I think if you look at recent months, certainly it seems to suggest that there is a backlash going on and that the war has shifted in terms of the fact that Pakistan seems to be in the first line of fire, so to speak.

But as far as Pakistani authorities and my government is concerned, as I said, we will track down whoever is carrying out these terrorist attacks and we will make sure that they'll be brought to justice.

MANN: Is there any new alliances, any new relationship between those Afghan groups or al Qaeda members from other countries and Kashmiri extremists?

LODHI: I do not think and I do not believe and nor does the government of Pakistan believe that it is useful to try to confuse two very different issues here, and since you asked this question, I think it's important for us also to raise the point that we in Pakistan need to focus all our attention and energies against he war on al Qaeda and whoever their sympathizers may be.

So it doesn't help that tensions between Pakistan and India continue, even though they may have eased somewhat in recent days. But the fact that we are somewhat distracted is not helpful in the war that we have to wage against al Qaeda and whatever other people may be supporting them.

I think it's important for the international community to give Pakistan the support that it clearly needs right now and also to ensure that Indo-Pak tensions remain in a state of easing and de-escalation, because otherwise it's very hard for my country.

We have a three front situation today. We have the unsettled border, as you rightly put it, in Afghanistan. We also have these groups operating within Pakistan, and we also have our focus on our eastern border because India has mobilized an unprecedented number of troops and their assets and we would like the Indians to back off as we concentrate all our attention on fighting against al Qaeda.

MANN: You've covered a lot of ground there, but let me ask you about that last point. You're talking about not fighting but at least preparing against three different fronts. Other people have raised the question. I'll put it to you. Are Pakistan's security forces or the country's security apparatus straining to deal with so many different threats simultaneously?

LODHI: I think frankly that the global coalition today is straining to deal with an invisible enemy and a menace that we all confront. Now I think what is important here is the need for international support to continue to my country so that we are able collectively to face what is a common threat to all of us.

MANN: Donald Rumsfeld was in Pakistan earlier this week. The U.S. administration has been very publicly putting pressure on Pakistan to control groups that it associates with Kashmiri extremism within Pakistan's own borders. It's being said that the more the U.S. administration puts pressure on the Musharraf government, the more likely it is that extremists will turn to violence against the government. Is that public pressure unhelpful? Do you think that it's making the job of controlling terror groups harder when the government is publicly pushed to do more?

LODHI: First of all, let me make it clear that Pakistan and the actions that it is taking against terrorists and militant groups, after all remember we banned five militant organizations. We froze their bank accounts. We made sure that their offices didn't function. We closed down countless offices that these militant groups had.

Now these are steps that we're taking because we regard these to be in Pakistan's supreme national interest. What has not helped is the fact that India by escalating the situation on our border and creating the situation which was nothing other than military brinkmanship, has meant that we've had to really divide our attention between various challenges that we face.

But as far as my government is concerned, we know what we have to do and we will continue down that path because we regard that to be in the interest of Pakistan. But what is not helpful at this point in time is for a country on our eastern front to continuously threaten war or to continue to use war (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MANN: To be fair, some of the pressure, a good deal of the pressure has been coming from Washington. I didn't really hope to invite you to debate with an Indian representative who would not be here. Washington is publicly asking President Musharraf to do much more in Kashmir, and we see pictures of the president receiving dignitaries from Washington. I'm wondering within Pakistan whether that enrages people, seeing your government cozying up so closely to the U.S. government.

LODHI: I understand you, what you're saying, and I think the important issue here is that people in Pakistan look towards the United States as well as the international community to find a peaceful resolution of the ongoing crisis with India.

It's not irrelevant, which is why I raised this, because your questions enable me to give you some understanding on the context in which my country's operating and that context is extremely important to understand.

Now I think it's very important that the international community also helps Pakistan and India resolve this crisis peacefully so that the people of Pakistan, as indeed the people of Kashmir and elsewhere, are able to see that there is hope, that there is a peaceful resolution around, you know as some say that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that, I think, will enhance my government's ability to do even more in terms of taking on and cracking down on militant and extremist groups.

MANN: Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistani ambassador to the United States, we're always grateful to see you. Thanks so much for being with us.

LODHI: Thank you.

MANN: Another break now and then a closer look at how the war on terror may be adding to the trouble in Pakistan. Stay with us.


MANN: Crime and fear, the people of Karachi have learned to live with both over the years. The city of more than 12 million people, Karachi is the kind of place where extra security is a way of life for diplomats and businessmen and two-thirds of the city is considered off limits for police and visitors after dark.

Welcome back. There have been four attacks on Westerners in Pakistan over the last six months and three of them have been in Karachi. There are concerns there could be more if President Musharraf doesn't distance himself from the United States or take a harder line against India in the dispute over Kashmir.

Joining us now to talk about all of that is Imran Anwar,
a Pakistani journalist and terrorism analyst. Thanks so much for being with us. Let me ask you first of all about the attack in Karachi, the ones that preceded it, are you surprised to see foreigners turned into targets in Pakistan? That didn't used to be the case.

TERRORISM ANALYST: That's true. The surprise element is really gone since the war on terror started, and what is surprising is that the attacks have only been about four major incidents. So I shudder to think what will happen next because the whole idea for these people is not to kill individuals but to send a message.

Even in the Karachi attack today in the U.S. consulate bombing, what we see is not Americans killed or Westerners killed, but Pakistanis and Muslims killed. The whole message, however, was that the U.S. consulate was the target. So as these message attempts continue, we'll see more attacks, unfortunately.

MANN: Can't the government stop them or control them?

ANWAR: Well, quite frankly, the analogy I would give is that with the greatest intelligence machinery in the world as we have here, we couldn't predict McVeigh or somebody else carrying out a terror attack here or the Israelis, who are probably the best in the game of intelligence gathering, have not been able to stop suicide bombings, even with incursions into Palestinian areas.

So it's really impossible to track a vehicle moving down any road in Karachi or any other city in the world. So unfortunately, it's hard to do it that way. What needs to be done is to solve the root cause of the problem that's giving people the incentive to do these things.

MANN: I want to ask you about Karachi itself, though. Three of the four incidents were there. I have been to Karachi. I know good people who live in Karachi and I don't want to make any slighting at the city as a whole, but it is described by many people as a particularly dangerous place and not just for foreigners.

ANWAR: Well, I think it's a little bit unfair to characterize the city, I think it's almost up to 14 million now. The problem with Karachi is that, and I grew up in Karachi, went to school there, still have family members there and some of my best friends, the problem is that the city has grown like many other metropolitan areas in the world.

On top of that, two million illegal Afghan, Bengali and other refugees live in that country, so drugs and weapons, et cetera, are freely available because they come over from a country where weapons are commonly used, for example.

On top of that, it's a very large city. It's very difficult to police a city that size even with a developed nation like the United States. With a developing nation like Pakistan, the resources are just not there. So yes, there are parts of the city that I wouldn't go in at night or even daytime, but there are parts in Manhattan that I would not go during the daytime or at night either.

MANN: You make it sound like it's a city like other cities that has the problems of other cities. Are there any unique political conditions? You talk about the mix of people who are there. Does it contribute to the trouble that authorities might have there?

ANWAR: Yes, unfortunately that is very true. Not only is it 14 million people that we're talking about. Many of them actually are still very adamantly in love with their original ethnic identities. So Karachi is unique in that it is not only a metropolitan city that has two million Afghan and other refugees there, it has its own internal ethnic strife and religious strife on top of that, which makes it even more complicated; and it's very difficult to go into some areas because the ethnic groups tend to concentrate in certain areas more for political and other control.

MANN: What about the rest of the country? Is law and order taken for granted elsewhere, or are there areas outside of Karachi, outside or urban places with urban problems where the government has trouble establishing its rule?

ANWAR: Well, Pakistan as a whole is about as law-abiding as any other developing or developed nation in the world. Karachi has always been a metropolitan city, has always had the same problems that any metropolitan city would have, whether it be New York or Karachi or someplace in Latin America.

There are parts in the north of the country that border on Afghanistan, where weapons and drugs and crime are easier to commit simply because the police and the federal government are not able to penetrate those areas.

In the last few years, some things have changed because of the more intense terrorist type activities going on. Criminals have started finding a way to exploit their connections, their weapons, supplies, et cetera to be able to make more money by selling them to terrorists.

So, even though terrorism is our target, actually the criminal underground is there helping it, so we really are fighting two or more wars as Ambassador Lodhi pointed out a short while ago.

MANN: We have about 30 seconds by the way I look at the clock. What do you think is going to happen? Is the president going to win the wars?

ANWAR: Well, I think the war on terror is already a casualty of the tensions created with the India-Pakistan potential conflict. If we don't solve the root cause of the problem, which is Kashmir, if we don't solve that today, it's 54 years of waiting, if we don't solve it today, two weeks, two months, two years from now, we'll be having the same discussion, and that would not be a good thing for anybody.

MANN: Imran Anwar,
thanks so much for talking with us.

ANWAR: Thank you for having me.

MANN: One last thing before we go. Tensions between India and Pakistan seemed to bring them to the brink of war just a few weeks ago. Since then, things have eased considerably. Despite the suspicions which continue, the two governments have announced confidence building measures, among them moving navy ships away from each other's waters for example, and the battleground region of Kashmir is itself said to be more peaceful than it was.

Still, Pakistan's state news agency said that six civilians were killed by Indian shelling Friday, including three children. The Indian military reported that Pakistani shells landed on their side as well. Calm is a relative term in Kashmir.

That's INSIGHT for this day. I'm Jonathan Mann. The news continues.


June 15, 2002