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What does Pakistan use Lobbyists for?

Asif Ali Zardari.

Asif Al Zardari opens his wallet.

According to Reuters, they use them to deny that anyone in the Pakistani government knew that bin Laden was hiding near the Capital for close to six years in the biggest house in the neighborhood:

WASHINGTON (Reuters/Tim Reid) – Pakistan‘s Washington lobbyists have launched an intense campaign on Capitol Hill to counter accusations that Islamabad was complicit in giving refuge to Osama bin Laden.

Alarmed by lawmakers’ demands to cut off billions of dollars of U.S. aid after bin Laden was found living in a Pakistani safe house for six years, President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered a full-court press to quell mounting accusations that it helped the al Qaeda leader avoid capture.

Mark Siegel, a partner in the Washington lobbying firm of Locke Lord Strategies — which is paid $75,000 a month by the Pakistani government — told Reuters on Thursday he had spoken twice to Zardari since U.S. special forces killed bin Laden on Sunday, and “countless” times to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington.

“They are certainly concerned,” Siegel said, adding that suggestions the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden’s whereabouts was nothing more than speculation.

Wow. $75,000 a month to put out press releases.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy isn’t buying it, however. He told Vermont Public Radio:

“It’s impossible for them not to have some idea he was there.

Mark Siegel, referring to claims by the Afghan government that Pakistan must have known bin Laden’s whereabouts, said:

“Must have known doesn’t mean knew.”

Sure.

Afghanistan Koran Protest Leaves At Least 8 Dead, 2 UN Staffers Beheaded

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan

MAZAR-I-SHARIF

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan, April 1 (Reuters) – Eight foreign employees of the United Nations were killed on Friday in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif after protesters over-ran their compound, police said, in what looks to be the deadliest ever assault on the UN in Afghanistan.

Two of the dead were beheaded by attackers who also burned parts of the compound and climbed up blast walls to topple a guard tower, said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for the northern region.
Over a thousand protesters had flooded into the streets of the normally peaceful city after Friday prayers to denounce the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, by a U.S. pastor, and after two or three hours violence broke out.
The chief of the mission in the city was wounded but survived, and the dead included employees of Norwegian, Romanian and Swedish nationalities, he added.
The Koran burning was denounced by Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Long-standing anger over civilian casualties has been heightened by the Koran burning and the recent publication of gruesome photographs of the body of an unarmed Afghan teenager killed by U.S. soldiers.The Christian preacher Terry Jones, who after international condemnation last year cancelled a plan to burn copies of the Koran, supervised the burning of the book in front of a crowd of about 50 people at an obscure church in Florida on Sunday, according to his website.

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I wonder when we are going to learn, as human beings, to do away with ALL religious beliefs which do nothing but pose us against each other… when we are going to stop ALL violence in general, including riots and wars, and talk things out so that everyone wins… when we are going to END the favoring of the very rich over the working poor and stress the equality of everyone. One thing seems certain, it’s not likely to happen in this century… and if we last the next 100 years as a species on this planet, despite pollution, war and greed, perhaps all humans will settle down and live bright and beautiful lives.
It may happen sooner if we all try hard enough…it may happen. But I doubt it.