Top US foreign policy experts laud Pakistan for journalistic integrity in the face of growing extremism

Joint statement released.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: A joint statement, released by some of the biggest names in worldwide Middle Eastern and South Asian foreign affairs, lauds Pakistan for its efforts to maintain journalistic integrity as it combats a growing tide of violent extremism within the country.

“At a time when Pakistan’s internal security challenges have never been greater, as evidenced by the attacks on Karachi’s international airport, and when Pakistan’s armed forces are undertaking Operation Zarb-e-Azb, we commend and support efforts by Pakistani authorities to combat violent extremism,” said the statement, released Monday and provided to The American Bazaar by co-signatory and co-founder of The Stimson Center, Michael Krepon.

“During this period in which national cohesion has become even more important, we call on Pakistan’s military and intelligence services to focus all of their attention against those who carry out violent acts against Pakistani citizens and property. The responsible exercise of press freedoms – and the freedom of press outlets and journalists to report current events – will be a key part of regaining the authority of the state during the trying times that lie ahead,” the report said.

The statement has been signed by Krepon and nine other members of various institutions and think tanks, based in both the US and Europe: George Perkovich and Toby Dalton, of the Carnegie Endowment; Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution; Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation; Daniel Markey of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); Scott Sagan of Stanford University; Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute; and Anatol Lieven and Walter C. Ladwig III, of King’s College.

Pakistan is currently facing a growing amount of religiously geared violence towards its minority population, something which the government is actively trying to curtail. It’s the latest in a string of violence afflicting the Middle East and neighboring countries of late, as the big news out of the region has been the increasing inadequacy of Iraqi officials to stop extremist group ISIS from toppling cities on its march towards Baghdad.

President Barack Obama has remained quiet on the situation in Pakistan, as have most in and around the White House, choosing to focus on whether or not the US should involve itself yet again with Iraq. Obama, who is returning to Washington today after a weekend in California, will have tough choices to face as the US faces the possibility of more incursions into the volatile region.

The Stimson Center, Carnegie Endowment, Brookings Institute, Heritage Foundation, CFR, and Middle East Institute are all based in Washington, DC, and most – if not all – of these organizations generally lean conservative. The statement, however, notes that just because an individual endorses the statement does not mean that he or she speaks for the entire institution.

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