US embassy reacts to allegations

* Spokesman says all journalists should carry out their duties responsibly

ISLAMABAD: The United States embassy in Islamabad has reacted to the allegations levelled against the US by former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Hamid Gul and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

Journalistic standards: In two separate clarifications issued by US embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire, it was stated, “Television stations and anchors have the same obligations as other journalists – to present the public with balanced views, to question unsubstantiated allegations by guests and to reject incitement.””
The spokesman said that during the past week, on some local news channels “Lieutenant General (r) Hamid Gul has repeatedly asserted the outrageous and baseless claim that the US government was involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto… The United States rejects this, and other false allegations regularly made by Gul about its policies and activities.”

He reminded that at the time of Benazir’s murder, the US swiftly and publicly condemned the act and had called for an independent investigation.

“Despite the fact that Gul gave no proof for his allegations against the US, his statements were not challenged by any of the TV hosts who invited him to their programmes… On Monday, April 19, terrorists attacked a peaceful Jamaat-e-Islami demonstration in Peshawar, killing 24 and wounding 45 party activists and two police officers. The US issued a statement condemning the attack and expressed our sympathy with the victims and their families,” read the second clarification.

However, he said the JI leadership later appeared on the media, alleging that the US was responsible for the attack.

“The US rejects such absurd, baseless allegations. The violent extremists who committed the vicious terror attacks in Peshawar have made it clear that they seek to kill as many innocent Pakistani citizens, soldiers and law enforcement officials as possible. Those who attempt to divert public condemnation of extremist violence show contempt for this week’s victims, including their own party members, Pakistani officials, and school children,” he concluded.


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