Wearing army fatigues and a red cap, Zaid Hamid is perhaps Pakistan's best-known television personality. The strategic affairs expert, who coined the term 'Hindu Zionist' to describe the hypothetical Indian and Israeli nexus against Pakistan, has become a household name across the country for his conspiracy theories on economic terrorism and Indian-U.S.-Israeli plotting. His Facebook page currently has a following of 66,000, among them students of expensive schools and even pop singers and fashion designers. Whether it is explaining Taliban militancy, Pakistan's ever-present electricity crisis, Blackwater's involvement in planning terrorist attacks, or plans for the U.S. to take over Pakistan's nuclear weapons, conspiracy theorists call the shots in Pakistan.
Pakistan's booming television industry, allowed to operate by ex-dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, helped lead to his downfall. The country's vibrant Urdu press, which outsells its English-language counterparts in most areas of the country, also helps shape public opinion, with its small army of retired military officers and civilian officials dominate the opinion pages to air their misgivings and concerns. It seems that anti-Americanism on the op-ed pages sells to Pakistanis, who are among the most anti-American people in the world.
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Osama bin Laden's latest message to President Barack Obama loosely coincided with the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's visit to Washington, as he stated last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that al Qaeda's central command is still present on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, while spelling out a few of the details of this week's international conference on Afghanistan hosted by the British government on January 28.
While the U.S. and the U.K. are attempting to chalk out a new strategy to defeat al Qaeda and its Afghan affiliates in Afghanistan, bin Laden's message, reportedly delivered to one of the regional offices of the Doha-based Al Jazeera TV in Pakistan, warned of more attacks if the Palestinian crisis remains unresolved. "America will never dream of living in peace unless we live it in Palestine. It is unfair that you enjoy a safe life while our brothers in Gaza suffer greatly. Therefore, with God's will, our attacks on you will continue as long as you continue to support Israel," bin Laden said.
Al Jazeera screen capture