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Pakistani merchants ban videogames for portraying country as terrorist breeding ground



Pakistan's electronic entertainment association has ordered merchants to pull the video games Call of Duty and Medal of Honor as the games "unfairly depict the country as a breeding ground for excessive violence, and where security forces have ties to al Qaeda," Al Jazeera reports.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the makers of Call of Duty and Medal of Honor would portray Pakistan in such a light. After all, Pakistan is the country where Osama bin Laden lived for 10 years after 9/11, the last six of them in a massive complex just outside of Abbottabad, Pakistan's version of West Point. Pakistani security forces were somehow unable to find him in the closed, garrison city, and yet the CIA and US Navy SEALs could. But Pakistan was able to jail a doctor who helped the US track down and kill bin Laden.

Without Pakistan's provision of a safe haven for the Afghan Taliban, the group would have been incapable of maintaining an effective insurgency that held off the NATO Coalition for 11 years. And Pakistan has further undermined the Coalition's effort in Afghanistan by choking off its critical supply line for months at a time.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate shelter and coddle the so-called "good Taliban," such as the Haqqani Network, and the Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Mullah Nazir groups. These groups are "good Taliban" because they do not advocate the overthrow of the Pakistani state, but merely want to kill US and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. They are allegedly part of Pakistan's "strategic depth" against India. These good Taliban also shelter al Qaeda and a host of domestic and foreign terror groups. The US has killed dozens of top leaders and operatives for al Qaeda and allied groups in drone strikes in areas run by the good Taliban.

Pakistan also continues to support the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group that conducted the 2008 terror assault on Mumbai, India in which 166 people died. The group is designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and its leader, Hafiz Saeed, who founded LeT with the advice and support of Osama bin Laden, is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Yet Saeed is a popular media personality in Pakistan; the government refuses to arrest him. LeT is merely the most prominent, home-grown terror group that operates with impunity within Pakistan.

Additionally, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate ruthlessly pursues its enemies in Pakistan. This includes journalists such as Syed Saleem Shahzad, the intrepid reporter who tirelessly documented the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and the terror groups' links to Pakistani security forces. Shahzad was kidnapped by the ISI, tortured, and executed, and then his body was thrown into a ditch.

I could go on, but won't.

Still, I cannot figure out a single reason why Pakistani merchants are shocked, shocked! at the depictions of their country by Call of Duty and Medal of Honor.



READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani merchants ban videogames for portraying country as terrorist breeding ground"

Posted by g at January 26, 2013 3:16 PM ET:

It's interesting that these merchants can take the high moral ground when they are selling counterfeit copies of all games. The good news for EA is that they won't lose any money because of the ban, only the counterfeiters would suffer were it enforced (which it seems unlikely)

Posted by mike merlo at January 26, 2013 4:19 PM ET:

Thank you Bill. You've inspired me to no end. Having read your "comment" I am now in the process of selling all my worldly belongings in the US & moving to Pakistan.

Posted by Charu at January 26, 2013 7:21 PM ET:

Pakistan, always good for a laugh if nothing else. But the joke is really on us since we still designate it as a major non-NATO ally, and with head-enabler/apologist-in-chief John Kerry as Secretary of State it is assured even more US largesse.

Posted by Vyom at January 27, 2013 12:24 AM ET:

85% games are pirated in Pakistan that is not the reason creators will not alter games but Pakistan has covertly supported AQ and Taliban that is the reason games will not be altered.

Posted by Will Fenwick at January 27, 2013 10:56 AM ET:

If the indians ever decide to cross the line of control, we should move across the border and crush the islamist havens in warizistan. The Pakistanis will be too busy fighting the indians to care much.

Posted by Arjuna at January 27, 2013 8:55 PM ET:

Bill, you seem a little exorcised over this whole Pakistan conundrum. It likewise vexes me, and keeps me awake when I could be sleeping. You summarized the paradoxes well, and thanks for for your excellent memory and your attention to detail. This AFP piece appears support your views with both empirical evidence and live, human sources (!).
http://dawn.com/2013/01/27/pakistan-still-global-jihad-hub/
God bless the brave truth finders of Pakistan!
PS People often fail mention Mullah M. Omar, under protection somewhere there. Not good.

Posted by Knighthawk at January 28, 2013 6:44 AM ET:

"unfairly" - You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. ;)

Posted by Birbal Dhar at January 28, 2013 10:18 AM ET:

Unfortunately when you have a Muslim country, which was formed on the basis that their religion cannot live with another religion and want to claim territory from a non-muslim country, you will guarantee having the army leadership in that Muslim country using jihadi fanatics, who are cheap and prepare to kill themselves for the cause, even if renegades of these jihadis kill the people who train them and their fellow citizens.

Posted by David at January 28, 2013 4:59 PM ET:

"How DARE you portray us in a bad light! Even though it is true!
As punishment, we will no longer steal this video game from you! Take THAT!"

Posted by Tm-Joe at January 30, 2013 9:50 AM ET:

Didn't I see this article in the Onion a few months back? As happens so often, Pakistani policy frequently mirrors western comedy skits.