Cablegate: Discussion with Nawaz Sharif Designees Regarding
PP RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #0061/01 0041145
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041145Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4215
INFO RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 8564
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 4503
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 3138
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 000061
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2018
TAGS: PREL ASEC PTER CASC PINR PK PGOV
SUBJECT: DISCUSSION WITH NAWAZ SHARIF DESIGNEES REGARDING
REF: ISLAMABAD 04599
Classified By: RSO RANDALL BENNETT, REASONS 1.4 (B) (D)
1. (C) SUMMARY: At the request of Nawaz Sharif, RSO Islamabad met January 03, 2008 in Lahore, with three individuals empowered by Nawaz Sharif to discuss his security. RSO duplicated the discussion he had with the security representatives of Benazir Bhutto (see Reftel) and also provided the same names of the three most capable and comprehensively equipped local security contractors who can provide security assessment and protective security services. The RSO made it clear that the success of protective security services is based on appropriate layers of security to include armored vehicles, thoroughly trained protective services (PRS) personnel, strong police support between the protectee and the crowd, and perhaps most of all, a protectee who is willing to listen to and cooperate with the advice of the security professionals regarding all aspects of his personal security. The three representatives seemed to comprehend what was being conveyed, were receptive to it, and left stating that now they were more concerned about proper security than when they arrived. They stated that now they understood the nature of the specialized operational skills of personal protective services. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) On January 02, Nawaz Sharif's personnel requested a meeting with the Embassy regarding his personal security. On January 03, as directed by the Ambassador, RSO Islamabad flew to Lahore to meet with three representatives who had been designated by Nawaz Sharif to explore what needed to be done to properly maintain his personal security. The Nawaz team consisted of Sikandar Pasha, the Sharif Family Manager (0300-846-2276), FAX-042-588-6158, email- firstname.lastname@example.org, Colonel Javed Umar (0321-844-6357), and Major Mushtaq Ahmad of the Pakistan Muslim League and Chief of Security (0300-843-2222). In the meeting was also RSO Lahore. The meeting began at 1210 hours and terminated at 1330 hours and was held in the conference room at the Lahore Consulate.
3. (C) The RSO began by explaining the various reasons why American (or other foreign) security would be the wrong choice to make. First, legally and without appropriate guidelines, official USG security would violate several considerations. Second, hired professional commercial American security would not only complicate the anti-American politics already in play, but would create a higher target profile for the Protectee, rather than reducing it. And third, that in a foreign country, an indigenous security operation would be preferable for cultural understanding, political awareness, and even geographical familiarity reasons, providing the indigenous company is competent. The RSO assured the three representatives that the choices on the list he had prepared for them were all fully-equipped and capable to professionally carry out protective services.
4. (C) As they began to ask more specific questions such as ones dealing with “jammers”, armored vehicles, and communication systems, the RSO continued to recommend the Pakistani companies that were capable of providing all expertise and equipment. Finally they confessed that they were thinking of putting together their own security force to handle the protection. The RSO suggested that was not a good idea. They stated that each individual they were looking at was experienced with some combat and special forces-type backgrounds. The RSO asked if they also had specific protective services training. They stated no, but that they understood security. At this point, out of concern for what seemed to be their possible dangerous misunderstanding, the RSO decided to use the “sermon on the mount” approach and explain with brief scenario stories to hopefully clarify the specific nature and skill sets required as well as frame of mind that protective services personnel needed. The RSO went through the position by position “single entity” concept, working as one, in an attempt to get them to see that there was more to it than just being accurate with a weapon. As they listened to the specific responsibilities of each position in the multitude of different venues and varying situations/conditions such as elevators, escalators, wide and narrow stairs, exiting and entering cars, hallways, walking diamonds etc...and the many initial months and then years involved in making a truly capable PRS Agent, the light came on and they understood. The Nawaz team stated that they would then provide their team with months of training to bring them to a level of working like a single organism under any situation. The RSO then suggested that they might want to contact a local company to provide the first several months of PRS service while their own team was being “brought up to speed”.
5. (C) The Nawaz team requested a number of items to assist with their “in-house” training. They asked for a copy of the DS PRS Training Manual. The RSO stated that this would not be the wisest of options for either of them in the event their team made an error and the question arose as to where they got their training. Neither of our parties would benefit from that scenario or U.S. footprint but that they could again, derive this benefit from the local indigenous company, who would no doubt have professional training materials. They had become enamored (and nervous) by the descriptions of all the various possible “diamond” movement formations and asked if they could get copies of those. The RSO told them yes, but that static pictures would not show what each individual needed to do as the diamonds moved and that only on-site professionals conducting rehearsals with their teams could properly convey that. The Nawaz team also wanted information on companies that could provide “explosives detection” equipment like the DS Ion Itemiser. They also want to create a vehicular security trap at the Protectee's residence drive entry and the RSO will provide the name of the local contractor who built the one at Embassy Islamabad.
6. (C) When the meeting concluded they stated that they were more afraid for the security of Nawaz Sharif now than when they first arrived. The RSO told them that it was a healthy attitude because now they knew what they needed to know. In just under 1.5 hours, a lot of information was conveyed and it is hoped that it will act sufficiently as a catalyst to motivate the Nawaz team in the right direction. The RSO concluded by summarizing the key elements necessary for the layers of proper personal protection and again emphasized the critical element of the cooperation of the Protectee. Embassy Islamabad would welcome further guidance (or an alternate view) from the Department on this issue.