WHO IS OUR TRUE ENEMY?
On our fifth and last day in Quetta, four plainclothes men detained my photographer colleague at his hotel downtown. They seized his computer and photo equipment and brought him to the parking lot of my hotel. There they made him call me and ask me to come down to talk to them. I m in trouble here, he told me. It was after dark. I did not want to go down to meet a bunch of ISI men, but I told my colleague I would get help. I alerted my editor in New York.
Before I could reach any Pakistani officials, the agents raided my hotel room. I had earlier refused to admit them, but now they got the hotel staff to open the door with a key card, and then they broke through the door chain. The lintel splintered. They burst in in a rush, snatching my laptop from my hands. They were plainclothes intelligence, I realized. Among them was an English-speaking officer wearing a smart new khaki-colored fleece. The other three were the muscle, in bulky winter jackets over dark-colored shalwar kamize, loose-fitting shirt and pants. One of them had the photographer in tow.
They went through my clothes and seized my computer, notebooks, and a cell phone. When one of the muscle men grabbed my handbag from me, I protested. He punched me twice, hard, in the face and temple, knocking me over. I fell back onto the coffee table, smashing the cups there, grabbing at the officer s fleece to break my fall and nearly pulling him down on top of me. For a moment it was funny. I remember thinking it was just like a hotel-room bust-up in the movies . . . I was later told by a diplomat that the rough treatment was ordered by the head of the ISPR, the Inter-Services Public Relations, the press department of the Pakistani military, in order to discourage me in my reporting.
From The Wrong Enemy