Anti-Americanism in Pakistan

May 11, 2008

U.S. ambassador Anne W. Patterson, in a speech reported by the Pakistan press, said last week that the depth of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, especially among the middle-class, had surprised her. Pakistan’s long-term interests were aligned with those of the United States, and those opposing U.S. engagement in the country had a limited understanding of  how the partnership based on economic assistance had changed the lives of Pakistanis, she told a meeting in Karachi. For added measure, she said that the “ïncreasingly prosperous middle class” would be the first to suffer if  hardliners gained ground.

KFC outlet in Lahore

She needn’t have looked further than to events last  week to see why America sits rather uneasily on the Pakistani mind, a heavy hand of friendship that Pakistanis are increasingly chafing against.

The New York Times reported that the Pentagon had cancelled the appointment of Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood as the senior American officer based in Pakistan following weeks of criticism in the Pakistani news media over one of his previous jobs : commander of the U.S.  prison at Guantanamo Bay.

“During General Hood’s command from 2004 to 2006, military authorities force-fed with tubes detainees who were engaging in hunger strikes at the Guantánamo prison, a step they justified as necessary to prevent the prisoners from committing suicide to protest their indefinite confinement,” the newspaper said. “Also during General Hood’s tenure, reports that an American guard may have desecrated a Koran stirred wide protests in the Islamic world.”

The surprise was more that he was named to Pakistan in the first place, where resentment about Guantanamo runs deep. It was seen as all the more insensitive  given that a new government had taken over in Islamabad promising  a different approach to tackling Islamist militancy. For while the Pentagon might have been trying to send a crisis-tested 33-year army veteran to Islamabad at a pivotal time in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda, it was his Guantanamo command that stuck in the Pakistan mind.

Guantanamo Bay

“Guantánamo Bay itself has become a symbol of injustice, torture and abuse of Islam, and sending a commanding officer from there to Islamabad begs the question: What is the message coming out of the Pentagon for Pakistanis by this insensitive act?” Shireen M. Mazari, director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies, wrote in The News back in March when the appointment was announced.

There was even more coming on Capitol Hill where, according to Pakistani news reports, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee told the Foreign Affairs Committee of Congress that while the late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People Party was doing a good job, coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), led by Nawaz Sharif, “needed to be watched.”

Her comments, widely reported in the Pakistan press, prompted admonishment at this kind of micromanagement of the affairs of a sovereign nation and warnings that it was a recipe for disaster.

Indeed the News  argued that the more the United States or members of its political establishment criticised Sharif the greater would be his following in a country rife with anti-American sentiment. Conversely Bhutto’s widower Asif Ali Zardari might cringe at praise from Washington because it would not do him any good at home.  

The best Washington could do, the News said, would be to distance itself from governance of the country. It might even arrest the anti-Americanism that  many Americans find hard to accept.  

14 comments

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The grave crimes against humanity that the Americans have committed over the past several years prove beyond an iota of doubt that the US is the only country in the world that employs terrorism as a tool of state policy. It is therefore a terrorist entity.

Posted by Sudhakar K. | Report as abusive

Thats more than just critical. Here you are talking about musharafs so called majority of moderates; pantagone pinned turn ‘em to militants. That job is being done very well by every amarican mouth-piece.

Posted by Global Equality | Report as abusive

How can there be no Anti-Americanism in Pakistan, when the US continues to pander to Pakistan’s enemies – namely India?

India has been Pakistan’s enemy since the country was established; these countries have fought several wars, India invaded half the country and turned it into another country, India exploded nuclear weapons and then threatend Pakistan.

Yet the United States wants to make a nuke deal with Indians, sell them weapons, and ignore their occupation of Kashmir without any regard to the security of Pakistan, and then demand that Pakistan fight America’s enemies at enormous costs in lives of its soldiers and citizens, after having kept the country under sanctions for a decade!

How can anyone in Pakistan be pro America with such inequitable conduct. If the Ambassador is surprised, then she must be living on another planet.

Posted by Jose Mathews | Report as abusive

What else could be far from the reality than this. Why are not there any anti-Canada feelings among Pakistanis? Why is there no anti-Maxicanism or anti-Brazilianism? Why just anti-Americanism? Patterson must not be surprised at the reaction of the Middle class in Pakistan. She should go out in the streets and talk to the 50% of the population, living below the poverty line at the mercy of the corrupt and oppressive feudal lords supported and sustained in power by the US for the so-called “partnership.” Slaves and masters never have a partnership relationship. The US wants Paksitani leaders to be acting like faithful dogs to keep the millions of Pakistanis working and dying for the US interests. For example, since the US illegal war of agrression and brutal occupation of Afghanistan, more Pakistani civilians and soldiers died than the US troops itself in the cause of the neo-cons zionist totalitarians in Washington. Pakistanis are neither blind nor get fooled with sweeping statements like these. Like everything else, there is a cause for Pakistanis resenment and reaction to the US intervention and de facto occupation of Pakistan. Patterson and others thinking on the same lines need to come out of living in denial of the reality. They must not be surprised at the peoples’ reaction. They must accept that they have no clothes. The American imperial king is naked along with the warlords, who are telling him that everything is just fine, and people’s reaction is genuine.

Well said, Abid Jan. And to this should be added the reminder that the US has on at least four occasions carried out missile attacks within Pakistan’s territory, in NWFP. Overflights by Predator drones are so frequent as to be unremarkable. There is little wonder that such arrogance has caused resentment in NWFP and indeed throughout the country.

As to the ambassador’s surprise, it has to be borne in mind that very few diplomats have the opportunity to meet people outside official circles. I doubt if she has ever been in a shop in Saddar bazaar in Pindi, or anywhere else, for that matter, and had a chat with people about their lives — the rising cost of living them, I mean — and their feelings about corrupt political fat cats.

And if she really thinks that Pakistan’s long-term interests are aligned with those of the US it would be interesting to hear her comment on the statement on 4 May by the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the effect that America “has been at Israel’s side for all of 60 years, it will be for the next 60 years, 100 years and 1,000 years.”

Passing over the fact that it is intriguing that a person in uniform should commit the US to a precise foreign policy line for a thousand years, it is open to question whether this “long term interest” would be warmly endorsed by any government in Pakistan.

Posted by beecee | Report as abusive

I think author of the post spent too much time Guantánamo Bay and attached this to the hatred of Pakistanis for US.

Guantánamo Bay will clearly go down in history as a symbol of the decline of United States brutal empire but the real cause of hatred for US amongst Pakistanis is the occupation of Muslim world. Daily killing and torture of Muslims around the world and disregarding basic human rights. Supporting brutal dictators in the Muslim world i.e. Husni Mubarak, House of Saud, Musharraf, Karzai etc, Support for illegal states i.e. Israel and denying Muslims right to self representation by constantly meddling in their affairs.

If Anne W. Patterson want any sort of remote love from Pakistanis she need to close down FBI/CIA offices in Pakistan and shrink back to their hole called US away from rest of the world

Dear Sir/Madam,
Patriotic way, to prevail “Democracy in Pakistan”…?

Democracy as a system of governance and interest representation demands respect for dissent and opposition. It recognizes the principle of majority rule and guarantees protection of minorities. Democracy also builds faith in electoral contestation to gain public office and gives legitimacy to political parties as primary instruments for acquisition and transfer of power from one set of individuals to another. Democracy teaches us equality, tolerance and justice without any discrimination to establish welfare society based on peace, progress and prosperity.

Therefore, it is essential to denounce the killing of innocent people in Pakistan, since it look excellent and compassionate but are we really feel sorry for that killing of innocent people ? if it is so, then we must eliminate the route cause of suicide killing and other hatred, being a democratic Islamic country and people, we must think in the light of teaching of our prophet (PBH) because killing for killing and bloodshed of innocent people, due to one pretext or other can never gives flowers in return, peace cannot prevail in this circumstances we must adopt democratic ways and means to settle the differences with who so ever they may be.

In reality, factual reason behind this hate is not born by us, but borrowed by us for the sake of US pleasure “Aa bel muje mar”. Because, those who were supported, financed, equip and trained by the USA and its allies, and who fight in the name of freedom of Afghanistan from occupied forces, were not aware about the truth behind their fighting, their fighting, was to protect the interest of USA, they were fighting a war of USA against USSR, for the political gain of USA (petrol resources around the Afghanistan and get easy excess for ,Iran, china) and when they realise their national interest was going to be robed, they dare to refuse, what kind of robbery was that is mentioned in the recently release book by the France authors.

“ French authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie recently published a book entitled Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth which tells of the negotiations for oil pipeline rights in Afghanistan that collapsed in August 2001 after the U.S. told the Taliban: Accept our offer of a carpet of gold or you’ll get a carpet of bombs.

Despite the fact that, “Bush administration was expecting from Taliban, to cooperate with their plans for exploiting the oil resources of Central Asia. US were sure until August, that the Taliban, as a source of stability in Central Asia, would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia.” But, all of a sudden a trusted partner of USA, turn in to so-called terrorist?

But fortunately, the Taliban realize that their national interest was going to be robed by USA; they dare to refuse, to accept US conditions for their support in exploitation of oil resources from central Asia.

As a last hope in the talks between the Bush, administration and the Taliban which began in February 2001, shortly after Bush’s inauguration. A Taliban emissary arrived in Washington in March with presents for the new chief executive, (an expensive Afghan carpet). But the talks themselves were less than cordial. Brisard said; “At one moment during the negotiations, the US representatives told the Taliban, ‘either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs’.”

USA and its allies attack the Afghanistan under the immediate aftermath of September 11, there were press reports—against, largely overseas protest and hiding the factual reality behind the attack on Afghanistan, they almost destroyed remaining infrastructure and killed thousands of innocent people, such as they attack the Iraq under wrong pretext of having the WMD and against the will of the world to capture the oil resources and acquire a place for their continuous presence in the middle east for their political gain. The United National has lost its credibility as neutral authority to intervene and protect the small and week nation against foreign aggression but instead ,UNO, proved as failed organization playing in the hands of the brutal power intimidating and capturing the countries, in order to grab their, resources such as OIL and to attain political influence, while killing their innocent people under one pretext or other in the name to “demoralized” them and to accept the terms and condition suitable for the occupier.

At present they (US/NATO) are fighting their war of military/political interest in the region, involving the dependent country like Pakistan, under intimidation of sever consequences to bear, if refuse to support them; The current demand draft of 11 points, submitted by the so-called democratic imperialistic state of USA is a clear sign to a sovereign government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to accept and obey as matter of master’s voice. This act is a kind of intimidation and direct involvement in the internal matter of a sovereign state. This act create a question as if we are really a sovereign state or part and partial of USA, Because, they want Pakistan to fight and kill his own people under one ploy or another, want to drag them in to the chaos and uncertainty, so that they can further impose more condition on the Pakistani Government to follow them, dip and dip until armed forces of Pakistan loose the trust of the Pakistani people and come openly to fight against his own people like they did in east -Pakistan, this is the movement they (USA) are waiting for, so that their, in time financial help to the traitor can play the role to disintegrate the strength of the nuclear country.

This is a moment invite us all for serious consideration weather to keep our independence in tact or bow down before this mighty evil, democratically bullying to accept the terms and condition of his interest, or in other words be ready to loose our independence for ever.

How? a patriotic person can repeat, the past mistake for supporting the fight, for external political and regional gain instead, we have already paid to much price in the form of social unrest, ethnic conflicts, drug- addicting and arms problems through Pakistan, If, we have to survive as a Sovereign Islamic Nation, in this world with dignity and respect as a free nation, then we must adopt and adhere the following essential change immediately;

• Decentralize the power on the basis of division to empower the people at grass route level without any delay.
• Allow free, complete education with technical knowledge to every able citizen.
• Establish research institute at divisional level to encourage the youth with god gifted skill to develop and those who are interested in research work in all field, it is necessary step towards self sufficiency in technology.
• Provide guarantee for job opportunity to all man and women after education/technical training.
• Rapid industrialization of small, medium and cottage industries be allowed at the divisional level with total protection to capitals and facilities to flourish.
• A cooperative farming should be introduced at divisional level for large scale agriculture product and development of agro-industries.
• Supply of controlled price utilities could only be possible if we follow the mass industrial and agriculture production
• Provide separate working facilities for production and services to women, so that majority women force of 52% can join the force of national production/services.
• Insurance coverage should be provided all working man/women along with complete medical treatment coverage.
• Better residential facilities be provided to all
• Export oriented foreign policy should be adopted and find markets for our excess products in the regional country surrounding us, and provide them market place for their excess products.

The right way to reverence to Martyr is to eliminate the causes after the incidents. If we can redress the route cause after the suicide killing, we can save many lives in future. The only way out is the change of system, the route cause of all kind of grievances, the time is to empower the Pakistani at grass route level to eliminate the socio-political injustice and strengthen the unity within the society at large, and closing the door for outsiders or intruder to penetrate in our society because of social unrest.

Pakistani people are left at distant from the corridor of power. As this policy is denial of right of Pakistani igniting the unrest within the society, let the people of Pakistan, to rule their country according to their aspiration and desire to build, which can provide equal opportunity to all without any discrimination for the establishment of welfare society. Only the society base on tolerance, equality and justice can be the real guarantee for the prosperous and strong Pakistan

See http://www.idp.org.pk
Ilyas khan Baloch
Organizer Islamic democratic party

The irony is that while most Pakistanis and other Muslims have anti-American sentiments, the vast majority of Pakistanis consider it a dream to emigrate to the US. Each day, hundreds of Pakistanis and others, including Bangladeshis and Sikhs, pay thousands of dollars for fake documents and passports just for the chance to land on American soil and work under the radar or to falsely claim asylum.

Posted by barry | Report as abusive

It seems that there are many Pakistani and fundamentalist Muslim commentators on this blog who pretend to be either Christian, American or Hindu in order to spread anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-European, anti-Semitic, anti-India, and anti-Hindu vitriol. Please beware of these people.

Posted by david | Report as abusive

as an american taxpayer i resent it that my nation’s foreign policy is held hostage by interests that put america second — whenever the american government has a choice, it unfailingly takes the path leading to a further weakening of my nation — but there’s no escape because elected officials fear what will happen to them if they put america first

Posted by horace manoor | Report as abusive

WHAT DID COLONEL SANDERS EVER DO TO THESE PEOPLE…? HE JUST MADE FINE FRIED CHICKEN AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE.

Posted by tom schwartz | Report as abusive

There is actually a great opportunity to be seized between India and Pakistan as Pakistan’s economic dependence on the US is being brought into question. There is no reason, not to improve indo-pak relations, via commerce. The ‘trick’ of pointing fingers to the ‘other’, across the border, for political purposes is over. Shame on globalised citizens for being duped by these politicians. The remnants of partition was an injury which was perpetrated by neither pakitstanis nor hindustanis… it’s been 60 years… does everyone from that generation need to die before we can make amends ?!?

“Unveiling his vision of regional integration for the first time, Dr Singh hoped one could have beakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul.”
“That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live,” from http://www.ficci.com/news/viewnews1.asp? news_id=837

Posted by maximegalon | Report as abusive

“Unveiling his vision of regional integration for the first time, Dr Singh hoped one could have beakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul.”
“That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live,” from http://www.ficci.com/news/viewnews1.asp

Dear Maximegalon,

That is how I would want our grandchildren to live.

Regards
Mohammad

i hate the all molvieizim and talieban.but i like the sir musharaf policey.i like the brought minded pakistan.but i am worry about the world.on this time world bis not good place or peacefull place for humainity to live here.every person hate the next person risen of some small cause.

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