Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
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.
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.”