When thousands went on a rampage across Pakistan, the country’s UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told CBS News that if the US wants to stop the attacks against American embassies, “just lay off our Prophet. Is that too much to ask?”
“Is what happened in Pakistan a manifestation of the people of Pakistan? Yes. Of the government of Pakistan? No,” Haroon said.
“If the government of Pakistan was acquiescent of what is happening in Pakistan (the violence), they wouldn’t be firing teargas and bullets at the protesters,” he said.
Haroon expressed his anger at what he considerd a “punitive relationship,” where Pakistan “is still scapegoated.”
“We don’t need your money, we don’t need your aid.” Rather, he said, the Pakistani government needs preferential trade, as the US has given Jordan and Egypt.”
“Let’s be honest about it,” Haroon said. “It’s a punitive relationship, where if we do the ‘right’ thing, we get rewarded; and, the moment we try to think for ourselves, we get banged over the head with a brick or a stone or a stick. I don’t think that is an equitable relationship.”
The Pakistani diplomat, outraged at the souring relationship between Pakistan and the US, said there was a great deal of hostility by the Pakistani people to American policy because of the drone attacks against civilians; the removal of Osama bin Laden without Pakistani consent; and the belief that the US has supported governments in the world that did not distribute wealth to its people.
“The Muslim world has been entirely very friendly to America and the West. The Muslim world had a strong people-to-people belief at one moment and then the people-to-people belief moved away and became more of a government-to-government belief and then, oppressive governments were given what people would view as a license by the West or America, which then started creating the problem.
“They would ask: Why am I poor? Because the Americans don’t treat me right. Why don’t I have medicine for a dying child? Because the Americans have squeezed the money out of us. It is not the truth, necessarily, but it was the perception. And, nobody tried to reach out. You had some great institutions that used to reach out at one time in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but they are not there today,” Haroon said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.