How Pakistanis perceive America

Published: August 7, 2011
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The writer is vice-president of READ (Rural Education and Area Development), which is currently piloting a cell-phone based teacher attendance system in Pakistan

The writer is vice-president of READ (Rural Education and Area Development), which is currently piloting a cell-phone based teacher attendance system in Pakistan

Recently, I was roaming around Islamabad when I was approached by a shoe cobbler who pointed out that my sandals were broken. Caught off guard by this stranger identifying my wardrobe malfunction, I found myself giving him my sandals to fix. While he was fixing my sandals, I found out that he was from Bajaur Agency and was forced to leave his home when army operations began there. He told me how before the operation the Taliban had control of his hometown and how they were suppressing the local population. Curious to hear his opinion, I asked him whom he held responsible for his current predicament. Without any hesitation he categorically said, “America”. Confused by his answer I asked him why he didn’t hold the Taliban responsible for provoking the reaction by undermining the writ of the government. His response was that while he understood that the Taliban were in the wrong, “the operation was done because of America”.

This short interaction with the shoe cobbler highlighted to me some of America’s shortcomings in dealing with Pakistan. By having an overbearing approach with Pakistan, America has alienated an entire country and made itself into public enemy number one. According to a Pew Research Centre study, 62 per cent of Pakistanis oppose US-led efforts to fight terrorism and only 37 per cent support the use of the Pakistan Army to fight extremists. If America wants a long-term solution to the instability in the region, it must make efforts to convince Pakistanis that military operations are in their favour, as opposed to strong-arming Pakistan into action.

The recent withdrawal of $800 million of military aid to Pakistan by America highlights the transactional nature of the relationship between the two countries. One had hoped that the Obama administration would move away from this myopic relationship, but that does not appear to be the case. When this latest lovers spat is resolved and Pakistan does a military operation in North Waziristan as the US would like, it will further cement the idea that Pakistan is fighting America’s war.

Time and again the US has not acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices. This apparent lack of sympathy by America results in Pakistanis viewing America as arrogant and self-serving. This has led to 73 per cent of Pakistanis viewing the US negatively and 69 per cent of Pakistanis viewing America as more of an enemy than a friend. If the US wants to continue engaging with Pakistan as an ally, it would be pertinent for it to be more sympathetic and appreciative of the efforts taken by Pakistan.

In the US media and government, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone saying anything positive about Pakistan, even though it is the country that has suffered the most with more than 30,000 casualties in the war. The fact that Pakistan’s contributions are not highlighted stings Pakistanis greatly.

It is true that the US has to be cognisant of the difficult nature of dealing with the Pakistani government and its sometimes duplicitous nature. However, this does not mean that it dehumanise the sacrifices of the country. If the US continues to deal with the bubble that is Islamabad, it will continue to further alienate itself in Pakistan and will find itself further destabilising the region.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (67)

  • Mastishhk
    Aug 7, 2011 - 9:04PM

    A child says that the likes of him were suppressed by the Talibanis.But this kid doesn’t have anything against the Taliban but blames America for his misfortune.Now where did he get this idea of who are the Taliban and whats wrong with America? Most probably he learnt this from his parents and elders or the friday sermon at his Mosque.Typically Muslims forgive injustices perpeterated by fellow Muslims.America will always remain a villain even after providing massive aid and carrying out umpteen operations in a foreign land to uproot the Taliban oppressors.

    Why is the onus always on America to prove that they mean well and the general public should have a positive perception of it. How about Pakistan as a nation that has been accepting aid under one pretext or other for years now from US. All the shortcomings and blunders of successive governments have been conevniently blamed on US…year after year. Osama was sheltered by Pakistan but when US took him out US became a villain.

    The author is of the opinion that US should convince Pakistan that military operations against militants and terrorists is in Pakistan’s favour. Why do we need US to convince us on this point ?? Are we so mentally deranged that we can’t even what is good for us and what is bad ??

    And just how do u think US should acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terrorism. The 35000 body count was a result of home grown terrorism.We do not expect US to build a tomb in memories of all these vicyims of terror. We never forget to mention that we are the biggest victims of terror but we still need convincing to go after the terrorists.

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  • PoorPeace!
    Aug 7, 2011 - 9:35PM

    “…even though it is the country that has suffered the most with more than 30,000 casualties in the war”

    I dunno how does these people come up casualty figures. I remember reading an article that quoted casualty figure as 10000 only 2-3 months back. Another article raised it to 15000 within a couple of weeks and now we have Mr. Daniyal Noorani raising it to whopping 30000!!!
    Is he saying that Pakistan lost 15000 people in last couple of months?
    If they can quote an independent source for their data then it would seem more genuine.

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  • Aug 7, 2011 - 9:53PM

    Indeed, Americans are their own worse enemies most of the time

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  • mazen
    Aug 7, 2011 - 9:58PM

    The fact is that America always pursuit its own national interest first and then pay heed to the stake of others. In this article, writers only emphasise to put America responsible for this stand-off between US-PAK relation is just baffling. Pakistan’s parochial and short-sighted military and political leadership is more responsible than America, this is not to say because of partiality towards America. America seek its own national interest first. Ten years has been elapsed, and we are still tangled in the discussion regarding the ownership of this war. At the beginning, one could have been argued against the ownership of this war, but now after so many scourge which these terrorist had inflicted us, there is less doubt in my mind at-least about the ownership of this war. We need some kind of idealogical modifications, which is need of the hour in this turbulent events never happened simultaneously in the history of Pakistan. sensitivity of the time suggests us to take necessary actions against the perpetrators who inflicted and continue to wreak their nefarious design in order to weaken the writ of the state. On the other hand, Pakistan has lost a lot in this so-called fight against terrorism, so US has to realise the sacrifices of this nation and act accordingly. America just invested money in this war declared country and in response Pakistani soldiers along with civilians hugged martyrdom in this US driven war on terror.

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  • Adarsh
    Aug 7, 2011 - 10:16PM

    @Mohammed Abbasi

    and so is Pakistan

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  • rehmat
    Aug 7, 2011 - 10:19PM

    Everyone keeps talking about Pakistan’s sacrifice in the war on terror. Let’s get some clarity here. The people US wants to fight are Afghan Taliban. Pakistan government is making a point of not fighting them and in fact providing them place to rest and recuperate sin NWA.

    The 30,000 deaths have occurred in the war against TTP which US does not care about. The army trying to fight TTP which is actually attacking Pakistanis is something necessary as part of Pakistan’s defence and cannot be considered as part of Global war on terror.

    The reason US is frustrated with Pakistan is – it takes money to fight the Afghan Taliban but does the opposite. Not only does it ot fight the Afghan Taliban but actually gives them sanctuaries.

    I am not saying that Pak amy should attack Afghan Taliban. It should do what is best in its own national interest. But then it should not take handouts by pretending to be part of the global war on terror.

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  • Aug 7, 2011 - 10:20PM

    Assuming they care? =/

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  • Aug 7, 2011 - 10:20PM

    very rational and straight to the point!

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  • manfriday
    Aug 7, 2011 - 10:34PM

    If one dangles American Green card in front of the said cobbler or any “alienated” Pakistani for that matter, he/she should be the first to grab the piece of paper, pack and flee, to the same infidel, enemy country, forgetting every thing all that is said. US remains the only dream, only destination, only purpose of Pakistanis. Such public perceptions are as credible as Rehman Malliks statements, and any policies based on these will only drive Pakistan to even more danger, as the real issues or the culprits are conveniently left behind. The establishment fans and panders such US hatred to bargain more with US. If even 1% of Pakistani Americans have not returned back home opposing all that American did, this Pakistani perception should be called a hoax and big tamasha.

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  • manfriday
    Aug 7, 2011 - 10:35PM

    If one dangles American Green card in front of the said cobbler or any “alienated” Pakistani for that matter, he/she should be the first to grab the piece of paper, pack and flee, to the same infidel, enemy country, forgetting every thing all that is said. US remains the only dream, only destination, only purpose of Pakistanis. Such public perceptions are as credible as Rehman Mallik’s statements, and any policies based on these will only drive Pakistan to even more danger, as the real issues or the culprits are conveniently left behind. The establishment fans and panders such US hatred to bargain more with US. If even 1% of Pakistani Americans have not returned back home opposing all that American did, this Pakistani perception should be called a hoax and big tamasha.

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  • Junaid
    Aug 7, 2011 - 11:10PM

    I find it hard to accept even as a mistake on America’s part–there history is filled with such instances of arrogance and selfishness.. although one should not be complaining about that, one should not be too acquiescent in this matter either.. America has deliberately pushed the war from inside Afghanistan to the Durand Line, and Pakistan should have read the move earlier if they were really better.

    Anyway, still, if the US leaves, many of the terrorist groups that united only because of the US presence in the region will most probably diverge.. and once the Indian hold in Afghanistan is also brought within limits, much of what the terrorists need will be gone.

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  • Asaf
    Aug 7, 2011 - 11:26PM

    It is not the responsibility of the United States’ government to convince our population of fighting this war. The lawlessness and mayhem in tribal areas, spilling all over the country, poses a existential threat to the state of Pakistan. This ‘convincing’ has to be done by Pakistan Army which is actively nurturing this hate propaganda against the US as a bargaining chip. The majority opinion against the US you have cited is the direct result of the focussed efforts of Pakistan army through friendly media to shape public opinion. It is a self defeating outlook to a grave threat which needs new approach such as putting the full force, not half hearted, of the coercive arm of the state against not only armed militants but their civilian and military sympathizers. This menace of armed militants was created by the Pakistan army, it has to be vanquished by the army as it is their responsibility, not police force’s or civilian government’s . Question is, can the army deliver it for once? Or would they try to hide by creating confusion around this, read ‘ not our war’.

    To make that shoe cobblers illogical argument as cornerstone of your viewpoint highlights the absurdity of thinking which can not see the existential threat Pakistan faces, and keeps blaming ‘outsiders’ for problems of our own creation, ‘not our war’!? The tragic sacrifices Pakistani nation had given are the result of our own irresponsibility by allowing the militants free hand for so long without any check on their power to challenge the state. By the way, an elephant will always have an ‘overbearing’ presence next to a mouse. Just the nature of their being!

    Asaf

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  • Zaidi
    Aug 7, 2011 - 11:29PM

    Do you think that US govt. really want Pakistani nation to be on their side, i think they don’t even care. They are aware of the fact that there interests in the region will be well served by politicians/generals who run this country as dictators.

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  • Arifq
    Aug 7, 2011 - 11:29PM

    Dear Noorani Sahib, try reading a little before forming opinions. 1979, Kaaba was occupied by Salafi extremists and whose embassy gets burnt in Pakistan? America. Then there were no drones, no American intervention nor were there any Raymond Davis, yet the knee jerk reaction was to attack American embassy. Interestingly, Pakistan has been on American aid since inception and the primary beneficiary of this aide has always been the Pakistan army for obvious reasons. Yet we have people like yourself promoting a populist opinion, next time you have the urge to talk to someone try talking the line of people aspiring for the elusive green card.

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  • Tasawar ul Karim baig
    Aug 7, 2011 - 11:43PM

    What should someone expect from outsider that they can treat others. People like cobbler has nothing but to get some accuse, as they were told be politician and others. Mr. Noorani, Why don’t we write about own loop holes in our own system. As it is saying in Urdu “Tali dono hatoon say bajti hai”. One hand is America than what about other.

    Why we are misguiding our people, who have already in misery and suppression since the inception of this country, They entire system has been hijacked by certain families and class, which not a new phenomenon. Taliban factor and War on terror is decade old story, if you stretch it more over 20 years as our leadership claims… who is responsible for this, what was before than.

    Does American ask us to corruption, Does America ask us to chose corrupt and certain families again and again, Does American ask us to break the law and so on and forth.

    Why don’t we ready to accept our part of mistake and fix it? No one care about us than us.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2011 - 12:29AM

    At the risk of sounding elitist, it is ironic that a man who had no clue about what he was wearing and a cobbler’s views are hardly political analysis that represents all of Pakistan. It may have been the US war to start with but the terrorists have killed more Pakistani civilians mercilessly than the “invading” Americans. By the sheer numbers of deaths it has become a Pakistani war, whether we like it or not. Denying the facts is not going to change them.
    To tell you the truth again bluntly and honestly, the Americans do not care what Pakistanis think about the US. Pakistani thinking has no effect on their lives at all. In fact the economy of European countries and of Japan is a lot more important for Americans than the Pakistani thinking or economy. It is a fact that Pakistan has given sacrifices for the war against terror. However, all their goodwill and sacrifices have come to zero (or minus if possible?) after the world has learnt the hiding of OBL in the heart of military base. I may have been honest all my life but even once if I am caught red-handed I would lose all the honor and respect I have had worked all my life, it is that simple.
    The US public cannot humanize and honor people who were caught red-handed in bed with OBL. This is just one example that cannot be easily forgotten by the Americans. Not only that even after being caught red-handed, there is no remorse or apology from the Pakistani armed forces. On the contrary the two thirds of Pakistanis are upset with the US being aggressor? The US public including a taxpayer like myself cannot understand this denial and aggressive behavior of Pakistanis.

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 12:32AM

    So Who Have The Solution??

    Ofcourse, IMRAN KHAN!

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  • Cynical
    Aug 8, 2011 - 12:57AM

    US should pack it’s bag and leave Pakistan forthwith.

    No amount of finacial and military aid can buy our love.
    We are a proud nation, we will eat grass but will not sell our honour..

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  • Jamel
    Aug 8, 2011 - 1:28AM

    How Pakistanis perceive America

    Who cares? Its the US that gives Pakistan aid, business, weapons and political support; not the other way round.

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  • MS - Mariya
    Aug 8, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Well because Americans always made deals with dictators and corrupt officials. They have problem acknowledging this on TV.

    I agree that America is behind many of our current problems but we are to be blamed for it. We have a attitude of blaming everyone except ourself. The guy from Bajaur Agnecy is a classic pakistani..blame the foreigner but not the locals who let the terrorist take over. The truth is that people in Bajaur Agency and Swat let these thugs take over because they thought that these thugs will rule better than the government. Surprise Surprise! The thugs ruled the way they know only and invited american bombing. I am against drones attack but these attacks wont take place if we stand up to clean our house.

    And as for respect..LETS RESPECT EACH OTHER FIRST AND THEN EXPECT FOREIGNERS TO FOLLOW. How much tears we shed when 100 pakistanis get killed in Karachi daily? Well americans watch our attitude and follow by killing 100 in Waziristan. Still no tears from our end.

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  • Arindom
    Aug 8, 2011 - 2:28AM

    Americans give billions to Pakistan – still like a spoilt child Pakistan wants more – cajoling, begging and even threatening to ‘implode’. Never once willing to look within and correct it’s jihadist teaching – not just in madressahs, but also in mainstream schools. What more do you expect from Americans?

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  • Asgher
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:05AM

    @ Jamel: dude, atleast hav the courage to post with your true identity. Thngs would hv been much better if the united states had kept their arms n political support away frm the sub continent, instead of poking their nose.Recommend

  • My Name is Khan
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:07AM

    Our Ambassador to the United States said we are like ungrateful children. We do not care about anyone who gives us aid except the Saudis. Our education system teaches us lies.

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  • My Name is Khan
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:08AM

    This is a poorly constructed article. The US has tried to build schools and it’s tried to do a lot more. We are not thankful because we care about our Saudi uncles who have funded terrorists in our country. We turn a blind eye and even support that. The man from Bajaur shows us why FATA is just in deep trouble. If the people of FATA cannot realize who the culprit is, then who can save them? As someone from Peshawar this hurts me greatly but this is what brainwashing and ignorance has led to.

    There’s no need for anyone to be “bombed back to the stone age” because FATA is already there. And these damn terrorists are trying to bring the rest of Pakistan there too no thanks to their sympathizers like Imran Khan.

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  • Zion
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:24AM

    @cynical: how true – but unfortunately we don’t eat grass and beg for other type of greens (US Dollars) if given the opportunity all these proud people will be first in line to get their green cards and go to US… these are the ground realities. Good Luck and I am still with you….

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 3:32AM

    How did the sandals turn out?

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  • Colorado NRI
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:35AM

    Another in a series of oh-we-are-just-the-victims articles. The author, like so many others, chooses to completely ignore the Pakistani establishment’s role in creating the Taliban as well as its eagerness to be the sahib’s hired gun in the region. All was well when the money and arms flowed unchecked. Introspective intellectuals such as Mr. Noorani happily basked in the warm glow of being an important non-Nato ally back then. As we speak, the same establishments is desperately trying to replace the gora sahib with the cheeni sahib.

    Now that Pakistan’s double dealings have been exposed and the money flow has stopped, it seems time to rewrite history and take comfort in victimhood.

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  • Babloo
    Aug 8, 2011 - 5:02AM

    The poor cobbler, victim of militant groups who have been cultivated by the state, ended up blaming America for his misfortunes. That in a nutshell says how state sponsored propoganda has robbed the people from even thinking rationally.

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  • Faction
    Aug 8, 2011 - 5:06AM

    This article closes the Pakistani vicious circle of blame. The author is puzzled by the cobler’s seemingly irrational belief that America is to blame for his displacement. He then produces statistics confirming that Pakistanis don’t support the war on terror despite losing 30,000 citizens to terrorist violence. Who is to blame for this counter-intuitive demonization of America by Pakistanis? Why, America of course! LMAO!

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  • American
    Aug 8, 2011 - 6:07AM

    @Cynical:
    You HAVE been taking financial and military aid, AND selling your honor for the entire life of your nation. US did not approach Pakistan. Pakistan came to US and wanted to become America’s goonda-for-hire. Pakistan butchered, and raped their own population in East Pakistan, and now in Balochistan.
    What honor ? What grass ? On which planet have you been living ?

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  • vasan
    Aug 8, 2011 - 6:41AM

    After blackmailing the world with terrorism, Pakistan invents another way of blackmailing US, “the public dont love you and hence they may resort to terrorism, So give us ur dollars”. Nice going guys, One way or other your journey downhill is getting speeded up

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  • Lubna
    Aug 8, 2011 - 7:10AM

    Jamel, I think the Americans should care – after all they are ‘giving Pakistan’ all the things you mentioned, won’t it be in their own interest to check whether it’s working or not?

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 7:14AM

    There is no doubt that America keeps its self interest above everything else and it brutally tries to achieve its goals. People who were on the wrong side of the American self interests, have suffered heavily all over the world. But Pakistan’s case is different. Yes, no doubt thousands of innocent Pakistani lives have been lost in the war against terror, but the world can not forget the duplicity of the Pakistani military. Fighting terror and simultaneously aiding and abetting the Taliban is a well known fact. The Pakistani military, double crossing the Americans, has led to the world distrusting Pakistan which in turn has totally deflected attention from the suffering of the common Pakistani who is facing the repercussions of the war against terror. Pakistani military’s strategic assets; used to achieve strategic depth; has totally destroyed the credibility ratings of Pakistani nation all over the world. Blame your own military and not the Americans for lack of sympathy and support from the world for Pakistan.

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  • Wasil Arain
    Aug 8, 2011 - 7:30AM

    The shoe cobbler has been fed the perception towards America by those wearing broken chappals as well by those donning American designer shoes ( Purchased most probably with the money granted and loaned by America).

    When America left after last Afghan war Pakistanis were whining to have continuous patronage and looking after like suckling babies and when they are back supporting and sustaing this country to defend itself from the menace of terrorism, they are labelled as enemy number one.

    The question arises as to who is reponsible for he killing of 35000 Pakistanis Talibns or America and if Talibans have done most of the misdeed, why 73 percent do not hate them instead of America who might have destroyed less than 1000 terrorists in drone attacks with some collactral casualities.

    The duplicity and doublefacedness need to be shunned and the negative perception needs to be alleviated.

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  • N
    Aug 8, 2011 - 7:41AM

    Raised on muscular Islam, we are always the ones being ‘insulted’. We are the ones that are “never”acknowledged. Now the reason is that US witheld aid. What was it in 1979 when we burnt their embassy in our homeland? We beg for aid – get it and then turn around and blame US – one that is helping us, for not giving enough! But your logic is sound! Who can argue with us – we are ‘pure’ and blessed.

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  • comso
    Aug 8, 2011 - 7:43AM

    “sometimes duplicitous nature”…!! dude get over this hypocracy. The whole world knows that Pakistan’s been playing double games with rest of the world since its inception. How can anyone trust Pakistan??

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 7:56AM

    @cynical … hmmm i like your comment because its passionate. Being proud of who you are is great! .. nothing better than a healthy self-image and self-esteem. These principles can be projected onto a national level as well….

    however one thing which is contentious in your comment is your claim that we “will not sell our honour”; sir/madam i can only be a fruit vendor if i have fruit. I can solicit that which i withhold. This applies to honor as well…. in order to “sell” it one must have it first .. your claim is problematic because it makes Pakistan having honour a supposition which is disparate from truth to say the least.

    Regardless, @daniyal i cant go as far as calling your analysis profound but its certainly has more to its than it just being a value judgement. Its time for some introspection on Pakistan’s part … some good ol’ soul searching if you may … we must define an identity and establish as to who we are. it seems we have aspired to be India’s anti-christ for so long based on half truth and complete lies ..its time that we start being sachal …. and this start with being truth to our selves ..

    engagement, concessions and consensus building are the three things we NEED to save the Pakistan I have known, loved and called mine.

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  • Abdul Jabbar
    Aug 8, 2011 - 8:21AM

    America is definitely an enemy who would like to do with Pakistan what it has done to Iraq. Firstly weaken by creating divisions ethnic/sectarian violence (using Raymond Davis type agents to fuel this- blackwater) and demonize it by saying it is a failed state and faces an extremist takeover etc etc. Continue this until you achieve these aims and then destroy Pakistan like you did with Iraq. America knows that the potential of Pakistan with it strategic position, immense resources, 7th largest Army and nuclear weapons and with a people who believe their way of life (Islam) is far superior than that of the Western way so they want to deal with it before it become a threat like Pharoah dealt with the children of Israel by killing their sons and enslaving them. The people have realised that America is an enemy and want to end their slavery which is only due to the corrupt military and civialian leadership.

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  • guest-worker
    Aug 8, 2011 - 8:38AM

    american presence in asia is bad for all concerned india china russia and pakistan

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  • Amjad
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:13AM

    @Jamel: You really think that the Americans are giving us all that ? Don’t kid yourself, the Americans are shrewd businessmen. They are paying us next to nothing for all the sacrifices the Pakistani nation has given and continues to give. That’s why most Pakistanis don;t care about the so called aid. Thousands of Pakistanis have died and billions of dollars have been lost- a relatively small amount of US aid is no compensation for all this. We helped defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan and end the Cold War by hastening the demise of the Soviet Union. Then the West left all these criminals including Osama Bin Laden behind and they have the gall to tell us to clean up the mess! You are most likely an Indian or non Pakistan if you have such little understanding of ow much Pakistan has sacrificed.

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  • Zafar
    Aug 8, 2011 - 9:19AM

    @Jamel:

    Just to make a small correction in your argument with respect. US does not give but sell aid, business, weapons and political support if you look in a larger perspective and keeping in view of the history of American war series with the first episode came on-air in mid fifties with Japan (post WWII). Business of America is no longer business it is wars.

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  • rgg
    Aug 8, 2011 - 10:22AM

    What do you mean that Pakistan’s contributions are not highlighted? They are. Pakistan is the world’s center of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Its biggest export has been those too. These are highlighted by the US and everyone else in the world except for your friends in China, North Korea, Burma and Saudi Arabia. Other than these friends of yours, everyone else is afraid about the impact of Pakistan’s exports on the rest of the world.

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 11:14AM

    The Americans deceived us on various critical stages and it was even admitted by the US leaders. In short, the US leaders are responsibly for anti-American feelings.

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 12:32PM

    I don’t think the cobbler would have access to fox news to form his opinion about US, and the lack of media coverage regarding Pakistan’s sacrifices. On the other hand, he would be subjected to the constant flow of anti Americanism from the pulpit of his mosque as well as a dose of the same from the customers he meets that are fed the same through TV.

    The fact that he admits to the Taliban’s oppression and then in the same breath opposes the state’s action for his freedom, shows that there is something very wrong in the way the WOT is being portrayed to Pakistanis.

    There are consequences if one criticizes the role of the army in fighting this menace, in Bajur they flattened whole towns to “rid” the place of the Taliban. There are widespread stories of army being hand in glove with the Taliban, but those don’t come to the fore because of consequences, similar to those that were faced by Saleem Shehzad.

    The result of that is that the anti american version of the story has become the Pakistani narrative. A position that assumes that the army has done its job sincerely and that their inability to cope with this problem has nothing to do with their own complicity or dismal performance, but their incompetence/collusion is tied to the “futility” of the cause.

    But as the cobbler from Bajur would tell you, the Taliban were oppressing him and his people, an oppression that they for sure would take with them, if they ever take over the cozy home towns of Pakistan’s opinion makers.

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  • White Russian
    Aug 8, 2011 - 1:39PM

    Just have a look at the front page of a randomly picked Urdu newspaper. If you are little educated, try to read between the lines of what English language newspapers belonging to big publishing-houses disseminate. Listen to political leaders like Shabaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Fazlur Rehman etc, in what they say and what they imply. Ask any spiritual or religious leaders and opinion makers. Listen to what putative TV anchors have to shout all the time.
    They all have one thing in common: Anti-Americanism.
    Recently Husain Haqqani, the ambassador in US, asked the military officers in a military college about who is the prime enemy of Pakistan. Despite having raised against India, they all opined: Amreeka.

    Anti-Americanism is not just pastime of chattering classes. It is an independent religion in our country. It is unfair to criticise America for losing hearts and minds. You cannot do anything with ideologically driven hate. Even if you are superpower. Only remedy can be a convincing counter-ideology.

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  • Menon
    Aug 8, 2011 - 1:47PM

    Root cause of all problems faed by Pakistan is the type of delusional thinking such as the authors. Historically speaking, US rebuilt Western Europe and Japan after WWII, S. Korea to be economic success. Only countries that did not use US aid properly are the likes of Pakistan.

    As one commentator suggested, it will do well for the writer to read a bit before pontificating nonsense. No, the probleams in Pakistan are not created by US, the honor goes to your military and the clowns Pakistni’s annointed as leaders who stole the country blind.

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  • parvez
    Aug 8, 2011 - 1:53PM

    The way it works is that the American state which looks after the interest of the people of America talks to the state of Pakistan which looks after their own interests, not that of the people of Pakistans.
    Completely agree with your closing sentence and the fault lies with us.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:26PM

    There are many writers who DO say good things about Pakistan and the sacrifices the people have made, including with giving their life.

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  • R S
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:36PM

    “If America wants a long-term solution to the instability in the region, it must make efforts to convince Pakistanis that military operations are in their favour”

    Don’t you think the onus should be on Pakistani Army & government?

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  • observer
    Aug 8, 2011 - 3:38PM

    @Cynical

    No amount of finacial and military aid can buy our love.
    We are a proud nation, we will eat grass but will not sell our honour..

    Will this happen after the Chinese or before that?

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  • Ali
    Aug 8, 2011 - 4:52PM

    If America wants a long-term solution to the instability in the region

    They don’t… we should, and it can only be without the amreekis…

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  • Rana Asghar
    Aug 8, 2011 - 6:22PM

    We have no SELF RESPECT & talk big things!

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  • G. Din
    Aug 8, 2011 - 6:48PM

    @Amjad:
    “They are paying us next to nothing for all the sacrifices the Pakistani nation has given and continues to give. “
    So, don’t accept anything that is offered to you. But, you can’t do that because it is YOU who are at America’s door begging, they don’t thrust anything on anyone.
    @Cynical:
    “We are a proud nation, we will eat grass but will not sell our honour.. “
    What sort of pride is it to continue to beg and borrow from the same country you double-cross, double-deal, shortchange and lie to and in whose case you forego no opportunity to run down, to celebrate with glee when it suffers a calamity?
    You may eat grass if that is your preference, sir, but you certainly have no honour to sell; you lost it a long time back! You have become a pariah in the eyes of the world!

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  • Aug 8, 2011 - 9:38PM

    The only pertinent question one can get from all this blogg is,Mr Noorani must read more and do more research and talk less to a cobler.The place to start is 1979 burning of USA embassy.The world of today is not the world of 80’s,the world changed on the day USSR disintegrated,79,when China decided that they can do business with uncle sam,and when OBL overeached and brought down the twin tower,on,9/11 and on Aug 2007 ,the mkt tanked,Uncle sam was in poor man’s dog house.The problem hit Pakistan hard as it had no plan “B”,it thought it can bluster,bluff and throw temper tantrum,and sit at the poker table and bluff,double deal and threaten,the players who were the inventor of poker game.You can not do this shanigans with people who are pros at this game,it is said in USA in jest,but it is valid,’you do not bull. We invented this game.As for USA is enemy number one,it is tempory,the moment uncle sam kisses and make up,the number “ONE SEED” at enemy Wimbeldon”will be India again,make no mistake about it.But there is fly in the ointment,OBL fiasco,Pakistan does not confess,and still a baby,who cry and say,’you did it first’,it simply does not understand,it has no cards and USa has big stick.USA is in no mood to dole out for dolls if Pakistan would not play ball,with established rules,it want to play by old rules,but the ground reality have all changed,by what events I said,before.The sooner Pakistan understand this,the better.Playing China card infuriates state dept and President Obama,it only plays good with local folks.It is lose,lose,with no upside.Recommend

  • MN
    Aug 9, 2011 - 1:43AM

    Wow.. seriously, Is Tribue so pathetic to include authors of such absurd lunacy pen down articles?
    .
    On the one hand, US has to “convince” Pakistan – and on the other Pakistan is the greatest victim of terrorism. And the author happily forgets HOW ON EARTH is USA to CONVINCE PAKISTAN outside the “bubble of Islamabad”?
    .
    Would it be advisable for USA to send in some training personnel to help Balochis? How about in the Muhajir v/s Pasthoon “wonder-fest” in Karachi – should the US support the Pasthoons or the Muhajir? Or may be US should pay for Pakistan to get more electricity – so there’s no more load-shedding? Or, best of all, USA should put in some millions of dollars to Tribue & this author’s bank accounts – and they’ll suddenly realize how wonderful US really is? Or may be US should keep quiet when the likes of Fai re-invest the same aid-money (that Pak received) into US Govt lobbying efforts?
    .
    A waste of 5 minutes.
    .
    MN

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  • mussarat
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:44AM

    @observer:

    Honorable Sir, we are the nation of human being why should we eat grass or trash.

    As far as I remember slogan of eating grass was first introduced by the former Prime

    Minister Z.A. Bhutto in Nasir Bagh Lahore where he tried to jolt the half dead naton by

    giving slogan of Eating Grass and to fight with India to liberate Kashmir, it was a crazy

    slogan by a “Non-visionary leader”.

    We should be realistic instead of eating grass, America never granted grass to the people

    in distress in pakistan like earthquake, floodings and other national calamities.

    For God sake forget about grass and talk about reality please.

    Mussarat
    USA

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  • Noor
    Aug 9, 2011 - 5:52AM

    We are all watching the drama on the big screen not aware what is behind the curtains.
    No need for examples of green cards as hatred is not against USA. Becuase great people of that country are victims of the same devil group as the whole world is. And if they dont know this even after the drama of US being on the verge of defualt and then raising its loan limit to pay off its existing loans, then bless us all. So the FED formula of get more loans to pay off your old loans with interest is being expanded and innocent people are just watching and busy in facebook and hollywood fantasy world.

    Becuase of the ingnorance of people of US, the whole world is suffering. You are not even a country, because a country should be able to print its own money, find out can you? or some privatte company does it for you and loans it to you. Learn from JFK speech in which he has given wake up call but I guess the nation is too drunk and high, wake up and save yourselves and the world.

    Do your own search and learning and you will know the truth

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  • mubashir
    Aug 9, 2011 - 7:39AM

    It says in the Quran that they are your enemies. we are obligared to make peace through treaties and never to be the first to break it. America is an ally of pakistan. To get straight to the point why would any typical pakistan say they blame america for every problem? Its not the parents. Its not school. And sertainly not the mosque !! That are blamed from time to time.
    When i go to the mosque, they talk about patience,peace and love for each other. Worldy affairs are only mentioned when we raise our hands and ask for guidance and forgiveness. But no , its that islam is blamed for everything. If something happens and a muslim is behind it, the case is refered to as terrisom. Why? Bombs blow up here , innecent people die and no one really cares. It happens all the time. But foreign problems , no ! They are not simple. The whole world is on fire, a fire that doesnt extinguish. Muslims are human too. Aid is given to us. China, Arab and others too. But where does it all go. Who else to blame. Wait, lets pick America. They blame muslims for terrirosts , lets blame americans for problems.Recommend

  • Aug 9, 2011 - 1:07PM

    So much is written how wonderful America is. Pakistanis must be wrong when CIA agents are bombing our cities using patsies. IMF stifling us with its policies. Propaganda published in US papers. Pakistanis are to blame?

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  • Jay Nathan
    Aug 9, 2011 - 6:10PM

    So now 69% of Pakistanis view America as an enemy. Yet the entire 69% will be willing to grab any opportunity to get a Green Card and go and live in that evil land known as America. Just look at the beeline in front of the US Embassy and Consulates and you will know better. Just count the number of Pakistani illegal alines in the evil USA and you will know better. Pakistan has no issues accepting billions of dollars from America. Neither did the country or its leadership have any issues playing America’s hired gun since the time its formation. Its only when America as the financier of Pakistan demands a ROI that 69% of the Pakistanis have a problem. I don’t think American cares about the average Pakistani’s perception about the USA. And Ii don’t think American’s should care. If you borrow my my money, you better be good to me.

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  • mind control
    Aug 9, 2011 - 8:31PM

    @Mussarat

    Honorable Sir, we are the nation of human being why should we eat grass or trash.

    I ,honestly, do not know. It is Cynical who is bent upon eating grass. I was merely inquiring about the time he proposes have dinner. Better ask Cynical.

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  • Zion
    Aug 9, 2011 - 9:21PM

    @cynical: BTW we are getting more aid from US to sort out Karachi, because we are so incompetent to do it our selves probably our pride gets in the way…

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  • malik
    Aug 9, 2011 - 9:52PM

    Looks like everyone missed the sarcasm of Cynical :)

    I think his remarks were meant to preempt other similar responses….

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  • Observer
    Aug 10, 2011 - 9:06AM

    @Adarsh:
    America is not it’s own worst enemy. Only mistake US is doing is engaging w Pakistan. An all out wR to the east of mountains and handing over the reins to UN would sve 90% of terrorism problem around the world. By negotiating. It is wasting it’s money down a black sink hole and delaying the final solution.

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  • Observer
    Aug 10, 2011 - 9:09AM

    @rehmat:agreed. This duplicitous nature is old habit of most in Pakistan then they wonder why others don’t appear sincere

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  • Observer
    Aug 10, 2011 - 9:19AM

    @Jamel:
    The question should be ” how America perceives Pakistan” because US is in giving mode. Pakistan perceiving U S irrelevant”

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  • Observer
    Aug 10, 2011 - 3:18PM

    @guest-worker:
    Please provide your reasonings country wise. E en if bad for India, clearly Pakistan is a far greater evil, devil-surpassed.

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