Although a spate of events has given rise to mutual distrust, there is recognition in both Pakistan and the United States that the two countries need each other, said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani.
In an interview with Washington’s WTOP radio, Haqqani also sought understanding of Islamabad’s perspective in the United States. He noted that two incidents this year – a unilateral US raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad and the killing of two Pakistanis by CIA contractor Raymond Davis - have particularly led to a negative image of the US among Pakistanis.
“When the Americans come into Pakistan in a military fashion, unilaterally with guns blazing, essentially they are creating fear amongst the populous, which instead of looking upon them as friends starts being suspicious,” he said.
“There are enough suspicions about the US in Pakistan already,” said Haqqani. “There is a lot of negativity, which the US needs to fight to change public opinion and win over hearts and minds, but in a circumstance like that, to do something like this, results in more negativity.”
According to Haqqani, that too was handled in a careless manner by the US.
Haqqani said: “Pakistanis continue to see America as a fickle ally. The Americans continue to doubt Pakistan’s commitment in eliminating all forms of terrorism from our soil. But underneath it all there is also recognition that both countries need each other.”
While critical of the US handling of certain elements of the relationship, Haqqani praised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling her “an American with an understanding of the world that is unusually brilliant.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.