ISLAMABAD: Anti-American protests by religious parties broke out in several Pakistani cities on Friday, a day after political leaders joined in rejecting US accusations that Islamabad was supporting militants.
Charges by a top US general that Pakistan's spy agency had supported this month's attack on the US mission in Kabul has added to anti-American sentiment in a country where a poll in June showed that almost two-thirds of the population considered the United States an enemy.
"The prevailing view in Pakistan is that because of our alignment with the United States, our problems have increased," said Talat Masood, a retired general and military analyst.
"America's view is the opposite: 'Because you are not aligning yourself with us, your problems are increasing.'"
"This," he said, "is the whole dilemma at the moment."
In Hyderabad, about 900 people from an anti-Shia group whose militant arm has been accused of killing thousands of Pakistani Shias since the 1990s, burned an effigy of US President Barack Obama and chanted "America is a murderer".
In Lahore, at least 800 people protested at the headquarters of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan's biggest religious party. "Go, America, Go!" rose from the angry crowd.
Another protest by JI in Peshawar, northwest of Islamabad, drew around 200 people. They walked a donkey over an American flag laid on the road, and chanted "America's Graveyard - Waziristan, Waziristan", referring to the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan that is a hotbed of militant groups.
"Give peace a chance"
The previous evening, dozens of political parties emerged from a conference, condemning US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen's accusations of state links to violent militants as "baseless allegations".
(Read: APC consensus: 'Give peace a chance')
They also pledged to seek a political settlement with militants on both sides of the border.
"There has to be a new direction and policy with a focus on peace and reconciliation," their declaration read.
"Pakistan must initiate a dialogue with a view to negotiate peace with our own people in the tribal areas."
A military official said the army, which has lost 6,500 troops in the 10 years since Pakistani allied with the United States in the war on militancy following the September 2001 attacks, supported this policy.
"Our approach to this is that since we are operating against our own people, success isn't defined by how many people you kill or what area you clear but if the ultimate goal of peace and stability is being achieved or not," he said.
The United States has long pressed its ally Pakistan to pursue the Haqqani network, one of the most lethal Taliban-allied Afghan groups fighting Western forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan denies it supports the Haqqanis and says its army is too stretched battling its own Taliban insurgency to go after the network, which has between 10,000-15,000 fighters.
The group says it no longer has havens in Pakistan, feeling secure enough to operate in Afghanistan. Pakistani military officials say "no more than 10 percent" of the thousands of fighters operate in Pakistan and the rest are in Afghanistan.
One senior US official said that despite the harsh words of the past week and bust-ups of the last year, including after the May 2 raid by US forces that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, there had been no further deterioration in military-to-military relations and intelligence sharing.
"I see no signs that things have fallen off the cliff," the official said. "No sign that they have taken a step backward.”
Watch a slideshow of pictures from today's protest here.
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We should Crush America after they give us the Green Card.
I feel sorry for ordinary Pakistanis - NOT! They tolerate this so they deserve it.
@Diggvijay Singh: I entirely agree with your comments and my heart bleeds for these spirtual and innocent looking mullahs who are protesting for a just and noble cause of protecting Taleban whom Americans wants Pakistan to eliminate their priceless assets and who would provide strategic depth to Pakistan against the arch enemy India. How right you are in stating that all problems in this country are because of America and India. Frankly speaking, you are doing an excellent job by making Pakistanis happy, so please keep up the good work which even ZH can't do.
@TightChuddi: Crush Crush America means they have double crush on America..
" Go America, Go"....sounds like cheering for America. Here in North America, when one cheers chants like this. Examples are.." Go Flames, Go.." Cheers for Calgary Flames.......Go Bulls, Go....Cheers for Chicago Bulls.
I wish the media focused more on the ordinary ppl who are just trying to get on with their lives instead of hyping up a bunch of ppl out on the roads.
The turnout of couple of hundred people in each city in NO way represents the rest of us majority who are struggling to live a decent life.
Pathetic Mullahs who do not have an ounce of morals
Yes anti-American protests in Pakistan are a VERY original concept, right?
Mullah's are the first line of defense. Army is the last line of defense. They dont want to get hurt.
"Go Yankees go"
(and please take us with you when you go)
USA is a selfish imperialist country. But sometimes they do good things also. e.g. fighting Islamists
"for your info, GO AMERICA ,GO, means supporting USA,"
This is done to confuse the Amricans ... they will not understand whether we are "with them" or "against them".
Obviously a put-up job.
I love MULLAHs....they look like retarted kids fighting for lollipops.
180 million Pakistanis have simply handed over their country to 1000 mullahs....sad day...
Why don't U.S. attack these religious extremists, Actually these political groups are directly supporting Haqqani and other AQ networks. U.S. should impose ban on these parties and termed them as terrorists including Jamat-e-Islami. Hey U.S. can u pls drone these mullas until they are finish :O
@Faction: yeah keep going and veto the palestinian bid for statehood. Americans are only Israels friend
It is time for a REFERENDUM. Forget the right, left, taliban and the moderates. Let the people make the choice. Whatever the outcome, learn to live by IT.
The picture says it all. Wild looking mullhas roaming in the streets of Pakistan and no one is there to speak some sense to them. They know nothing about humanity, peace, education, healthcare, economy, business, trade and prosperity. Shame on these guys who don't care a bit about the poor and destitutes of their own country, but, are ready to chant slogans and burning flags of a super power which is not going make an iota of difference to it.
My God! Another alliance in the making(MMA). The previous entente destroyed KPK and now its the turn of entire Pakistan. These mullahs are going to doom this country for good. God save us.
such violent hatred in those faces and eyes..... my god !! What a dangerously hateful country this has become after decades of brainwashing..
GO AMRIKA GO. but send us $ $ $. R V REALLY MEAN IT......????
USA will leave right the way, because some bearded mulla screams, give me a break!!!!.
What is "Crush Crush America" supposed to mean?
Mullahs and people who can't make a decision to save their lives start screaming in the street and it becomes NATIONWIDE PROTESTS. These are almost always isolated groups of highly charged yet minimally motivated people looking for media opportunities.
In 1971 these people raised the slogan of Crush India and lost East Pakistan. Now they want to Crush America to lose the rest of Pakistan.
@ Nadir just because you couldn't go to the states to study doesn't mean mine can't go.. they are there for educational purposes only.. one should study and understand its enemy.
Lo behold these gloomy, weary and innocent faces of the protesters! For God's sake, they are earnestly crying out to the world to “Give peace a chance”, although the banners read slightly different. Anyway, the relevant message is that world has completely failed in reaching out to these pacifist, moderate bulk of Muslims in Pakistan and international diplomacy is in tatters. It is time for all sane Indians to introspect on the number of times we have wronged Pakistan at several levels -- economic, military, political, diplomatic, strategic, tactical, cultural and even spiritual level. This collective guilt of my fellow countrymen and our successive governments, this constant alienation of Muslims and tilt towards saffron extremism weighs heavily on my heart. How I wish I could do something about it in the most humble manner!
Cool down pakistan. Amrika wants to make u heart burn!
They belong to the most cunning and shrewd ever germinated party, in the subcontinent.Where have they been before?. This is on record that they welcome American representatives to their den in the evening on great feast , exchange gifts and come out on street in the morning with a so-called slogan "Go, America Go". Where are they sending them ? NW, it's not easy to know their dual face and policy.
for your info, GO AMERICA ,GO, means supporting USA,
crippling city for a day and wasting a whole working day for a stuff which aint gonna effect us and its hegemony any way. they should work and prove that america is not needed instead of making pakistan lose more.
why we only see these jali mullahs every time protesting against US..where is the real civil society of Pakistan..why let these illiterates portray us...college students..house wives..businessman..white color job people..doctors..engineers..sportsman...why dont these people protest against any US aggression..if they do so then the extremist face these mullahs carry of Pakistan can be denied...and west and the world can see the real Pakistan.
The same people who are always shouting Go America Go, while their own leaders sons study in the US are protesting! Wow!
So 'people' in Waziristan are our people. So what about 'people' in Baluchistan ?
Whose people are they ?
Oh I love this picture. Nationalistic sentiments over flowing .USA must be shivering.
Also, I cannot recall the last time I saw a rally of mullahs that did not involve slogans like "crush" or "kill". It's those claiming to be thekedars of the religion of peace who are always the least likely to walk the talk.
So 2000 people protest and it is akin to the whole country coming out on the streets?
"Go, America Go" I agree. Keep going, until the rest of the terrorist vermin is exterminated.
Clearly, the best defence is offence. It's much easier to believe that US is out to destroy Pakistan, as is Israel, as is India, as is Bhutan or whatever...
..than to think for five minutes if USA's claim about ISI are actually true. Also, USA does not need to apologize to Pakistan for killing the most wanted terrorist in the world.
One has to ask why an anti Shia group which murders thousands of people is tolerated in Pakistan, These people might want to take a look in the mirror before they start accusing someone else of murder.