ISLAMABAD: After reports emerged that the top civil and military echelon in the US would not be issuing a formal apology to Pakistan, the job was left to US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter to try and douse the raging fire of hatred in Pakistan, sparked after a NATO raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
“I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to the people and government of Pakistan and especially to Pakistan’s men and women in uniform, for the tragic incident that occurred on November 26,” Munter said in a video message posted on the US Embassy’s video channel on YouTube.
He went on to say “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the men who died.”
Realising that his message may not permeate to the Urdu speaking majority of Pakistan, he repeated the sentence, in Urdu “Hamey bohat afsos hay”.
Munter stressed the longstanding bilateral relations that the two countries shared, “Pakistan and the United States have stood together for over 60 years. We have weathered previous crises together. I am certain we will weather this one, too, and emerge – together – as stronger partners”.
The Ambassador reiterated the US pledge of investigations following the attacks on the Mohmand Agency check post, “We take this matter [the attack] very seriously and pledge to you a full, in-depth investigation.”
Realising that may not be enough a surety, he added “I want to emphasise to the people of Pakistan my personal commitment to do all I can to make sure that we emerge from the tragic incident as stronger partners.”
The text of the video contained as part of the subject of the post was signed by him.
Pakistan has already said that an apology would not be enough in this case. Pakistan has also pulled out of a joint investigation into the attacks. NATO says an investigation into the attack will be ready within a month.
As Pakistanis expressed their displeasure and anger towards NATO and the US in the street with three days of incessant protests and rallies, people were quick to react to the video through comments and dislikes to the video. Of the 26 votes that video received, only two ‘liked’ it, compared to 24 who ‘disliked’ it.
The comments section was full of negative feedback.
One user, khalidriaz26 wrote:
“I disliked this video to register my protest, and I do not accept your condolence. Your government just doesn’t respect human life outside of your country.”
More users posted to lodge their protests, as ravian94 wrote:
“As much as I am devastated and disgusted at the heinous act of killing of MY MEN in Mohmand and as much as condemn the War on Terror (which I recall as War of Terror) resulting in 40000 pakistanis being killed, our economy crippled and our dignity & sovereignty razed to pieces and as much as I have personally recorded my protest on this page”.
Another user wrote tmags44 wrote how if the shoe had been on the other foot, war drums would be beating:
“Pakistan is sick of the US and NATO invading their sovereign borders and I agree with them. Unfortunately, it was necessary to do so to kill Osama Bin Laden. Nonetheless, the NATO attack was a tragedy, and if it happened to US troops we’d be calling for war. Obama should apologise. We need Pakistan as an ally. We also need to get our troops out of Afghanistan and focus on our joblessness, corruption on Wall St. and Washington, and crumbling infrastructure at home.”
One commentator, pakireb defended the Ambassador from all the abuse and anger directed towards him:
“Are you guys seriously cussing this man out for offering his condolences? At least he has the courage to do that, when was the last time the TTP leaders apologised for killing our soldiers or civilians? Even though I dont agree with the US invasion and I know nothing that can be said or done can replace the men that we lost, but I definitely dont want to chastise this man for doing the right thing, or whatever is in his power.”