No, not a ‘lost friend’

Published: December 6, 2013
The writer is a former foreign secretary

The writer is a former foreign secretary

During my last visit to the US, I found from a ‘trash yard sale’ a book entitled America’s Stake in Asia written in 1968 by Drew Middleton, a renowned foreign correspondent, first for the Associated Press, and later for The New York Times, who covered World War II from D-Day to V-Day and several subsequent developments in Africa and Asia before returning to New York in 1965 to become The New York Times’ chief correspondent at the United Nations.

A chapter in his book entitled “Pakistan: The Lost Friend” gave an incisive account of how Washington’s total insensitivity to its close ally and partner’s legitimate security concerns vis-a-vis India had generated a sense of alienation among the people of Pakistan. While deploring Washington’s nearsighted policies, Middleton presciently called Pakistan the ‘pattern’ for Asian nations of the future, independent, tough and opportunistic. In his view, “Pakistan’s geographical situation and a dozen other considerations make her virtually important to peace in the whole of Asia and the world at large”. This old book on ‘America’s stakes in Asia’ may have ended up in trash, but Pakistan as a fiercely independent country has rarely disappeared for any length of time from America’s strategic radar screen. No, Pakistan is not a lost friend. For over 65 years now, it has loomed large in one form or another, either as a staunch ally, or a troublesome friend, or even a threat. Now, for the first time, it is all of these things. The war on terror may have provided the rationale for the ongoing unpalatable US ‘engagement’ with Pakistan, but it neither limits the relationship’s scope nor exhausts the challenges it faces.

It has, indeed, been a curious, if not enigmatic, relationship. It never had any conflict of interest, yet it also never developed a genuine mutuality of interests beyond self-serving expediencies, with each side always aiming at different goals and objectives to be derived from their relationship, which has been without a larger conceptual framework and a shared vision beyond each side’s narrowly based and vaguely defined issue-specific priorities. For Pakistan, the issues of security and survival in a turbulent and hostile regional environment were the overriding policy factors in its relations with Washington. US policy goals in Pakistan, on the other hand, have traditionally been rooted in its own regional and global interests. Unfortunately, besides a persistent trust deficit, in recent years, the two countries have had no control over the growing list of irritants some of which could have easily been avoided if both sides were guided by the concept of mutuality in their relationship. But let us be honest. The problem is not the relationship. The problem is its poor and short-sighted management on both sides. For Washington, it has remained an issue-specific, transactional relationship. They give us errands and we get paid.

Since our independence, Washington has been pumping money like hell into our coffers as compensation, not reward, for the assorted ‘errands’ we have been running on its behalf, first in the Cold War, then in the Afghan-Soviet War, and lately as its non-Nato ally in the war on terror. Since 2001 alone, it gave us more than $15 billion in addition to the annual aid package of $1.5 billion under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 for five years with an appropriate ‘performance-based’ military assistance. It has indeed given a lot of money to our self-serving rulers, but its dividends never reached the people.

Other than some palatial farmhouses in Chak Shahzad and elsewhere, there is not a single university or hospital built with US assistance anywhere in Pakistan. One has yet to see any visible people-specific projects in any part of this country that could be attributed to US assistance. Ironically, each ‘engagement’ period in this relationship coincided with a military or military-controlled government in Pakistan and a Republican administration in Washington. Most of the ‘estrangement’ phases of the US-Pakistan relationship saw a Democrat administration in Washington and a politically vulnerable elected government in Pakistan.

This tradition generated its own anti-Americanism with a perception that the US did not want democracy to take root in this country. Somehow, our people always found the US standing on the wrong side in the arena of our domestic power struggle. Our dictators, civilian or non-civilian, have always been Washington’s blue-eyed boys. Under General Musharraf, Pakistan’s post-9/11 alliance with the US was indeed the beginning of a painful chapter in our history. In the blink of an eye, we became a battleground of the US-led war on terror and have been paying a heavy price.

From being a major power in South Asia always equated with India, Pakistan today is bracketed with Afghanistan in terms of its outlook, role and relevance. We are seen both as the problem and the key to its solution. No wonder, we are also being treated both as a target and a partner while fighting a common enemy. It is time to correct this approach. The US-Pakistan relationship must not be all about any particular incident or an individual. It is an important equation and must be kept immune to isolated irritants. The objective must be not to weaken this relationship but to strengthen it by infusing in it greater political, economic and strategic content.

In his November 2007 address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Joe Biden had admitted that “beyond the current crisis lurks a far deeper problem in this relationship which is largely transactional and this transaction isn’t working for either party”. From the US perspective, according to him, Pakistan despite receiving billions of dollars never delivered on combating extremism. From Pakistan’s perspective, he said, America is an unreliable ally, which has only bolstered its corrupt rulers.

Like Middleton, Biden also couldn’t escape painful soul-searching to be able to sum up the hard reality of the US-Pakistan relationship as Washington’s yet another unlearnt lesson: “History may describe today’s Pakistan as a repeat of 1979 Iran or 2001 Afghanistan. Or history may write a very different story: that of Pakistan as a stable, democratic, secular Muslim state. Which future unfolds will be strongly influenced — if not determined — by the actions of the US.” He may be right but our tryst with destiny will be determined by our own actions.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (81)

  • Toticalling
    Dec 6, 2013 - 10:38PM

    Shakespeare said it all: Evil that men do lives after them. This obsession with forcing everybody to follow one path has made the country where it is. The fear is that when we think we have reached hit bottom the real descent starts. I hope I am wrong. I think there is hope. But we need to listen and follow the opinions of people like you.


  • Babloo
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:19PM

    “From being a major power in South Asia always equated with India, Pakistan today is bracketed with Afghanistan in terms of its outlook, role and relevance.”

    That’s good. Isn’t it ? The less capacity Pakistan has to create trouble the better for both Pakistan , its neighbours and trhe world.


  • Roger
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:23PM

    Don’t sell yourself out cheap, be it to any country (USA, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, …) and the world will respect you.

    Look at other countries, even if not developed or economically powerful enough, but they deal with other countries on the basis of mutual respect and shared interests, rather than as a hired errand boy, and things work out.

    Pakistan, from day one, has been prostituting itself to the highest bidder, with predictable results.

    And please don’t blame the USA, or any other country for what they did to you, or how they robbed you etc. etc. Each country works to gain maximal advantage for itself. That is how the world works. It is upto Pakistani leaders to not sell Pakistan.

    When an American President or an European Prime Minister opens the dossier that they maintain on a Pakistani leader (like they do on all leaders, movers and shakers) and sees that the guy is more invested in London, Dubai, France, New York or wherever in terms of wealth, real estate, primary residence etc. than in his own country, they know that the guy can be bought, and bought cheaply, for he was bought before, and that is how he has homes in Dubai, London AND New York.


  • grace
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:35PM

    For expatriate Pakistanis in North America who have come here are legal immigrants with skills and pay taxes, we hate Pakistan being mentioned in the same breath as Afghanistan. Most Afghanis in North America came here as refugees who don’t work but live on state social assistance or khayrat called welfare. By the way, the US may have “pumped billions” into Pakistan but that does not compensate for the hundreds of billions of damage done to Pakistan by its role in defeating the Soviet Union, housing millions of Afghani refugees and the transformation of peaceful Pakistani society into almost the wild lawlnessness of Afghanistan.


  • Chuckles
    Dec 6, 2013 - 11:56PM

    Very funny. Pakistan is not, did not, never did have “security” problems.
    Pakistan IS and CAUSES, CAUSED security problems to others. Now Pakistan has become a security problem to ITSELF.
    Saying Pakistan is part of the solution is diplomatese to hide the obvious fact: Pakistan IS the problem.


  • Larry
    Dec 7, 2013 - 12:06AM


    Pakistanis defeated the Soviet Union?

    This is new to me.


  • Chacko Cherian
    Dec 7, 2013 - 12:19AM

    @author”Or history may write a very different story: that of Pakistan as a stable, democratic, secular Muslim state. Which future unfolds will be strongly influenced — if not determined — by the actions of the US.”
    Seems author is a bit confused,other wise how could something like’secular muslim state’ could creep up.State can be either secular or adhere to a religion.The argument may be turkey,but practically the state was secular(till the advent of Erdogan and AK Party) not Islamo-secular.May be what suits Pakistan is to be a muslim state which teaches and practises tolerance towards other religions.It must propagate that other religions are to be equally respected and make sure no constitutional bias against them.


  • David Paul (Boston, USA)
    Dec 7, 2013 - 12:57AM

    From being a major power in South Asia always equated with India, Pakistan today is bracketed with Afghanistan in terms of its outlook, role and relevance.

    Even in our wildest imagination, Pakistan was never equated with India. India was always considered a destination on the hippie trail to achieve nirvana in the 60s and even today. The romanticism was always there. Pakistan, for the few who knew it, was a pliable country used by the CIA, etc. for their hare-brained schemes. Major power in South Asia, for the US? There is a limit to delusion.


  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 7, 2013 - 1:32AM


    Pakistanis view themselves as victims of terrorism and refugees, but this is a direct consequence of your military’s pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan.

    Your military brass destroyed your country and it still is. Think for a change!


  • unbelievable
    Dec 7, 2013 - 1:35AM

    Can the author name a single problem/issue between the USA/Pakistan that wasn’t under the control of either country? Certainly drones and providing sanctuary to the Haqqani are decisions that were made by someone.
    The American position on Pakistan isn’t much different than the rest of the World. Nobody outside of Pakistan thinks you have a sovereign right to provide sanctuary to terrorist. Everyone wants you to close down the terrorist training camps, take control of your territory, and essentially stop becoming Jihad Central.


  • Amreeki
    Dec 7, 2013 - 2:06AM

    Cleverly manipulation of facts based on one person’s penning down about the relationship of Washington and Islamabad. To correct your history please refer to USA government unclassified docs and you will see that Pakistan continuously betrayed USA’s trust and internationally embarrassed USA when they stole nuclear tech during Nixon time. It’s fondness towards Pakistan was only because of its cold war with Russia. The war on terror was the opportunity to correct it’s mistake by destroying base of Taliban which they once allowed Pakistan to nurture. Frankly USA had always been cleaning up Pakistan’s mess. Even some of them who crashed planes on twin towers were of Pakistani origin and USA did not took action on Pakistan but just Afghanistan. There is the proof that USA has made some serious major exceptions for Pakistan. And now they are feeling that pinch and realization that they funded a wrong nation.


  • Khattak
    Dec 7, 2013 - 2:06AM

    @Grace, Pakistanis living in US, West call themselves Indian to hide their Pakistani nationality. US is begging Karzai to sign the BSA. Gen Musharaf sold Pakistan on a single phone call very cheaply. You can see the difference, Pakistan ranking is lower than Afghanistan & in near future Afghans will be asking to de-hyphen it from Pakistan.


  • NK
    Dec 7, 2013 - 2:26AM

    Pakistan’s geographical situation and a dozen other considerations make her virtually important to peace in the whole of Asia and the world at large”.

    The reason why Pakistan is so important to peace is because it is the world’s troublemaker and peace cannot prevail unless it is dealt with by hook or crook. It isn’t important to world peace on any merit. Sorry.


  • Insaan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 3:57AM

    @grace: but that does not compensate for the hundreds of billions of damage done to Pakistan by its role in defeating the Soviet Union, housing millions of Afghani refugees

    For Pakistan all these wars are like money making machines. Pakistan has done very little in terms of eliminating terrorism. Pakistan created talibans and played talibans in Afghanistan for over 25 years. This drama created by Pakistan killed millions of people in Afghanistan. Pakistan created conditions in Afghanistan to bring Russians in Afghanistan in the first place. Pakistan killed 3 million people in Bangladesh and raped at least half a million women in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh. Pakistan did not do much for billions of dollars it got in Zakat from Western countries.

    There may be more Afghan refugees in USA, but more Pakistanis are getting government benefits (like medicaid, earned income credit etc) from USA government. I am sure there are lot more Pakistanis living in US illegally than Afghans.

    Pakistanis played a major role in planning 9/11 attacks in USA.


  • Prakash
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:29AM

    Author is wrong to state that US aid is not perceptible on ground, as during Ayub regime Pakistan’s Planning was done US experts, many Higher Institution were build with US contribution Lahore Management & Karachi Univ etc,helped in construction of Tarbela& Mangla Dam, even recently USAID is contributing in education sector and has added thousand of MW of power.


  • American
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:37AM

    @grace: You write as if Pakistan was “forced” to do some thing, therefore the money paid was not important. You forget that Pakistan was a willing accomplice in the Soviet era Pakistani adventure in Afghanistan. Ask Zia. You wanted to do it; you trained the Taliban and al-Qaeda on Pakistani soil and sent them into Afghanistan and Kashmir; you “asked” for money; you got paid. Who are you blaming now ?Recommend

  • Anjaan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:38AM

    The real game is yet to start … let the Americans evacuate from Afghanistan, the post 2014 developments will likely be make or break for Pakistan … the people of Pakistan will know whether the military establishment over played its hand with the strategic assets …Recommend

  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:12AM

    Great article and synopsis of the current situation of US-Pakistan ties. Pakistan, being an ideological Islamic state, relies on both religion and Pan-Islamic brotherhood in its international affairs.

    The US currently views Islam and Muslim unity as a direct challenge to its hegemony over the Muslim world. Make no mistake, until Washington can view Pakistan with the respect and dignity that it deserves as an independent Muslim nation, the trust deficit will only widen.

    By virtue of its heritage, culture, and religion, Pakistan can never be a secular nation. Also, Afghanistan’s (and Kashmir’s) fate is intrinsically entwined with Pakistan. As long as Western powers invade and occupy Muslim countries, animosity and antagonism will only increase in not only Pakistan, but the Muslim world at large.


  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 7:00AM

    Pakistan despite receiving billions of dollars never delivered on combating extremism””
    The crowning glory being that after giving Pakistan USD 25 Billion to combat terrorism US did not feel confident in sharing the fact that it had located OBL at Abbottabad….and had to conduct a solo expedition.


  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 7:03AM

    “Pakistan as a fiercely independent country ”
    Did anyone ever accuse Pakistan of being a fiercely principled country?
    a fierecely peace loving country? a fierecely honest country? hmmmmmmmmmmmm.


  • non-an-indian
    Dec 7, 2013 - 7:33AM

    @khatak: “Pakistanis living in US, West call themselves Indian to hide their Pakistani nationality…”

    I am a pakistani who has been living in US for more than 2 decades and I have yet to come across a pakistani who has tried to pass himself off as an indian. I can see a pakistani wishing to be an iranian, arab or a turk but an indian ? rude as it may sound but it is still considered a step down for almost all of us. of course there are confused among us like you.


  • Feroz
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:12AM

    The Politics of opportunism can never win respect. My enemies enemy is my friend can never be the foundation for a strong relationship. India and Pakistan are not very different in terms of per capita Income but India has never sought any Aid. Respect is always earned, can never be bought. At the outset Pakistan may have never consciously wanted to become the headquarters of Terrorism, only misplaced policies and priorities took it there. Sadly, when reprehensible policies were crafted and implemented no one found the courage to question or discourage the Establishment. Now the windfall is here and people want to question, how and why. In 2001 the best chance for clean up was presented, however pathological hatred for India blinded Pakistan from taking the right decision. Now from the posturing of Political parties it looks like the State prefers to side with the militants and Jihadi’s, not the civilized World. The World is not so indoctrinated or blind that it cannot see through bogus rhetoric. Pakistan is a perfect lesson to the World on how a country can destroy itself rapidly and without remorse, with eyes open.


  • Observer
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:39AM

    Pakistan is and has always been a mercenary country…a ‘gun-for-hire’. The kind of emotional outbursts like the one the author is having in this article seem totally out of place. Pakistan, the perpetrator is crying foul and claiming to be a victim. The world has come a long way in this digital age and sees Pakistan for what it is and what it stands for. Articles like these are for domestic consumption, for those who have their necks deep in the sand. Even God cannot help those who cannot help themselves and here you are expecting another country to own and manage your problems.


  • Kannan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:47AM

    I fail to understand why everyone blame USA for Pakistan’s failures ? In the beginning who made Pakistan a security state vis-a-vis India ? I failed to understand the genuine security concern vis-a-vis India which Pakistan is promoting all these years ? Even lately, who coined the word non-state actors?


  • Humid
    Dec 7, 2013 - 9:20AM

    This book was written in 1968 when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. Since then it’s loss in 1971 has diminished Pakistan’s geostrategic position.Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 9:34AM

    @ Khattak

    Brilliant post.


  • Sandip
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:10AM

    The familiar Pakistani rant of how everyone but Pakistanis are responsible for Pakistan’s current situation. The world is tired of this nonsense that emanates from former and current Pakistani officials and society at large. If people with such mindset as this author occupy leadership position in Pakistan, is it any surprise that Pakistan is in the doldrums today? Why would the world want to engage with such a leadership? It doesn’t have any time for such ranting.


  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:11AM

    “The US-Pakistan relationship must not be all about any particular incident or an individual. ”
    Now who could that individual be? Zia Musharraf Zardari Hina Rabbani Khar…No No !
    I cant take that guy’s name and he cant talk from his watery grave.


  • Zalmai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:12AM

    @ Grace

    Get your head out of where the sun don’t shine and get a perspective, call a life line and get a clue.


  • Zalmai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:17AM

    Shamshad Ahmad still drinking the Kool Aid. You can speak freely now, you are not a diplomat anymore. Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid and at the very least you will be grouped together with the likes of Hussain Haqqani, which is good company.


  • zoro
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:51AM

    Pakistanis defeated the Soviet Union….
    The thinking head has a hat on it …
    Sooo … the hat being Pakistan and the head being USA…It is obvious that Pakistan will think that Pakistan has defeated USSR…
    If the former Foreign Secretary still thinks the same … God save Pakistan …
    India does not need to bother for sure ….


  • joy
    Dec 7, 2013 - 12:28PM

    “The US-Pakistan relationship must not be all about any particular incident or an individual. It is an important equation and must be kept immune to isolated irritants.”
    Respected Sir, the man you hid in Abbotabad for such a long time may have been an individual per se, but what he represented was diabolical to say the least. A diplomat of your standing and experience would of course know that it was not an isolated irritant.
    Pakistan has been eating its cake and having it too for the last six decades, but now Sir you will have to make do with bread crumbs…after all its you people who have been biting the hand that has been feeding you.
    Even today when Pakistan is facing huge economic issues, a former foreign secretary should have suggested ways out of the morass rather than telling the world that WE ARE THE WORLD.


  • Dec 7, 2013 - 1:32PM

    I profoundly congratulate Mr. Shamshad Ahmad for an excellent and pragmatic analysis of Pak-US relations and its future.

    If I was the PM of Pakistan Mr. Shamshad Ahmad would have been my National Security and Foreign Affairs Senior Advisor.


  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 1:42PM

    “Pakistan today is bracketed with Afghanistan”
    How can that be ? Was OBL found in Pakistan or Afghanistan?


  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 2:11PM

    @Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad: “If I was the PM of Pakistan Mr. Shamshad Ahmad would have been my National Security and Foreign Affairs Senior Advisor.”
    What are his views re the Indian soldiers on the Siachin glacier?


  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 7, 2013 - 2:29PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:

    Pakistan does rely on a “pan-Islamic brotherhood” to pursue its foreign policy but your neighbors aren’t foolish to fall for the ploy.

    The Bengalis didn’t want anything to do with Pakistan nor do the Baluch, Pashtuns and Afghans. What makes you think other Muslim does?

    You should be more concerned about Pakistan, not Afghanistan or any other country. Recommend

  • Larry
    Dec 7, 2013 - 2:39PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:

    “As long as Western powers invade and occupy Muslim countries, animosity and antagonism will only increase in not only Pakistan, but the Muslim world at large.”

    You make no mention of the Chinese soldiers currently stationed in Northern Pakistan or the Chinese soldiers pillaging the resources of the Baluch people.

    To the Pakistani’s, it’s fine when Chinese kill/prosecute Muslims but it would be defined as injustice if it were done by the West. Hypocrisy at its best!


  • KST
    Dec 7, 2013 - 3:01PM

    @Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad: “If I was the PM of Pakistan Mr. Shamshad Ahmad would have been my National Security and Foreign Affairs Senior Advisor.”

    Pakistan is lucky that you are not :)


  • V. C. Bhutani
    Dec 7, 2013 - 3:20PM

    One would have thought that a former foreign secretary would write with a due measure of proportion and regard for facts. His statement “From being a major power in South Asia always equated with India, Pakistan today is bracketed with Afghanistan in terms of its outlook, role and relevance” is a misrepresentation of actuality. We in India are not aware that Pakistan was regarded by the rest of the world as equal to India in any sense at any time since the birth of Pakistan. Even that blessed book by the American author Drew Middleton, which I have not seen, seems to suffer from a similar lopsided view.
    Let alone remote past, is Pakistan today regarded as equal to India? In my own untrained way I used to think that a country’s strength depends on its economic performance. In terms of economic resources it used to be my view that the proportion of economic resources between India and Pakistan was 10 to 1. But then world renowned economists (none of them Indian) came along to assure us that the proportion was 9 to 1. We stand corrected. With that kind of a ratio, is it Mr Shamshad Ahmad’s view that Pakistan is right in thinking in terms of parity with India?
    Such claims to parity have been Pakistan’s pursuit of a chimera which was never translated into ground reality. His present article contains ample evidence that even considerable US subventions to Pakistan have not resulted in anything other than palatial farm houses for the elites who profited from such grants. He even assures us that none of that money was applied to the making of educational or scientific institutions or technological institutes. Then where are the grounds of parity with India?
    Merely a comparable army and armaments and nuclear weapons and missiles do not make for parity. These may be good for fighting a war but, having begun a war, the war can be carried on for even a few days only with continued re-supply and replacement of fuel and armaments. Pakistan just does not have the resources to buy these. So, even a war cannot be fought to its conclusion: it will have to be given up sort of half done. Pakistan’s leaders and decision makers shall be wise not to think in terms of war with India – if past experience is any guide.
    Pakistan is an important country in South Asia in many ways, especially by its location at the crossroads of several regions – South Asia, China, Central Asia, and West Asia. Strategically it is crucially located but that by itself cannot be a source of much comfort, although it can be an important factor in foreign policy planning.
    Someone in Pakistan should arise to attend to economic development: that’s one area that has been consistently neglected by all governments since 1947. If only Pakistan would build its economic sinews and let the world see business houses, industrial establishments, scientific and technological institutions, universities, and, for the people, educational institutions at all levels and hospitals. That’s a tall bill which will fill the tenure of several five-year governments.
    Meanwhile, there is no sense in thinking of war, much less nuclear war. That reminds me of the photographs of Hiroshima immediately after the 1945 bombing. No one in his senses will like that such a thing should happen anywhere in South Asia – or anywhere else.
    V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, 7 Dec 2013, 1550 ISTRecommend

  • Someone
    Dec 7, 2013 - 3:25PM

    @Khattak: US is begging Karzai to sign the BSA.
    Karzai is a pawn and begging would hardly be the right term. A master doesn’t beg to his slave, he only orders. Afghanistan is not run by Karzai, it’s the US who calls the shots in Afghanistan and whether Karzai wants to sign the BSA or doesn’t does not matter because the US will have things go its way, and bringing a pawn like Karzai back to toeing its line is not a hard job for the Americans.

    Gen Musharaf sold Pakistan on a single phone call very cheaply. You can see the difference, Pakistan ranking is lower than Afghanistan & in near future Afghans will be asking to de-hyphen it from Pakistan.

    May I ask what “ranking” it is that you are talking about? Afghanistan is so lowly that most economic, social and other indicators do not even mention Afghanistan until the very bottom, usually worse than Somalia or a bit better than Somalia. Perhaps in terrorism, Afghanistan might be ranking higher.


  • Zalmai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:00PM

    @ Someone

    Pakistan does not rank anywhere in social, economic or any other indicator either, but as beggars it is ranked at the top sixtyseven years running. Congrats!Recommend

  • its ok
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:08PM

    @Chacko Cherian…….” muslim state which teaches and practises tolerance”. designing a contemporary utopia.Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:12PM

    Pakistan has been running errands for the US for the last six decades and it will probably continue doing so for another six decades because running errands is what Pakistan does best.Recommend

  • Hakeem Luqman
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:48PM

    In a few years time Afghanistan will mind being bracketed with Pakistan.


  • Sleman Khan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:50PM


    The fact that you have taken some time to look into the CIA world fact about Afghanistan and the fact that you are now comparing Afghanistan with Pakistan is a reflection of the decreased standing of Pakistan. Afghanistan on the other hand has seen enormous improvement in the last 10 yearswhilst pakistan has gone backwards(look at karachi voilence, sunni shia voilence, kidnappings. namalooom afraad, baloch problems, pashtuns being persecuted, terrorism and export of it to other coutnries like afghanistan and india). These issues have pushed pakistan into a downward spiarl and if it continues in the same way then pakistan will be ranked lower than Afghanistan in most of the socio-economic indicaters within a decade(in some areas they already are)
    The common Pakistani have always had an arrogant look towards Afghanistan and have wished is to be a subordinate country to Pakistan. But Afghans have proved more tougher and resilient than many predicted. Whilst you may have housed so many refugees but you only did it in self interest(building your army, atomic bombs, your city and to get illegal money from US) .
    We people of Afghanistan love Karazai because he is a tolerant man and has not directly caused any harm to our people. In his 10-12 years he has changed Afghanistan beyond imagination. He is negotiating toughly with the Americans and guarding our national interests. With the signing of BSA and continued American support Afghanistan will continue to move forward. Right now in Afghanistan we have 4-5 Master degree holders for each job and we have many Pakistani friends working in our country together with Indians and other nationality. The basis of modern day Afghanistan is built on tolerance, democracy and human rights. There is no place for Pakistani ideology and talib ideology anymore and talibanism is going to be defeated. Pakistan has a clear choice to make.Recommend

  • Insaan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 4:55PM

    @non-an-indian:.” I can see a pakistani wishing to be an iranian, arab or a turk but an indian ?”

    Lol, why a Pakistani will wish to be an Arab, Iranian or Turk? You have been in US for over 20 years. You proved the point, Pakistanis are ashamed to be a Pakistani

    Here is what Mr Najam Sethi says about Pakistanis pretending as Indians. Najam Sethi
    is the 16th and former (caretaker) chief minister of Punjab. He is an award winning Pakistani journalist, editor, and media personality, the editor-in-chief of The Friday Times,

    Sethi: US Pakistanis Pretend as Indians

  • Insaan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 5:07PM


    Author should read about book(s) / articles written by Indian Muslim Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.–the-man-who-knew-the-future-of-pakistan-before-its-creation/d/2139

    Congress president Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gave the following interview to journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946. It was a time when the Cabinet Mission was holding its proceedings in Delhi and Simla. Azad made some startling predictions during the course of the interview, saying that religious conflict would tear apart Pakistan and its eastern half would carve out its own future. He even said that Pakistan’s incompetent rulers might pave the way for military rule.Recommend

  • Nzaar
    Dec 7, 2013 - 5:12PM

    You’re comment about not a single uni made from usaid is incorrect. I know for a fact that IBA Karachi was made using us funding. In fact, till 2002 (when I last personally checked) date their chairs had “usaid” plaques installed behind them.Recommend

  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 5:39PM

    Mr. Shamshad Ahmad is an astute political animal…
    His article says what is ‘patriotic’… the hope that NS will keep him in mind when the current ( incompetent) adviser is due to be replaced. Actually the author has himself no belief in what he has written.Recommend

  • FactCheck
    Dec 7, 2013 - 5:42PM

    “Pakistan’s geographical situation and a dozen other considerations make her virtually important to peace in the whole of Asia and the world at large”. This old book on ‘America’s stakes in Asia’ may have ended up in trash, but Pakistan as a fiercely independent country has rarely disappeared for any length of time from America’s strategic radar screen”.

    Paragraph above shows the absurdity of your entire article.

    The first notion of indispensability is what got you where you are. With technology today, anything can be remotely monitored and controlled.

    Second notion, Pakistan being fiercely independent nation is even more ridiculous. When this author wrote the book in 1967, Pakistan was independent only for 21 years.

    Your arguments based on this book is even more scarier because it perpetuates a mindless and myopic notion Pakistan has been following six decades.

    Book ended up in trash heap where it actually belongs.

    Stop scavenging trash when you are in America 99.9999% of stuff you find in trash is trash.Recommend

  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 5:42PM

    Ungrateful Wretches
    From the ET I learn that during the 2010 floods US contributed over 600 Mn USD for flood relief……………..!!!!!Recommend

  • Someone
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:06PM

    @Zalmai and Sleman Khan: I enjoy jokes every once in a while for a good laugh and your rhetoric achieves that. You still have not told me what socio-economic indicators it is in that your stone age excuse of a country ranks “better” than Pakistan, other than terrorism as I mentioned.

    Btw, reality check:
    GDP of Afghanistan: $18.03 billion
    GDP of Pakistan: $231.2 billion (approx 13 times larger)

    First go improve your tiny winy economy before dreaming of comparing yourselves with the might of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Karzai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:44PM

    If that is the logic why are you comparing your puny country with India all the time?
    Your economy, education, technology achievements are laughably puny in front of India.
    Afghanistan has a better case to compare with Pakistan!Recommend

  • Maria
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:50PM

    It’s true that there is poverty in Pakistan but there is nowhere near the abject poverty you see in neighbouring India where people starve on streets or in neighbouring Afghanistan where virtually the entire country is involved on one or another form of individual or state begging. Indian migrants in Western countries may be doing reasonably well but some of them live on welfare and the majority of Afghans overseas live on welfare. Recommend

  • Mustpha Crap
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:50PM

    Why don’t you come to UK and see the legal Paki immigrants on Khaitaat (social security) and biting to hand that feeds themRecommend

  • Komal S
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:55PM


    Recently i was taking a taxi in toronto and started conversing with the driver. He said he was from Agra and an Indian. On inquiring how often he visits, he said not really because he does not have a visa. I pressed on saying it should be very easy to get a visa, then he says actually i hold pakistani passport but his grandparents migrated to pakistan at partition, but he considers himself more Indian then Pakistani. As an Indian visiting Canada on a business visit, this was completely unexpected. Of course he was a great guy and loves Pakistan but frustrated with the things going on in that country. Recommend

  • Maria
    Dec 7, 2013 - 6:57PM

    @Insaan: No Pakistani in the US I know would ever pretend to be an Indian because frankly we think we look better than majority of them. Yes some Pakistanis who originally come from India and migrated to Karachi may talk about their origin in India but native Pakistani peoples never say that. The Youtube video you show from Mr. Sethi is nothing but cynicism from the journalist to make a point and even the journalist has distanced himself from this comment after he saw how Indian people take cynicism as gospel. Trust me, no Pakistani wants to be mistaken for Indian, Sri Lankan or Bengali even though we respect all of the other countries. Why do you think there are so many proud US American Pakistani social associations?Recommend

  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 7:01PM

    ET, allow me to comment. Shameful display by our resident cyber Hindus.

    @Khattak: You are a Hindu, so stop posting under the name Khattak. Khattak is a proud Pakhtun tribe in Pakistan.

    @Zalmai: As usual, you are here to defend your Hindu brothers. Look forward to the day when you have courage to come in your real Hindu name.

    @Major Iqbal: Please do not use a Pakistani name to abuse Pakistan. You could not be more obvious. Also, I am Pukhtoon and a Proud Pakistani. Who gives you the right to speak for us? What relation does a Hindu Indian have with us?

    @Larry: No Chinese troops in either Balochistan or Northern Pakistan, so your point is invalid.

    @Bhutani: Your long-winded post reeks of arrogance and hate. Its unhealthy.Recommend

  • Papa karzai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:11PM

    @Karzai: If that is the logic why are you comparing your puny country India with China & USA all the time?
    Your economy, education, technology achievements are laughably puny in front of China and USA. Pakistan has a better case to compare with India!Recommend

  • Mukund
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:16PM

    Let’s see how much poverty you have in Pakistan if you stop begging for a few years! Begging and Terrorism are the two things you have become famous for.

    It is common knowledge among Pakistanis in the US, if no Pakistani around they”ll lie they are from India to avoid acute embarrassment.

    ET, allow my comment.Recommend

  • polpot
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:21PM

    @Mustpha Crap: What have Pakis in UK been upto?
    Read : Nine men, mostly of Pakistani origin, have been jailed for a total of 77 years after being found guilty of an horrendous catalogue of sexual offences (grooming) against under-age white girls following an eleven week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

  • nrmr44
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:31PM

    The principal, and fatal, flaw in all Pakistani thinking is the proclivity to equate themselves with all and sundry. To want to get into the mind of a nation which patrols the world with 14 carrier battle fleets, and to presume to offer them guidance, you have to be totally detached from reality.
    Pakistan was considered a major power in South Asia, and equated with India? For a brief period 1958-1965 the Americans tried to build up Pakistan, before giving up. Whenever Pakistan was prominent it was for the wrong reasons, as presently.
    Equated with Karzai’s Afghanistan? Wrong! Afghanistan still has potential. Equated with Saddam’s Iraq, more likely. America doesn’t need to understand Pakistan; it is Pakistan that needs to grasp what America is all about. Recommend

  • Insaan
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:50PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan: “What relation does a Hindu Indian have with us?”

    Most Pakistanis have Hindu “genes”? Do you know what a “gene” is? Some of Pakistanis may have Arab genes, Iranian genes or Afghan genes because many Hindu women were taken by force by Invading armies of followers of religion peace.

    Do you know what is the meaning of “whatever your right hand possesses”?

    Some Bangladeshi are now related to Pakistanis, do you know why? Half a million Bangla women were raped by Paki army that follows TRUE religion of Islam.

    What happened in East Pakistan happened to ancestors of Pakistanis for over 800 years?Recommend

  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 7, 2013 - 8:52PM


    Great points, as always!

    Pakistan was created by the British empire as a garrison state to take on the Russians in their great game.

    The West has always supported their military and allowed them to run wild, in order to use them for their ends. Once their purpose was achieved, Pakistan was allowed to fester from self inflicted wounds. Recommend

  • Faruq
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:43PM

    Indians don’t seem to have anything better to do that come on our news sites and spam our articles. Do you people not have a reasonable news website in your entire country?Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:46PM

    @ Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan

    You are one of the millioms of Pakistanis that pretend to be Pashtun by attaching the name KHAN to yourselves.

    I am the real deal and I speak Pashto and Dari. I challenge you to speak a word/sentence in Pashto with me. You are a fake.Recommend

  • Sandip
    Dec 7, 2013 - 11:55PM

    @Maria: I guess you never heard of the term “beauty being skin deep”? Just to respond to you, I checked Mr. Edhi’s picture. He has wrinkles all over his face, his skin is not really the best but boy, look at his beauty. I wish Pakistan produced more of such beauty that the skin deep beauty that you just referred to.Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Dec 8, 2013 - 12:18AM

    @ Someone

    Pakistan is a colonial construct and everything in Pakistan was built by the Brits. Perhaps if Afghanistan was colonized then we would have been a great country like Pakistan with institutions like Forman College and Aichinson…lmao.

    Afghans don’t have British institutions and stadiums named after Arab tyrants. We are not confused about our identity and we don’t name our children Osama, Saddam Hussein, Mustapha Kamal, Muawiya and Yasser Arafat.

    You inherited a country without firing a single shot, but you have not managed to do anything for it in 67 years. It has been in decline, but of course no one will admit to it. It begs the question, what do you want to be when you grow up?


  • Maria
    Dec 8, 2013 - 12:49AM

    @Komal S: No one disputes that Pakistanis who come originally from India do relate to their original home in India and may identify with India but that is not true to native Pakistanis.
    @Sandip: Your point is well taken, Mr. Edhi is a great human being but I have never heard him identify himself as Indian ven those his family migrated to Pakistan from India. Beauty is only skin deep and very subjective but I am just letting you know the common feeling that because Pakistanis feel that they are the result of different cultures and influences, they feel different to other South Asians – rightly or wrongly. Even in India , Tamils and Sikhs look different so is it racism to say so? What is odd here is that so many Indians are quick to jump on any comments from Pakistanis.


  • Maria
    Dec 8, 2013 - 12:56AM

    @Zalmai: The last time I send you a message in Pashtu, you were unable to respond. Have you forgot that there are Pashtun in Pakistan than Afghanistan- perhaps double the number. You have more Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen and Hazaras but less Pashtun. Millions of Pakistanis do not have to pretend to be Pashtun because we are greater in number than in Afghanistan. Look at the Pakistani government and military. That fact that you don’t know this makes people identify you as an Indian troll. Remind yourself of the proverb, ” Aftab ba do angusht put na mishe”.


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Dec 8, 2013 - 8:22AM

    ET, allow me respond to this racism against Pakistanis.

    @Insaan: Since when do genes have a religion? Pakistanis are from the Indus River Valley Civilization, and we have no relation to your Ganges culture. You try to justify your hatred with your own fabricated history. Muslims don’t prescribe to racist systems like the caste system, hence any Muslim may marry any other Muslim, regardless of background. Do a little research on Islam first.

    @Major Iqbal: Don’t use a Muslim name to insult Muslims, Hindu. Pakistan was created for the safety of Muslims, more than 1 million of which were massacred by Hindu mobs before and during Partition. Hindus created Pakistan by attempted to dominate Muslims. We fought for our freedom. Allah swt bless Jinnah, I am sure that he is looking down at us from Heaven as speak.


  • powvow
    Dec 8, 2013 - 9:19AM

    @Maria – “Have you forgot that there are Pashtun in Pakistan than Afghanistan- perhaps double the number”

    That’s because all the area inhabited by Pashtuns (KW province etc.) is actually part of Afghanistan, illegally occupied by Pakistan.
    If Greater Pakhtunistan comes into existence you will have to withdraw from that land…You have left the pot boiling by not resolving the issues of the Durand line, same as you do with Kashmir as well.


  • Rakib
    Dec 8, 2013 - 10:26AM


    Well said. Handsome is that handsome does. The great Edhi belongs to same Kathiawari ethnic stock-if at all such trivia matter-as Jinnah & Gandhi. Almost every Pakistani I know invariably turns to the subject of looks eventually. They don’t say they are different-only better looking, fairer or some such comparative degree. It reminds me of many years ago when I was in a relaxed discussion with a Pakistani friend & an American academic in US. As the talk veered round to matters Indo-Pak,at some point the friend said, tad out of context, how Pakistanis were “fair” unlike the Indians. He was saying this to a blue-eyed Caucasian! The Prof genuinely misunderstood & asked: to what do you owe your sense of fairness? Imran Khan was the captain then & I mentioned some vague thing about cricket & fair play to prevent any embarrassment. That said, this obsession with “fair” is common among Indians of certain provinces abutting Pakistan. Larger question is: do Pakistanis pass themselves off as Indians? May be may be not but never ever heard of an Indian passing himself off as a Pakistani in a third country.


  • Asif Yusufzai
    Dec 8, 2013 - 10:35AM

    @Maria: Zalmai is a fake Pakhtun as most Pashtuns from Afghanistan are fake. There are more Pakhtuns in Pakistan and we are the genuine Pakhtuns. We are proud of our culture and our country Pakistan, unlike Afghan Paktoons, who have an identity crisis, are more extremist and conservative and have lost their culture in a talibanised Afghanistan.


  • Maria
    Dec 8, 2013 - 12:05PM

    @Zalmai: I could easily argue your assertion to say that India is a colonial construct. If you were more aware of the history of South Asia, you would know that Muslim civilizations dominated the region for nearly 1000 years before the British came and freed the Indians. To put it bluntly modern day India is very much a British colonial construct with British parliamentary democracy, British institutions and English as an official language. Yes the British did not want Pakistan to come into being and connived with India to deprive Pakistan of its fair share of the colony’s resources at the time of partition but both the British and Indians wanted Pakistan to implode. Afghanistan was only too eager to assist India in its designs against Pakistan at partition and refused to recognize the nation in 1947 only recognizing India. In subsequent decades, India has been able to use Afghanistan as a willing proxy against Pakistan but that is another matter.


  • Asif Yusufzai
    Dec 8, 2013 - 3:04PM

    @powvow: Most Pashtuns are Pakistanis and we are proud of our country. The area occupied by Afghan Pakhtuns, who are a minority, also belongs to us. One day we will make the Afghan Pashtun areas part of our province and incorporate Afghanistan as a province of Pakistan.


  • Dennis
    Dec 8, 2013 - 6:18PM

    It is hard to imagine Pakistan making a comeback as a nation from where it finds itself today. The failure is a mixture of overzealous ‘strategists’ within Pakistan who possessed little or no foresight and Pakistan’s ill-fated association with the US. Whilst it has made plenty of money from Uncle Sam, what didn’t sit very well with the Americans (especially the CIA) was Pakistan’s attempt to outsmart its benefactors.
    Pakistan is a case study on what a fledgeling nation ought NOT to do !


  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 8, 2013 - 8:57PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:

    Wrong, Mr. Khan. The British collided with “Muslim” Nationalists like Jinnah to create Pakistan so that the subcontinent would burn forever.

    The British colluded with the Muslim league to prop up religious sentiments to divide the people.


  • Zalmai
    Dec 9, 2013 - 3:08AM

    @ Major Iqbal

    As I read these posts here I see a pattern developing among some Pakistanis that are conspiracy theorists and they genuinely believe that Muslims whether they are from Pakistan, India or Afghanistan should not have opinions that differ with or debunk their socially engineered state craft based on false myths. They resort to calling everone who disagrees with them an Indian. Its funny how brainwashed minds behave.


  • Nobody
    Dec 9, 2013 - 4:00AM


    I myself have not come across any Pakistanis stating they are Indian; nor have I come across any Pakistani wishing to be an Arab. (huh???) Both point to an internal complex. I am a Pakistani-American and I will always call my heritage and origin Pakistani. I do not wish to be anything else nor do I have an inferiority complex (or a superiority complex mind you). I don’t understand why Pakistanis would want to be associated with Arabs. What exactly have they done for us? What genetic makeup do we supposedly share with them? This notion of “brotherhood” simply because some of us share a common religion is naive and childish. We are not like them. They are not like us. We do not want to be like them. They do not want to be like us. Let Indians be Indians, Arabs be Arabs and Pakistanis be Pakistani.
    Focus more on achieving a better Pakistan rather than holding onto petty issues on an individualistic level of no use to anyone.


  • Grace
    Dec 9, 2013 - 9:04PM

    @Zalmai: So only the theories from your Indian texbooks are real? I don’t think so. Look at the false myths about India too. By the way, if you are so against Pakistanis, why are you so obsessed with writing about them on Pakistani news sites? I think it would be healthy for you to develop more interest in your own Indian things.


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