Growing Trends of Anti-Americanism in Pakistan
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
Although the people of Pakistan never accepted US influence in the domestic affairs of Pakistan, yet, over the years, there has been an increase in anti-Americanism among the Pakistani masses.
The recent wave of the anti-Americanism, which indeed is a collective voice of all Pakistanis, started with the arrest and thereafter release of CIA agent Raymond Davis, who in the broad day light killed two Pakistanis. The incident of May 2, 2011, and attack on PNS Mehran, destroying the surveillance aircrafts (P-3C Orion) have further fuelled this hatred. Indeed, this public hatred for US in Pakistan is a natural outcome, from the years of exploitation by the former. With US discriminatory acts, any nation having integrity and respect could have done that and US should not feel bad about that, rather needs to adopt corrective measures. During her five hours visit of Pakistan, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, also showed her annoyance over this ever growing anti-Americanism in Pakistani society. This fact indeed, frustrated her more than anything else. She advised Pakistani people that, “anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make their problems disappear.” Rather, she suggested that, the recipe of the Pakistani problems is in toeing the American line, rather anti-Americanism. However, she gave a clear message that, “America cannot and should not solve Pakistan’s problems,” rather Pakistanis should solve their problems themselves. This in fact is a pragmatic advice for all Pakistanis, but, Pakistani feels, would US leave us alone to solve our problems by ourselves?
After years of exploitation, Secretary of State still feels that, Pak-US relationship is at a critical point. In a statement, she emphatically said that, “we have reached a turning point.” While describing such a situation, she expressed that, US would like that Pakistan should take concrete measures against terrorism in the coming days to the satisfaction of US, as if Pakistan has done nothing after getting its 35,000 people killed and suffering the economic losses of over $65 billion while serving the US cause in last one decade. More than anything, Ms. Clinton wants Pakistani to love US, without US resolving their problems, rather adding on to those on daily basis.
Secretary Clinton made Pakistanis realize that, US has supported Pakistan in term of economic and military assistance more than other countries of the world, especially, Pakistan’s friends like; China and Saudi Arabia. She feels that after this much assistance, there should not be anti-American sentiments among the people of Pakistan, as if US has purchased the loyalties of Pakistanis worth this financial assistance. However, US is cognizant of the fact that there is no public recognition of this American support, as its effects has never reached to people of Pakistan. Secretary of State also felt that, there is a “communication gap and failure of respective governments to correct the distortions.” Whereas, US must understand that, its financial assistance has never reached over to the common man of Pakistan, and today, he stands much poorer than ever before. A common Pakistani lacked the basic civic facilities, educational and health facilities. Then, where the money indeed has gone, should be better known to US. As far as defence assistance is concern, if US alliance with Pakistan and its military hardware could not save the disintegration of Pakistan in 1971, and now US is after the Pakistani nukes, then how Pakistani people should be motivated to love America. The promised $1.5 billion per year financial assistance under KLL by US has yet not reached to the masses. Most of the money under this law is returned to US under various clauses, where heavily paid US advisors and other experts take away a major chunk of the finances. Above all, on the financial terms, Pakistan loses more than its gains, while being a US partner in this so-called global war on terror or otherwise.
The real concern is that, there exist an inexplicable relationship between Pakistani elite group and United States, ever since 1950s, but, the people of Pakistan never supported that. The sole reason for this opposition was; this relationship was to benefit United States, rather serving the Pakistani interests. Besides, this relationship made Pakistan biased; a country under the Capitalist bloc headed by U.S. This westernized relationship isolated Pakistan from rest of the world and particularly, the Eastern Camp under former Soviet Union. Soviet Union and its allies started seeing Pakistan with suspicions and did not miss a chance to harm Pakistani interest once there was some global or regional effort to resolve the Kashmir issue. Practically, except, China, Pakistan did not have guaranteed bi-lateral relationship with any other country. While, throughout in our bilateral relationship, U.S has been betraying Pakistan on one or the other pretext, it stopped Pakistani assistance (mainly military) at crucial moments of our history like; 1965 and 1971, Indo-Pak wars. It lured in Pakistan and used its facilities including penetration into its security establishment during Soviet invasion in Afghanistan and imposed a set of sanctions upon gaining its strategic objective of disintegrating the Soviet Union.
While leaving Pakistan at lurch, with thousands of former Jihadists in its territory and on the Afghan soil, US left the region in haste to celebrate its sole power status and opening new battle fronts like Iraq to sustain its economy and dispose of its left over explosive in the desert of Middle East (Operation Desert Storm), subsequently to charge its cost from Arab monarchs. US economic and military sanctions against Pakistan continued throughout 1990s, with imposition of even tougher measures, sequel to the 1998 nuclear blasts. After this changed scenario in South Asia, US decided to look for an alternative in the form of India, later accepting it as the de-facto nuclear power status, while expressing apprehensions about the safety and security of Pakistani strategic arsenals. Such acts of this sole super power could not induce Pakistani people to love United Sates. However, the peak of this hatred reached once, US drone attacks became a routine on Pakistani soil especially, in FATA. Earlier in 2001, subsequent to 9/11, U.S was once again able to force Pakistan to support her in its invasion in Afghanistan. This Pakistan wholehearted assistance to US in Afghan war, prompted the former Jihadists along with many others to attack Pakistani installations, its armed forces and many others having no connection with this war. During this one decade of Pakistan’s military support to US, Pakistan lost 35000 people including over 3500 security forces personnel. Its economic losses have grown enormous, owing to instability in the country. This all has happened because of Pakistan’s dedicated support to the cause of United States, what else US want us to do?
This is not the end, as the US kept on asking to do more; indeed, a never ending demand. So much so it has violated the Pakistani sovereignty many a time and killed thousands innocents through its uncalled forth drone attacks. The situation reached to the point, where its navy seals have unilaterally raided in Abbotabad to kill OBL, facts regarding presence of OBL there are yet to be ascertained. Circumstantial evidences brings the scholars to the conclusions that it was a drama staged to take revenge from Pakistan for the arrest of Raymond Davis and a face saving for US to start drawdown its token forces in July this, again to befool US masses, back home. This was height of the US violation of Pakistani sovereignty and degrading Pakistani defence establishment and ISI, who over the years have known the US real objective inside Pakistan, thus started putting up resistance to those. Regretfully, US President and other officials threatened more unilateral acts, which irked the Pakistani masses. As per the initial investigation of PNS Mehran Base attack, some of weapons and equipment and especially the wireless sets, are found having American and NATO origin, making the event quite suspicious. These sets are strictly prohibited in the market and are only in the use of US forces in Afghanistan. How did, these were found with the attackers of the Mehran base is a serious concern for the people of Pakistan. This might have been done to reduce the surveillance of Pakistani Navy, thus allowing free excess to foreign forces to internally destabilize Karachi and coastal areas of Balochistan, thus, restraining the operationalization of Gwadar port, apart from supporting the sub-nationalists in the province.
With these only few evidences and some very current happenings, the lady Secretary of State should not have expected love for American in the hearts of Pakistani masses. Rather anti-American sentiments are natural among the people. If U.S is really serious to be loved by Pakistani masses, than; it should start respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty. It should rebuild the infrastructures lost during the militancy of last one decade. It should help people in the provision of employment through ROZ, as earlier promised. Over and above it should stop supporting anti-Pakistan forces locally as well as globally. It should re-establish relationship with Pakistan basing the mutual trust and respect.