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Anti-US Wave Imperiling Efforts in Pakistan

September 26, 2009

Karen DeYoung and Pamela Constable | Washington Post

292_cartoon_america_in_pakistan_large

A new wave of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan has slowed the arrival of hundreds of U.S. civilian and military officials charged with implementing assistance programs, undermined cooperation in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and put American lives at risk, according to officials from both countries.

In recent weeks, Pakistan has rejected as “incomplete” at least 180 U.S. government visa requests. Its own ambassador in Washington has criticized what he called a “blacklist” used by the Pakistani intelligence service to deny visas or to conduct “rigorous, intrusive and obviously crude surveillance” of journalists and nongovernmental aid organizations it dislikes, including the Congress-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute.

“It would be helpful if the grounds for action against them are shared with the Embassy,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani wrote in late July to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry and the head of its Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Tension has been fueled by widespread media reports in Pakistan of increased U.S. military and intelligence activity — including the supposed arrival of 1,000 Marines and the establishment of “spy” centers in houses rented by the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Islamabad. U.S. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson has publicly labeled the reports false, and she told local media executives in a recent letter that publishing addresses and photographs of the houses “endanger[s] the lives of Americans in Pakistan.”

At the highest levels, bilateral cooperation is said to be running smoothly. President Obama and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari met Thursday in New York with a gathering of Pakistan’s international “friends.” With Obama’s enthusiastic support, the Senate on Thursday approved a $7.5 billion, five-year package that will triple nonmilitary aid to Pakistan. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, meets regularly with his Pakistani counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani.

But just below the top, officials in Islamabad and Washington say, the relationship is fraught with mutual suspicion and is under pressure so extreme that it threatens cooperation against the insurgents.

“We recognize that Pakistani public opinion on the United States is still surprisingly low, given the tremendous effort by the United States to lead an international coalition in support of Pakistan,” Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said after Thursday’s meetings. “We are a long way from this meeting to realities on the ground.”

As Obama grapples with U.S. military proposals to greatly increase the number of American troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, other options on the table include a stepped-up counterterrorism campaign against al-Qaeda strongholds in Pakistan that would require more — rather than less — Pakistani support.

Recent Pew Research Center surveys in Pakistan found considerable support for the “idea” of working with the United States to combat terrorism. But only 16 percent of Pakistanis polled expressed a favorable view overall of the United States, and only 13 percent expressed confidence in Obama.

Pakistanis, who are extremely sensitive about national sovereignty, oppose allowing foreign troops on their soil and have protested U.S. missile attacks launched from unmanned aircraft against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan.

Much of the recent upheaval has focused on U.S. plans to expand the U.S. Embassy complex in Islamabad, a heavily guarded, 38-acre compound with nearly 1,500 employees, two-thirds of them Pakistani nationals. About 400 employees are to be added, half of them Americans. Reports of the expansion have led to rumors that at least 1,000 Marines also would be arriving, along with new contingents of U.S. spies.

In addition to repeatedly denying ulterior motives, the embassy has held news briefings and invited Pakistani reporters to tour its grounds. Patterson appeared on local television Saturday to reiterate that Washington has no takeover desires and that there are only eight Marines in the country, guarding the main embassy building.

At the highest levels, bilateral cooperation is said to be running smoothly. President Obama and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari met Thursday in New York with a gathering of Pakistan’s international “friends.” With Obama’s enthusiastic support, the Senate on Thursday approved a $7.5 billion, five-year package that will triple nonmilitary aid to Pakistan. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, meets regularly with his Pakistani counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani.

But just below the top, officials in Islamabad and Washington say, the relationship is fraught with mutual suspicion and is under pressure so extreme that it threatens cooperation against the insurgents.

“We recognize that Pakistani public opinion on the United States is still surprisingly low, given the tremendous effort by the United States to lead an international coalition in support of Pakistan,” Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said after Thursday’s meetings. “We are a long way from this meeting to realities on the ground.”

As Obama grapples with U.S. military proposals to greatly increase the number of American troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, other options on the table include a stepped-up counterterrorism campaign against al-Qaeda strongholds in Pakistan that would require more — rather than less — Pakistani support.

Recent Pew Research Center surveys in Pakistan found considerable support for the “idea” of working with the United States to combat terrorism. But only 16 percent of Pakistanis polled expressed a favorable view overall of the United States, and only 13 percent expressed confidence in Obama.

Pakistanis, who are extremely sensitive about national sovereignty, oppose allowing foreign troops on their soil and have protested U.S. missile attacks launched from unmanned aircraft against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan.

Much of the recent upheaval has focused on U.S. plans to expand the U.S. Embassy complex in Islamabad, a heavily guarded, 38-acre compound with nearly 1,500 employees, two-thirds of them Pakistani nationals. About 400 employees are to be added, half of them Americans. Reports of the expansion have led to rumors that at least 1,000 Marines also would be arriving, along with new contingents of U.S. spies.

In addition to repeatedly denying ulterior motives, the embassy has held news briefings and invited Pakistani reporters to tour its grounds. Patterson appeared on local television Saturday to reiterate that Washington has no takeover desires and that there are only eight Marines in the country, guarding the main embassy building.

One of the most vocal critics is security analyst and newspaper columnist Shireen Mazari, praised by supporters as a champion of Pakistan’s independence. Patterson’s Aug. 27 letter to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, head of the media group that owns the News newspaper and Geo Television, complained that Mazari’s column and talk shows had made “wildly incorrect” charges that could endanger Americans’ safety. In particular, Patterson objected to Mazari’s “baseless and inaccurate allegation” that Washington-based Creative Associates International, a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development with offices in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, was a “CIA front-company.”

In a telephone interview Sunday, Mazari said: “I definitely have concerns about the Americans’ intentions here, especially that they would like to get access to our nuclear assets. The U.S. mind-set is suspicious of strong Muslim states, and there is a certain imperial arrogance in their behavior that Pakistanis like me don’t like.”

Many Pakistanis see the United States as the latest in a long line of usurpers. “It’s like history repeating itself, from the time the East India Company came out here,” Mazhar Salim, 52, a phone-booth operator in Islamabad, said last weekend. “We are a Muslim country, and the non-Muslim world, the Americans and the Jews and the Indians, are all threatened by our civilization.”

U.S. and Pakistani officials, who agreed to discuss the relationship on the condition of anonymity, said that much of the anti-Americanism reflected jousting among Pakistani politicians and retired military leaders, who often use the media to discredit one another.

Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador, is a frequent target, accused of being too pro-American or, more recently, even pro-Indian. His letter asking for an explanation of visa denials was leaked to the Indian media, arousing suspicion that a foe of the government had sought to doubly discredit him.

But even those Pakistani officials who allege that the intelligence service has a blacklist say that the delay in issuing official visas is as much the United States’ fault as it is Pakistan’s.

Many more visa applications have been approved than rejected, one official said, and those sent back are “usually the ones without a clear description on the forms about what they’re going to do” in Pakistan. “Sometimes the forms just say ‘work for the U.S. government.’ All we’ve done is returned those forms and said, ‘Hey, what are you going to do?’ “

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8 comments

  1. Hahahahaha,the cartoon is brilliant!

    i think its locking both of its hands in the trap, not just one.


  2. lol!!!! well described uncle sam!
    anti-American sentiment will grow and its better to let them grow! Apart from inside country efforts we need to think about people who are representing pakistan in outside world. In particular the embassy of pakistan in US. haqqani the pro-american, pro Indian mole (courtesy to PKKH) should be kicked out of that seat. But who will kick him out? zardari? ha!! in the past few weeks zardari is busy in spending nation’s money in foreign tours. All he doing is begging! Begging and begging! And now the closest and sincere friend countries are not close any more. They do not trust us any more. The current incapable hands of so called elected (over banazir dead body) government is not reading the minds of pakistaniz. They are losing the hidden defence and friends of Pakistan. “chragh Tale andhera” meaning “just below the lantern – lies the darkness”. Instead of building strong ties with Iran, China and Saudi Arabia, the current government is doing every black and white to get the war on terror collation fund. For goodness sake, look at your economy!!!!!!!!!! Compare GNP of the country with nearest countries like Bangladesh, india and far east nations. We are drowning and drowning fast!!! Americans are drowning and they know this very well but they will take us with them.

    its the time for Pakistan to think again on war on terror. this war is not doing any GOOD to our economy and our nation on masses. it will only benefit zardariz and Co bank accounts with collation fund dollars. Zardari will never give up unless his son or daughter killed in a drone attack. Daily killings of innocent people both in Pakistan and Afghanistan is carrying no weight for them but the creator is watching and It is my firm belief that God will not let this blood go waste.

    blessing to the media in Pakistan which is doing something everyday to open the eyes of sleeping nation. I feel we still need more bold facts and figures about the MNAs and MPAs assets and there wrong doings. Honest to GOD this is only way to stop them from killing this poor nation who is already killed by political crisis, corruption, judge crisis, sugar crisis bla bla bla. I am near to pull my hair out. What the fuck is this!!!!!!!!!!! in 21st century we are still not able to control the basic needs of the people.

    Jag Pakistani Jag


  3. One leg in iraq n other in afghanistan. Wait for fews days u bloody zionist jews n americans. America’s throat will in pakistan’s hand in a matter of time.

    Im nt sure abt the leg in IRAQ bt i can assure u that the leg in Afghsnistan wil b cut into pieces. Thnx for Afghan Taliban commanders as well as ISI n Pak ARMY.


  4. Its high time. Kiyani shud lead the nation and shud urgently cut-off all ties with US in the WAR on TERROR.
    America shud b given only two choices, either to negotiate with TALIBAN n leave Afghanistan or they would expect nuclear power PAKISTAN standing for TALIBAN, which might lead to total collapse of AMERICAN EMPIRE in the world.

    U AMERICANS. Now BEWARE of PAKISTAN n muslims across the world. Time has come PAKISTAN is gonna rise to take lead frm front for muslim world.


  5. Who the hell this bitch “Ann. w Patterson” is, who has written letters to Pakistani “Media Controllers”.


  6. Asalam o Alaikum
    very nice pic. and rightly so. uncle same is stuck and this has happen in past as well a super power doing rubbish every where and at last falls.
    insha-ALLAH we will soon see america down.
    ALLAH Pakistan ka hami o nasir


  7. Hey Salaam,

    Good article, and good pic. in my mind the picture above should be changed from a leg in Iraq, a leg in Afghanistan…To both legs in Afghanistan and both arms in pakistan…. and a spit(to show the slow roasting effect) should be introduced…haha, because lets face it thats what it looks like is happening, The US can’t leave “afpak”(as they call it) and soon it won’t be able to even if it wanted…


  8. Ahmed Quraishi’s article “If fired, Haqqani threatens to unveil ‘reams’ of Pakistan’s secrets” is a prime example of how this journalist is able to twist and manipulate facts in order to provoke hate and anger amongst the Pakistani community. As the title of Quraishi’s article states, it seems that if Ambassador Haqqani were to be removed from his post, he would threaten to disclose Pakistan’s secrets.

    http://ahraza.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/how-ironic-is-ironic/



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