Clinton in Pakistan encounters widespread distrust of US

November 1, 2009


By Alex Rodriguez

The discontent is not just from radicals, even college students and respected journalists question Washington’s intentions in Pakistan. Some liken U.S. drone missile strikes to terrorism.

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan –  Every time Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to win over Pakistanis during her three-day charm offensive last week, they fired back a polite but firm message:

We don’t really trust your country.

No matter how hard Clinton tried to reassure audiences in Lahore and Islamabad with talk of providing economic aid where it’s needed most, Pakistanis seized on her visit as the perfect moment to lash out at a U.S. government they perceive as arrogant, domineering and insensitive to their plight.

At a televised town hall meeting in Islamabad, the capital, on Friday, a woman in a mostly female audience characterized U.S. drone missile strikes on suspected terrorist targets in northwestern Pakistan as de facto acts of terrorism. A day earlier in Lahore, a college student asked Clinton why every student who visits the U.S. is viewed as a terrorist.

The opinions Clinton heard weren’t the strident voices of radical clerics or politicians with anti-U.S. agendas. Some of the most biting criticisms came from well-mannered university students and respected, seasoned journalists, a reflection of the breadth of dissatisfaction Pakistanis have with U.S. policy toward their country.

In those voices what rang clear was a sense that Pakistan was paying a heavy price for America’s “war on terror.”

“You had one 9/11, and we are having daily 9/11s in Pakistan,” Asma Shirazi, a journalist with Geo TV, told Clinton during the Islamabad town hall meeting.

Clinton’s visit came at a time when Pakistanis’ suspicions about U.S. intentions in their country are at an all-time high.

A five-year, $7.5-billion aid package to Pakistan recently signed into law by President Obama has stoked much of the animosity. Measures in the legislation aimed at ensuring the money isn’t misspent have been perceived by Pakistanis as levers that Washington can use to exert control over their country.

Pakistanis also continue to be incensed by U.S. reliance on drone missile strikes to take out top Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

The CIA-operated drone strikes have killed at least 13 senior Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal areas in the last 18 months. But Pakistani government and military leaders say the strikes have also killed hundreds of civilians and amount to violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

At the Islamabad town hall meeting, a student from a university in Peshawar, a city shaken by a car bomb blast Wednesday that killed 118 people, summed up the anger over the drone attacks.

“What is actually terrorism in U.S. eyes?” the woman asked. “Is it the killing of innocent people in, let’s say, drone attacks? Or is it the killing of innocent people in different parts of Pakistan, like the bomb blast in Peshawar two days ago? Which one is terrorism, do you think?”

Pressed by the forum’s moderator whether she thought U.S. drone missile strikes were tantamount to terrorism, Clinton answered, “No, I do not.”

On the one occasion when Clinton struck her own assertive tone, the message appeared to get through. Her suggestion to Pakistani journalists in Lahore that elements within the Pakistani government were probably aware of the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leaders but were not acting on the information struck a chord on the opinion pages of major Pakistani newspapers.

“If we are honest, we cannot deny that much of what she said was true,” remarked the English-language daily the News in an editorial that appeared Saturday.

Clinton repeatedly acknowledged the mutual lack of trust that has held back the relationship, and she emphasized the Obama administration’s commitment to addressing crucial issues for Pakistanis that reach beyond terrorism, such as shoring up Pakistan’s beleaguered electricity grid and improving schools and healthcare.

Pakistanis, however, clearly remained unconvinced that Washington was as interested in improving the quality of life in Pakistan as it was in tracking down terrorists. And on several occasions during her trip, Clinton was confronted by Pakistanis who blamed the previous U.S. administration’s policies in Afghanistan for the militancy now wreaking havoc across Pakistan.

“Look, Madam Secretary, we are fighting a war that is imposed on us,” journalist Shirazi told Clinton. “It’s not our war. That was your war, and we are fighting that war.”

Assessments of Clinton’s trip in Saturday’s Pakistani newspapers were gloomy.

“One cannot help feeling that [Clinton’s trip] was an abortive exercise,” remarked an editorial in the Nation, another English-language newspaper, “and she went away fully conscious of that failure.



  1. But the Zionist press in America,has apparently kept its citizens in the dark.

    Associated press,on the contrary,said”Clinton scolds Pakistan”.

    We have to find our own ways to reach American public.Pakistani caucus there should act.

    • Paki, with Hussain Haqqani ther, can v expect any good coming out of the US. He is an American serving their interest, not ours. We need some hardcore guys to promote our interests – not this team, which has interests in the US.

  2. Distrust of the US for what……….. ?

    1. that they would no longer be a trusted partner in the crime, as it was during the Soviet days ?

    2. that they would not provide money and arms without any strings attached ?

    3. that they would not look the other way, when Pakistan uses the terrorists against India and Afghanistan ?

    4. that they would not continue to gang-up against India, and instead improve relations there ?

    • Neel, please go back and drink some more Cow urine. You are wasting your energies here.

      • Yaar i think you meant your nick to be AntiCockroach or AntiMachar or AntiBug or Antislumdog.

    • Tell us to give up Islam and wait for Jesus
      Celebrate Christmas when it’s in season
      Giving us fake leaders and fake reasons
      Divided our people by flags when they meet us
      They want us to pledge to their allegiance
      Pushing us towards treason
      They’ve broke our Ummah into shattered pieces
      Chasing our oil like cheetah
      Raping our resources
      And then they leave us
      Muslims hibernating
      Concentrating on not shaving
      While kafirs have been invading
      Killing and raping
      We have no time to be waiting
      Reestablish Islam and stop faking
      Listen to my Ummah’s cries
      I’m tired of kafir’s lies
      No I won’t compromise
      Staring into the enemies eyes

      • Come on Salman Bhai, rather than indulge in this poetic self-pity, let us accept that it is we Muslims who have allowed them to destroy us. Look at our Country, look at the Arab World all of us cannot do without the Christian or the Jew to set our houses in Order. Show me one Muslim Country that allows true democracy. We have been subjected to the lathi by our own and why blame the the other. Let us set our house in order first and then i am sure there will be no body to blame. Frankly speaking, i am ready to accept that the Indian Muslim is the only one who is truly experiencing Democracy, in this world.

      • @Sarfaraz

        DEMOCRACY IN INDIA?? BULL$H!T …not only according to me but even according to an Indian who states that over 5500 sitting inside the parliament have criminal records, from corruption, fraud, rape etc etc…and India is in NO position to call itself ‘the world’s biggest democracy’

        Yeah nobody can feel democracy like Indian Muslims .. a person who was responsible for killing thousands of Muslims in India is still sitting as a minister of Gujarat! TRUE DEMOCRACY EH?

  3. Neel123,

    Isn’t it an irony that one of Indian swine(Modi) is suffering from swine flu.


    The dis-trust is that Allah says that: O Muslim Beware, Kuffars(Jews,Christians and of course Hindus)will remain your enemy,unless you follow their wrong faiths.

    • There is no conflict in accepting financial and military aid from Kuffars I guess… ?

      • YOu of all people should know the Military Aid is very well utilised for Indian A$$ kicking… LOL!

    • Kuffar are not jews\christians\hindus – kuffar are evil doers. it could be a muslim as well who’s actions are evil.

      Quran makes a muslim to believe in all revealed religions, including hinduism (not its corrupt form like present day Islam), and so anyother religion which is based on a revealed scripture.

      we should be careful to quote Quranic verses in right context.

      • Oh Amna – Thank God for you. We need many more sane people like you in our Country. God Bless.

  4. There are few who believe what they believe, and there are many who believe what other believe. So who is giving aid to whom?

  5. We are dead Nation .

    • For you!

  6. /29/09 1321 hours
    Peshawar: Fomer CIA Intelligence Officer Steven Cash is in charge of Blackwater operations in Peshawar. The Blackwater supervisory team in Peshawar includes James Bill William, Copper, Steven Cash, Roderick Christopher and Alisha Cambel. They have hired several Pakistani government officials and retired army personnel at remunerations as high as $2,000 per day. Various journalists have been approached and offered bribes by these officials to implement the PSYOPs in newspapers and electronic media in Pakistan. They are pushing journalists to publish news stories of Talibans, as the Psychological Operations group of US Army has planned. They are paying as high as $1000 per published news story to journalists. Meetings are held in various houses rented in University Town, Peshawar and residents have reported activities with tinted glasses jeeps during late night hours.

    Steven Cash is a former senior U.S. government official. Mr. Cash served as an Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, first as an Assistant General Counsel, and then with the Directorate of Operations. He also served as Chief Counsel to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and as Minority Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security. From 2001 to 2003 he was a Professional Staff Member and Counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
    Sana Aijazi

  7. Amna,
    I am surprised that you consider Hinduism as a revealed religion.It is a Mythology(Asateer ul Awwaleen).

    The Quranic Verse I mentioned is Surah 2:Ayah 120.

    I stated the message conveyed in this Ayah,not a verbatim translation and have rightly included Hindus

    • Paki – Amna is right. True Hinduism, like ‘true’ Islam is a ‘way of life’. You need to read and also understand the Bhagwad Gita to know this. It is people like you who have interpreted Islam to suit your methods. Give her a break, we need more sane voices like her in this Country of ours.

  8. Sarfraz
    Instead of preaching for Gitas,please answer one simple question.Have you read the Ayah 120 of Surah 2 and its translation and the Wisdom behind this Revelation.
    Please keep yourself resricted to this question.Rest will be insanity.

    • What wisdom are you lecturing me about. It is because of guys like u – we are what we are and are where we are. I am not preaching about the Gita – i am informing you that we have to accept that there are other Religions/Faiths too and must learn how to respect them or else we will continue to be in this self-destruct mode that we Muslims are in at the moment. Let us be real man.

  9. Still my question is un-answered.Why some ‘Muslims ‘are shy of reading Quran,but advise people to read other books.

    • @Paki
      I think this Amna is the same person who said ‘Hazrat Issa a.s was ‘crucified’ and not raised to heaven’.

  10. @IM,

    If so,no wonder she has reacted that way.

    The topic was trust deficit and the quoted Ayah fits 100%.There was no question of insulting others’ faith.

    I would just like to close the issue here but my belief remains as stated.

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