Pakistan’s love-hate relationship with the US

Published: October 13, 2011

Once upon a time what united Pakistanis was hatred against India. Now the nation has set its sights higher: it is now the US that brings out the worst passions in us. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Once upon a time what united Pakistanis was hatred against India. Now the nation has set its sights higher: it is now the US that brings out the worst passions in us. India has quietly receded to the background despite the fact that it is busy building dams on rivers allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty and is massively upgrading its army’s arsenal.

On the other hand, the US, which has come to our aid every time we started a needless conflict, has become enemy number one. Had the US not forced India to cease fire during the 1965, 1971 and 1999 conflicts, as well as the 2001 and 2008 standoffs, the consequences for Pakistan could have been disastrous.

Added to this is the fact that the US is Pakistan’s largest donor. It is one of the biggest markets for our exports and one of the major sources of our remittances.

And we are ready for the sake of a few thankless Afghans to take on the might of the US, never mind the negative impact that it may have on our economic well-being and international reputation. For those who think that without the Haqqani network and other Taliban outfits, we will lose our toehold in Afghanistan to India, let me assure them that we already have. Just as in the past, the Haqqanis and other armed Afghan outfits being pampered by us today will turn against us tomorrow.

During the days of Taliban-run Afghanistan, the war-ravaged country became a sanctuary to the most hardened sectarian terrorist outfits that had killed countless numbers of our innocent Shiite and non-Muslim countrymen. Every time Pakistan would ask the Taliban to expel them, they would refuse, citing the Pashtunwali code. The Haqqanis, who today are linked to Pakistan, will do exactly the same tomorrow.

If Pakistan does not withdraw support for the Haqqani network, it will surely become an international pariah, and the day would not be far when its name would be taken with the likes of North Korea and Syria.

Amna Lone

Amna Lone

A sub-editor for The Express Tribune’s editorial pages.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://USA Thomas

    Amna Lone,
    Very good and unbiased and factually correct article from a Pakistani conlumnist, which is rare. I congragulate you but also worry about the harsh reactions you are going to receive. There is no way for Pakistan to survive other than friendly relations with U.S, Afghanistan, and India. Enemity (or fear, I have no rational explanation for Pak’s behaviour) with India has been the hallmark of the people of Pakistan for over 60 years. It is time to have the epipheny that Pakistan can’t do much to India, and India has gotten much stronger and it will do so increasingly as time goes on. It is imperative that Pakistan change its course and become a respectful neighbour in the region. Pakistan or its people aren’t superior to anyone or anything and has been proven time and time again. Not superior warriors, superior thinkers and so forth and earlier the land of the pure digs you heads out of the sand, it will be better for you guys. No one cares about your macho attitude. So my advise to Pakistan and pakistanis is ” grow up!!!”Recommend

  • Rational Mind

    Devil’s advocateRecommend

  • faraz

    The problem is not just the Haqqani group but over 3 dozen militant groups with over 500,000 members that we nurtured during past 3 decades. If army attacks Haqqani, these other strategic assets will increase their terrorist activities. Our army lacks the ability to tackle its own strategic assetsRecommend

  • narayana murthy


    treaties are ample complicated. For mere mortals like you and me…it would require years of study to understand a single treaty. So, what qualifies you to be an expert on water sharing treaties?

    I’m not. And believe me, I am (or rather was) a software engineer (which only means, I have good understanding and analytical thinking), who wrote codes and traveled around the world.

    I only hope that you have done enough research on that particular point.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Your article reads well, its logic is straight forward and simple. Possibly that is exactly why it will be dismissed because these relationships are much more complex than as portrayed by you.Recommend

  • Doctor

    Why can’t we write one article without pseudo-logic being used to hate India? The author would be well served to understand that India is exercising its rights fairly under the water treaties. Recommend

  • Malik

    A very childish analysis … I agree with Pervaiz as the situation is not as simple as it is described by Amna … Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    The only threat to Pakistan comes from the Jihadis within its borders and those invited from across the borders. The country that was armed by the Americans and often fed by them too is suddenly flexing its muscles at its benefactor. Globally there is now a strong belief that financial incentives will not work and newer strategies have to be crafted to stall the onslaught of Terror. Sacrificing the country for the sake of a few lawless Afghans reflects an amazing deterioration in the mental faculties of the policy makers.
    Megalomania can be destructive ! Recommend

  • bangash

    you are absolutely correct.Recommend

  • Ali

    In pic the guys who are burning American flag, I just swear if they were offer to have FREE AMERICA VISA.. by next day they all will be line up next to the door of American embassy to have visa of America.. i feel their emotions are totally fake just for the sake of some money in thr pockets.Recommend

  • Just saying

    Amna, you are absolutely correct. Pakistan is one nation which never learns its lesson. And its a hypocrite country. All the people chanting Anti US slogans, even the mullahs are probably even sending their kids to study there. ‘Jis thaali se khaana ussi mein chhaid karna’ is our motto.Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    Pakistan should look towards improving relations with U.S. and also changing public perception.Recommend

  • Moise

    I love US now after reading this article. Thank you.Recommend

  • Fr

    Time and time again, I read articles in Pakistani newspapers where it is stated that “Anti India” or ‘Hate India” feelings unite the people of Pakistan. This is written in English language newspapers by educated and cosmopolitan sounding young people. It is as common and as accepted as saying or hearing “I love cricket”.
    I think most people in India are unaware of the negative feelings most Pakistanis have about them. At least they are unaware of the steadiness and depth of this emotion.
    I think in India, talk of Pakistan comes up only in context of any recent terrorist sounding incident that may have occurred. Otherwise, Pakistan is just another neighbor. I do admit the 24×7 news channels in India try to have some sensational items related to Pakistan; But in common society talk of Pakistan (good or bad) is absent.
    BTW, I am a NGO worker who has spent a few decades in the region.Recommend

  • Ali Noor

    @et: seriously just because i called the guys morons for burning the wrong flag, you wouldnt publish my post :( Recommend

  • DesiMangoMan

    @Fr: true..Many of my frndz who checked Pakistani newspapers for the first time were shocked at the out pour of “Indian Hatred”.I do agree that u find sum articles and tv shows in india that are anti-pak but definitely not like this , I have been following the Pak dailies&news channels for sumtime and rarely did a day passed with out reading/watching an anti-india article/tv show..:(Recommend

  • Kolya

    I feel I must say sorry to those Pakistanis who like the writer wish to break off with the forces of militant Islam used as proxies. It’s late in the day, after 10 years of war I don’t think the USA thinks that the people ruling Pakistan can make this switch. So pretty soon the USA will move to a posture of containment towards Pakistan. Hopefully this will limit the export of terror from Pakistan to the outside world. Recommend

  • Sitting Duck

    @Amna Lone : At first when I saw the topic, I confess I was prejudiced that this is just another love hate chit chat between Pakisan and USA. But I am pleasantly surprise that you gave a precise gist of the situation and perfectly concise history of Pakistan’s current state. For that I Thank You for contributing here. Your words may not be agree but certainly will leave an impression to even the ones who disagree with you. I am an Indian and irrespective what my Pakistani friends would like to believe, I sincerely hop for peaceful and stable Pakistan. And some day I hope to see the border more transparent and people more closer to each other and that we could celebrate traditions, cricket , movies whatever is common or not common between us. Ameen!!Recommend

  • afroze

    USA the enemy in friends clothes. Recommend

  • afroze

    childish analysis without FACTS.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Fr and @ DesiMangoMan

    Hating India is Pakistan’s raison d’etre. So there is no room for ‘being surprised’.Recommend

  • Khalid

    withdrawing support of Haqqani network. Pakistan should realize the fact the foreign policy dynamics have changed. The world is no more in the 1980s. Afghanistan is no longer the backyard of Pakistan. Pakistan and US are strategic partners. they should realize it and reach a compromise to end this war.Recommend

  • Silent Observer

    In my opinion, the people of Pakistan will not tolerate foreign hegemony. On the basis of the self-same logic, the people of Pakistan would never agree to an internal hegemony. The two hegemonies compliment each other. If our people meekly submit to internal hegemony, they will have to submit to external hegemony. This is so because the strength and power of external hegemony is far greater than that of internal hegemony. If the people are too terrified to resist the weaker force, it is not possible for them to resist the stronger force. The acceptance of or acquiescence in internal hegemony means submission to external hegemony.Recommend

  • Reluctant Fundamentalist

    According to “International Relations”, there is no permanent friend or enemy on the global stage; today’s friend can be tomorrow’s enemy and vice versa.Recommend

  • Ahsan Nisar

    As much as I will like to say that we are free, independent and sovereign state and people, the fact of the matter is that we are not. The sooner we realize it, the better.

    I will not blame the US or any other so-called super-power for all of our problems and ills. We must develop the guts and the grit ‘to call spade a spade’ and look deep down into our own hearts, souls and minds before blaming anybody else.

    If the US is attacking our land and people in the name of the so-called ‘war on terror’ it is only because of our feeble and weak leadership. If the US is doing what it wants in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, nobody else but we as a nation and its so-called ’servant leadership’ is to be blamed.

    We must understand that the US and all other countries work only for their ‘own vested interest’ in the guise of ‘national interest’ and as long as we don’t do the same, we will not be able to become a real ‘free and independent state’

    Nevertheless, I can still see some light at the end of the tunnel. Pakistani people, by which I mean ordinary Pakistanis like you and me, are hard-working, patriotic, understanding, intelligent and pretty smart people. If we can be successful overseas, why not in our own land? It is these people of the land of the pure that I consider as the greatest asset of Pakistan and come what may, they will keep on trying to make their ‘each tomorrow’ better than today.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Islamic Republic of Pakistan is an independent country, which means that we are fully capable to take care of our needs, self reliant and complacent like Islam teaches us to be. We do not rely on shortcuts for realization of our needs. By the grace of our Creator, we have been seasoned to work hard and achieve the impossible. The elite on powerful positions do not in anyway represent the opinion of general public. In their sinister yet sadly successful efforts, public is kept so busy in their basic problems that they never really get to question them on where was the foreign aid money utilized and why was it even asked for in the first place?

    The financial aid will not do us any good, since more than this amount already stays in the bank accounts of some of our narcissistic leaders, who occupy the ‘seats’ but are indifferent towards the distress of the majority. Through this blog, I urge Americans to ask their government whether the aid packages it sends is really helping us or are they helping our government with their lifestyles and luxuries? They should leave the treachery of aiding us on the face and stabbing us at our backs. I think it’s high time to let US know that we are not beggars! Our leaders may be but we are NOT! It’s time to let them know that we will not tolerate any foreign interventions, in any form whatsoever at all. Recommend