News / Asia

Experts Say Anti-American Sentiment in Pakistan at All-Time High

Pakistani militants
Pakistani militants

Multimedia

The U.S.-Pakistan partnership is critical in addressing global terrorist threats.  But the partnership is threatened, experts say, by anti-American sentiment, at an all-time high in Pakistan.  Even as the U.S. steps up its economic and military aid, average Pakistanis continue to blame their country's woes on Washington.

U.S. drone attacks on militants in Pakistan's tribal areas, the ineffective U.S. aid program and U.S. support for controversial generals, experts say, have generated widespread anti American feeling in Pakistan.

They say U.S. support for generals behind military coups has historically been responsible for anti-American sentiment among Pakistan's people.  

Pakistanis believe the U.S. has been using Pakistan's army to achieve its own objectives like, for example, in Afghanistan.  

Another view is that the U.S. is making a special effort to appease Pakistan's military.  The reason:  Pakistan's army  felt abandoned when the U.S. lost interest in the region following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.



Former Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin says anti-U.S. feeling began with American support for President General Zia ul Haq in 1979.   

"It was during Zia's time that he not only overthrew the government and executed a popular elected populist President [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto, but he also invited the Wahabis in from the Gulf in order to counter the Shia revivalism that he feared coming in from Iran," she said.

Zahid Ebrahim of the National Emdowment for Democracy says two decades later, U.S. support for General Pervez Musharraf revived anti-U.S. feeling.  

"Especially in his last few years, when he was deeply unpopular," he said. "I think that affected the Pakistani sentiment in terms of how it looked at the U.S.."

Ebrahim says conspiracy theories - about the U.S. - are rife.  

"The U.S. has legitimate concern regarding the safety of Pakistan's nuclear program," he said. "Now that gets mutated into a conspiracy theory where the U.S. wants to roll back Pakistan's nuclear program."

Pakistani governments use these theories to stoke fear and unify the people, says Ayesha Siddiqa at Johns Hopkins University.     

"By creating monsters, imaginary Frankensteins, by creating images which then connect people," she said. "Unfortunately in this state that is not a nation, security is the only product which the state sells outside and inside."

She says Pakistan needs an "alternate narrative".

"Which talks of democracy, which talks about the rights of the people, which talks about emancipation at various levels is highly important," she said.

Another issue: experts say American aid is not reaching the people it's meant for.

Ambassador Chamberlin says U.S. aid should go directly to Pakistani communities, not through the government.  

"And it will build trust because we are saying we don't know the answers, YOU know the answers," she said.

Experts say Pakistan's expanding electronic media is having an impact on people's views.

The same media that in 2005 showed U.S. helicopters distributing aid to earthquake victims in remote areas of Pakistan, are now showing drone attacks on al-Qaida and Taliban militants every day - alongside civilian casualties.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid