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

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid