News / USA

Tumultuous Year Strains US-Pakistani Relations

Ayaz Gul

Pakistan and the United States have maintained a critical strategic partnership for the past 10 years despite tense relations over the war in Afghanistan and U.S. suspicions that Islamabad maintains ties to militant groups.

But the past year was a particularly difficult one for the two uneasy allies.

The deterioration of an already-fragile relationship began in January,  when police in Lahore arrested, Raymond Davis, a civilian contractor working for the Central Intelligence Agency, for killing two Pakistanis.

Davis claimed “self defense” and was ultimately released.  But the incident unleashed public criticism against the Pakistani government over its oversight of CIA contractors.

Before the rift had healed, U.S. special forces conducted a unilateral raid and killed fugitive al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, a Pakistani garrison city.

The covert raid in May plunged the relationship to a new low. Outraged Pakistani leaders, like Pakistan's foreign secretary Salman Bashir, criticized it as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.

“The fact is that the Pakistani armed forces, they had not been consulted, they were not in the know," said Bashir.

For their part, U.S. officials questioned how the world’s most-wanted man was able to evade detection for years, living near a large Pakistani military base.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Islamabad days after the Abbottabad operation to tell Pakistan the way forward for both countries was to step up joint efforts against terrorism.

"The United States and Pakistan have worked together to kill or capture many of these terrorists here on Pakistani soil," said Clinton. "This could not have been done without close cooperation between our governments, our militaries, and our intelligence agencies. But we both recognize there is still much more work required and it is urgent."

The powerful Pakistani military came under intense pressure at home for failing to detect both the presence of the al-Qaida leader and the U.S. raid that killed him.

In response, the Pakistani army ordered U.S. military trainers to leave Pakistan and tightened visa restrictions on U.S. staff.  American officials in turn linked billions of dollars of financial assistance to improved cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

In late November, the relationship suffered another blow when NATO air strikes on Pakistani border posts killed 24 soldiers.  Pakistan closed its borders to supplies for the U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan, expelled American personnel from an air base used for drone attacks, and boycotted an international conference held in Germany to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said parliament is now reviewing the country’s cooperation with the United States.

“I think one of the major reasons why this year has been a bad year is because there are too many gray areas in this relationship.”

Cameron Munter, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, agreed with Khar's assertion that 2011 has been a very difficult year.

“The best way for us to deal the difficulties we have had is to be honest with each other to try to have more engagement, not less. to work together to discuss the problems we have and to see that 2012 will be better,” Munter said.

Despite the tense political situations throughout the year, educational and cultural programs have continued in an attempt to bridge the differences through more personal interactions.

But whether this kind of public diplomacy outreach can overcome the two countries' deep political conflicts remains uncertain.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid