Roots of anti-Americanism in Pakistan

Daily Mail

Robert  Gates was less than candid when he said that anti-Americanism was a real problem for Washington because “We clearly left them in the lurch when we turned our backs on Afghanistan in 1989-90.” The negative public perceptions about the US are based not on any single event, but on past experience spread over decades. It would be simplistic to maintain that only one incident, despite its extraordinary gravity, could have led to the unpopularity of the US in this country. There is a widespread perception that successive US regimes have let down Pakistan, that Washington has behaved more as a master than ally and that whatever promises it makes, when it needs Islamabad’s services, are forgotten once Pakistan has lost importance in its geo-strategic aims. There is also a perception that American policies, influenced by a strong Zionist lobby, have harmed the Muslim world in general. It is a matter of historical record that despite its avowed commitment to democracy, the US has supported one military dictator after another since 1958, as they were considered to be more pliable than an elected government. Washington invariably looked the other way as the people of Pakistan struggled for democracy. Under Ayub, hundreds of people were put behind bars as they fought for the restoration of their democratic rights or protested against several inequities like press censorship, unjust labour laws, the widely unpopular One Unit, and the absence of equal opportunities for the people of East Pakistan.

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