PRIME Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, in a pragmatic manner, has emphasised the need for bridging the trust gap between Pakistan and the United States. Talking to the visiting US Congressional delegation on Tuesday, he said the US administration particularly the Congress needed to be sensitised about the opinion and views of the people of Pakistan in order to pave the way for a long-term strategic partnership based on mutual trust, respect and interests.
In fact, there is a wrong perception in the United States that Pakistanis are genetically anti-American or its media intrinsically hostile to Washington. American leaders, scholars and think tanks have been expressing surprise over their country’s overall image in Pakistan despite economic and military assistance. During her recent visit to Islamabad, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton went to the extent of saying that conspiracy theories and anti-Americanism would not work and that anti-Americanism should be checked. The remarks of the US Secretary of State clearly suggest as if the phenomenon is remote-controlled, which is not the case. We believe that such an analysis is totally wrong and based on misinterpretation of the ground realities. Ever since its inception in 1947, Pakistan has remained a staunch ally of the United States. At times, Pakistan sided with the United States at the cost of its own security and economic interests and earned hostility of the erstwhile super power – Soviet Union — which actively supported India in dismembering Pakistan in 1971. But during such critical times too, the United States extended no worthwhile support to Pakistan neither diplomatically nor strategically to safeguard, at least, its territorial integrity. This is to say that there is absolutely no anti-Americanism in Pakistan but resentment over vague and wrong policies of the United States that have hurt the country’s interests and sentiments of its people deeply. Coming to the prevailing situation, people are not against the United States itself but policies of the neo-cons who are targeting Muslims and Islamic countries everywhere in the world as highlighted by destruction of Iraq, occupation of Afghanistan and destabilisation of Pakistan and the Arab world. American attitude towards Pakistan’s nuclear programme has also been highly discriminatory and the statement of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “we have precise information that America wants to sabotage the Pakistani nuclear facilities” speaks volumes about American intentions and designs and understandable reaction in Pakistan.