Oct 30, 2009 - religion, USA    22 Comments

Pakistan and US: the unholy matrimony? *

Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami in particular, have always had a problem or two with USA and its meddling ways in Pakistan. Whether it is linking the terror strikes in USA to Pakistan’s tribal belt (which was proved yesterday when passport of one of the terrorists involved in 9/11 – a member of Hamburg cell – was found by Pakistan armed forces in South Waziristan – detailed reports can be found here and here) or the infamous Kerry Lugar Bill and reigning in of military establishment through it, Pakistanis bemoan the US presence and its wily ways in every development.
While reading today’s newspapers, I noticed that Pakistan is not far behind as far meddling in US affairs is concerned. Not only do we meddle with impunity, we also whine a lot and beg for assistance without shame. For instance, during the meeting with Prime Minister Gilani Secretary Clinton apparently called him a ‘magician’ (the jury is still out whether it was a compliment or an insult). All PM Gilani could do in response to being called a master of political wizardry was request for stepping up support for financial problems, the early payments of the dues out of the accounts of terrorism compensation funds and the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
I fail to understand why Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan in particular are so hung up on the release of Aafia Siuddiqui. What irritates me even more is that she is called “Quam ki beti” (Daughter of the nation) when she is not even holding a Pakistani passport. She is an American citizen who was found involved in activities against her country and US has every right to try one of their own citizens, but Pakistanis must not only meddle, they must also do it at the top of their lungs. Perhaps Imran Khan and Jamat-i-Islami call her Qaum ki beti for being involved in money transfers for Al Qaida and endangering the life of her under age children by exposing them to terrorists in Afghanistan when they could have stayed with their father in a much more secure environment in Karachi?
Do we hear American government whine like we do? No, we don’t. During her recent trip to Pakistan, all we got from Secretary Clinton were some bitter home truths. She showed annoyance with Pakistani officials’ inability to nab the Al-Qaida top brass. ‘I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,’ she added.
She also criticized Pakistanis for slamming the non military aid bill and said that Pakistanis do not pay taxes and raise funds locally to invest in public services, health and education and when someone else does, they create ruckus. She also pointed out that the percentage of taxes on GDP in Pakistan is among the lowest in the world.
She also expressed concern about Pakistan’s huge population – 180 million people and counting – and said that unless Pakistani government starts planning for this challenge, the projected 300 million populations will need the resources that no one will be able to assist them with.
While we are meddling in US affairs by asking for the release of a shady character like Aafia Siddiqui, the US Secretary has uncovered some home truths for us. Unless we tackle all these issues and more, everyone with 5$ to spare will come and tell us what to do and we will have to oblige them. The thing is, we have proved, time and again, that we need someone to keep us in line and that we cannot manage to take care of the business of running a state. Pakistani elite desperately want US to meddle so that they can blame the chaos on someone else. Its been 38 years’ since Bangladesh cessation, but I still hear some Pakistanis who lament the fact that US marine did not arrive when we needed its help most, all the hue and cry is only for public consumption.
* Secretary Clinton likened relations between Pakistan and US to a tumultuous marriage but she was also at pains to point out that the US does not want a divorce.
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22 Comments

  • I stand totally with you on Dr. Afia stance – it doesn’t take even a thorough investigation to figure that the lady WAS infact linked to Alqaeda. She was involved in money laundering & before that in diamond smuggling – all for the cause of Al –Qaida.
    The sister has constantly been giving unbelievable statements and is often seen hanging around with really shady characters.
    I am not saying torturing her in an allmen jail for years was right – but I do not think we are obliged to fight her case simply cause she happened to be ‘born’ in Pakistan. She has been working for a cause which in turn has been responsible for the death and destruction of thousands of innocents and I truthfully, do not support the prevalent public sentiment that holds her as a sacred poor victim of the Americans.
    And as for the Kerry-Lugar bill debate – I think the reaction on this bill is nothing but beghairti on the part of Pakistani leaders & awam. If the politicians have issues with the conditions that come with the bill, why are they asking JUST for the conditions to be removed instead of denying the aid outright? After the last installment of the IMF aid, HIna Rabbani actually admitted that there was no immediate need or even plan to spend the money, and we have borrowed millions of dollars ‘just in case’ we need them. With ministers who are not ashamed to publicly and proudly admit such goofs, I have so far failed to understand why shouldn’t the US work for it’s own interest when everything & everybody in Pakistan is begging to be exploited.

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    Let me tell you that I am very impressed by the fact that you mentioned overpopulation. As far as I know mentioning this seems to be a kind of taboo. Still I am convinced that the movie “Soylent Green” is already a reality in some 3rd World countries.

    Georg

  • I would definitely need to know a solid and concrete proof about her involvement in any illegal activities. US has implicated too many people in the war against terror.

    Though anything is possible but why a foreign educated woman would do money laundering for Al-Qaeda is beyond me?

    Anyway, you make sense that since she’s a US citizen she should be tried there.

  • I am a regular reader of this blog and an admirer of your writing. However I cant help differing from view expressed in this post.

    > I fail to understand why Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan in particular are so hung up on the release of Aafia Siuddiqui.

    … and what I fail to understand is why Pakistanis in general should not hang up on the release of Aafia Siddiqui and to fight her case. Had she been a born US citizen and later migrated to Pakistan and got citizenship and then Pakistani forces abducted her for four years without anyone knowing about whether she is dead or alive and suddenly after four years she is produced in court, tortured and in dubious mental health, do you think United States would just ignore and forget her?

    Secondly she is NOT convicted so calling her terrorist is pure injustice, in my eyes. There has been numerous cases where persons were actually arrested, flown all over to guantanamo bay and then were released after 1/2/3 years because nothing was proved against them. Therefore how can you trust all those charges that are framed against Aafia are true. Thirdly do not forget she was abducted from Karachi – no law – international or local allow such thing to happen and therefore civil society has all the more reason to protest against this.

    Further..
    US has airbases, command centers and military installations all over the world, including countries like Germany and S.Korea. And trust me, they haven’t leased their territory to US out of friendship – they charge them and they charge heavily. Secondly US allocates billions of dollars to Israel, Egypt etc. every year and no one in those countries thinks of that aid as alms or something as that is supposed to be a price of being an ally to the United States. So I fail to understand at one end we want to remain as key US ally but when it comes to asking price of being an ally – our self-esteem goes to such heights that we even don’t charge them properly for those services – and that despite the fact that our economy has suffered billions of dollars due to this war on terror in Bush-era and as a result of being front-line ally.

    I agree on increasing our tax base and improving our economy management – though I fail to understand sanity behind connecting it with KL bill discussion by Secretary of state.

  • //I fail to understand why Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan in particular are so hung up on the release of Aafia Siuddiqui. What irritates me even more is that she is called “Quam ki beti” (Daughter of the nation) when she is not even holding a Pakistani passport.//

    Tazeen, very courageous indeed. I commend you for retaining your rationality and skepticism even in the face of an over-played sensationalism of Dr. Afia.

    I am not saying that the Americans treat their citizens right, especially if they’re connected or linked to terrorism. But who says that all Muslim terrorists are not Americans? In fact, there are american muslim terrorists and suspects that are being tried in the US under their civil laws. Furthermore,it also becomes a matter of American soverignty should an outsider come in and start dictating them against their convicts. If Pakistan doesn’t see anything wrong with its demanding for the release of Dr. Siddiqi then why the hell are we raising hue and cry when America is said to be meddling into our soverign affairs?

    Besides, This Qom ki American Beti Dr. Afia is not the one who should be spared of a shady character. She is also said to have faked her mental condition just so to evade appearing in court before her district session’s judge. A team of experts confirmed of this.

    ““sufficient present ability to consult with her lawyers with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and she also has a rational as well as a factual understanding of the proceedings against her,”

    The question rises, that if she is not involved in terrorism, then why the hell did she fake it to avoid going to the court?

  • @ Ali… regarding your point about the air bases – those countries are charging U.S. because they are openly & structurally letting U.S. use their air bases. It is not considered charity because they are out rightly charging for a service they are providing.
    And as far as I know, Pakistan is not openly involved in any such deals with U.S. The government & the establishment would have to face a terrible public outage if a formal deal was made regarding the use of Pakistani bases.
    Yeah, they ARE using our bases nonetheless – but hey, this is not a utopian world, if you have deliberately put yourself into a position like this, how can you expect a super power not to use it to its advantage.
    Secondly, even if you keep calling this a U.S. war – and keep portraying Pakistan as a poor hapless country forced into becoming an ally – the fact remains that the terrorists / Taliban DO have a strong hold here – and our institutions have strengthened them for decades, deliberately. And they DO pose a much greater threat to Pakistan than they do to the United States. We might have been forced to take sides after Bush’s ‘with us or with them’ ultimatum, but if we had any sense we would have taken our position way before this menace grew so strong.
    Thirdly, even if the aid could actually be called a ‘fair price’ to cover the cost of war – you do know just how much they have already invested and how much of that went straight to the pockets of head honchos of the establishment?
    With a corruption record like ours, why do you blame anybody for wanting to keep a check?

  • @ Ali… regarding your point about the air bases – those countries are charging U.S. because they are openly & structurally letting U.S. use their air bases. It is not considered charity because they are out rightly charging for a service they are providing.
    And as far as I know, Pakistan is not openly involved in any such deals with U.S. The government & the establishment would have to face a terrible public outage if a formal deal was made regarding the use of Pakistani bases.
    Yeah, they ARE using our bases nonetheless – but hey, this is not a utopian world, if you have deliberately put yourself into a position like this, how can you expect a super power not to use it to its advantage.
    Secondly, even if you keep calling this a U.S. war – and keep portraying Pakistan as a poor hapless country forced into becoming an ally – the fact remains that the terrorists / Taliban DO have a strong hold here – and our institutions have strengthened them for decades, deliberately. And they DO pose a much greater threat to Pakistan than they do to the United States. We might have been forced to take sides after Bush’s ‘with us or with them’ ultimatum, but if we had any sense we would have taken our position way before this menace grew so strong.
    Thirdly, even if the aid could actually be called a ‘fair price’ to cover the cost of war – you do know just how much they have already invested and how much of that went straight to the pockets of head honchos of the establishment?
    With a corruption record like ours, why do you blame anybody for wanting to keep a check?

  • I never had much of an opinion of Hillary; but her conduct in and observations of Pakistan are spot on.

    That being said, seeing the strategic importance of Pakistan purely from a logistical standpoint – one would be more cognizant of the internal conflicts of the country and how best to appropriate aid. It seems counter-intuitive that the meager amount of disbursed aid just compounds some of the bitter divides of the country.

  • You said it! But the problem is voices like this will never be taken seriously. Any such voices that speak in favour of the US or against someone in Pakistan are immediately perceived as anti-national.

  • Hi Tazeen, Aafia Siddiqui hasn’t been convicted of anything up until now. It’s pretty clear, at least to me, that she was renditioned by Pakistani and US authorities in 2003 to Bagram from Pakistan like hundreds (if not thousands) of other Muslims, from Pakistan and other countries, were after 9/11. Her being picked up last year seems, at least to me, to be yet another made up pretext to send her to the US. If her lawyer proves that she was in Boston and not in Liberia back in 2001 (see Who’s Afraid of Aafia Siddiqui? http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/whos_afraid_of_aafia_siddiqui/ ) then the case — which so far looks to me like a case of guilt by association at most — will fall apart. Whatever certain politicians in your country are currently saying and/or doing and whether Aafia has, or doesn’t have, a Pakistan passport right now is really beside the point. The woman’s case, if for no other reason because of the allegations of torture against her, would be highly suspect no matter what country she came from.

  • why jamaat and Imran khan do it? Because they know these are the rirdculous points which are very important for pakistanis. Once I read an essay of Zaid Hamid, ‘Pakistan aik ishq aik iqin’. and in this article the story move around how beghairat pakistanis are, there women were abducted by hindus during partition and they don’t want to fight against India. He was much sure that someday pakistani flag will be at Dehli’s Lal Qila. Women are the part of our ghairat’s symbol. And who can be more ghairatmand than Imran Khan and Jamaat Islami.

  • finally. a pakistani with sane views on the aafia-baji issue.

    @ali – you may be right. but even if all of that were true and she were just another innocent victim – the pakistani government still looks extremely idiotic demanding her release when what they’re doing to her is something we’ve been doing to our own people since long before the taliban were even in the picture.

  • Firstly, I’m a Canadian with a very UNINFORMED understanding of Pakistan and Pakistani opinion – so please be gentle with me if I’ve grossly misunderstood the situation.

    However, notwithstanding my ignorance – and offering my opinion anyway – I think many Pakistanis are rightly confused – and often much offended – by America. After the Russian invasion of Afghanistan the short sighted Americans supported Islamic fundamentalists there because they felt that “the enenmy of my enemy is my firend.” During this period the US supported Pakistani efforts to supply those fighting the Russians. After Pakistan had invested much money and emotion in building a rapport with these fighters 9/11 happened and America went (to quote an American idiom) ape shit. America then ORDERED Pakistan to support its upcomming war against Al qaeda or else. America has enough bombs, and was at that time so seriously pissed off, that Pakistan agreed to help in return for billions in aid – which Pakistan then either stole or used to equip the army to be ready to fight India (this Pakistani obsession with India – which India reciprocates seems quite absurd from my view).

    So here we are, Islamic fundamentalism has turned into an Islamic death machine – a ghastly perversion whose main target seems to be muslims in whatever country they may be. Ironically, most of the world finds itself on America’s side – NOT BECAUSE OF AMERICA – but because Islamic Terrorism is – well – Terrorism. And terrorism deserves to be defeated where ever in the world it raises it’s sordid head.

    So my point is Pakistan has a right to be confused – but forget America – get on with cleaning up your own little breeding ground in the border mountains and once that is finished – good luck, because given your economic, cultural, religious, political, demographic and other challenges – you’ll need all the luck you can get!

    May peace come – sometime – please.

  • I agree with most of the points you cited.
    However, when Hillary says that Pakistan has failed to identify and tackle Al-Qaeda top brass in Pakistan, this is quite some bullshit! Perhaps it was time Americans should shut up and let the army do its job which it is, at the cost of many deaths daily and a reign of terror extended over the whole of Pakistan.
    And their loud-mouth claims are also slammed by the fact that their side of the border in Afghanistan hasn’t been secured to date! Their drones have had misguided hits, killing innocents and positioning public opinion against them.
    It’s true at one hand Pakistan needs US money and at the other hand, it whines over KLB – that’s wrong! However, if US officials think they can feed us again with the same, ol’ shit of ‘do more’, they should be confronted on that one (And I hope someone better would confront them than the bloody moronic TV channel anchors -_-“)

  • If all Pakistanis paid their taxes we wouldn’t need US aid. In the UK tax evasion is concerned a serious crime, and rightly so. Without these tax receipts we won’t have our welfare state for instance, paying correct tax should be considered a civic duty in Pakistan..yes and pigs will fly!

  • Dont know why Hilary Clinton was so miffed at Pak not being able to locate Al-Qaida-the US has been searching for bin Laden (hence the purpose of the war in Afghanistan) and they’ve come up with diddly squat.

    Perhaps they dont want him to be found.

  • Truly said…we need to do some house cleaning of our own before trying to meddle with issues such as the Aafia Siddiqui one, which as you rightly point out is really not a Pakistan issue to begin with. Why should the US or any other country care about what’s happening in Pakistan? They dont bear the brunt of what’s happening so they can voice niceties or jab daggers , either ways there is no constructive outcome to that so why need we rivet our attention on that. Instead ‘house cleaning’ should be the to agenda for us and it should be an indigenous one so that the blame game does not come into play at all.
    A brave post Tazeen.

  • @Tazeen:Just because she is an “American” Pakistani thus she should not be given justice or one should not protest against the violence?

    You re really a racist b itch. No wonder a woman does not need a man as foe while there are crooks like you present in society.

    @Ibetda: thanks for being an in-house detective. Do you work for CIA or what?

    have you ever bothered to read the entire story about afia? do you believe that a woman like afia can kill 4/5 strong AMericn Marines in a go? if that is the case then Americans must hide in their bins that they can’t even face a woman let alone Talibans

  • みんなで楽しめるHチェッカー!簡単な設問に答えるだけであなたの隠されたH度数がわかっちゃいます!あの人のムッツリ度もバレちゃう診断を今すぐ試してみよう

  • Does anyone have a link to a reference that states Dr Aafia holding an American passport (as opposed to only holding US resident status)?

    cheers

  • Can anyone provide a link stating Aafia Siddiqui to be holding US citizenship (and not just US residency)?

    This following comes close but I’m hoping to looking at another source to be certain.

    http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53918&Itemid=2

  • I guess you’ve some personal feud again Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

    For your kind information, she is neither a US national nor holds dual nationality. She is a Pakistan national.

    This can be found on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

    http://www.mofa.gov.pk/Spokesperson/2008/Aug/Spokes_21_08_08.html

    Hence, all your theory that Pakistan is uselessly interfering in US’s affairs is flawed. Period!

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