Columns / Discourse / September 28, 2011

World Politics Corner: Pakistan’s problems

Since US intelligence monitored and then killed Osama Bin Laden in a compound near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, relations between the two countries have reached new odds.

The United States has started reconsidering its aid and efforts diplomatically with Pakistan because of doubts it has about Pakistan’s government and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s Intelligence agency, possibly supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Pakistan insists it was not aiding the groups, and that any “negative messaging” done by the US in reference to Pakistan will make it harder to sell the efforts to Pakistani people.

Currently, US favorability in Pakistan is at a new low because of the accusations the US has made against Pakistan, in addition to the drone attacks and placating Pervez Musharraf, the highly unpopular former President/dictator of Pakistan whom was seen in Pakistan as a Washington puppet.

Pakistan’s own government under the People’s Party is also not in good standing with the country’s people when the hope for change after the ousting of Musharraf was quickly met with the reality that for ordinary Pakistanis nothing changed.

Another factor that must be included is the effects of the flood last year. After the recent flood in Pakistan leaving many homeless, the slow reaction of the Pakistani Government and prolonged effects of the flood add another tension for the citizens and their government.

Yusuf Reza Gilani, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan has called on the United States to stop accusing Pakistan and the ISI of wrong doing because it sparks anti-Americanism in Pakistanis.

While anti-Americanism is a problem in Pakistan, a much bigger problem for Gilani and the rest of the government is their unpopularity. With rising accusations that Pakistan’s ISI and government is being hijacked by the Haqqani group, the government of Pakistan loses its legitimacy. So if they try to sell to the people this idea that the United States is their ally, and the drones are necessary, the people will naturally resist the idea because their government is not reliable, so why would their supposed allies be?

At the same time, the United States is considering expanding its drone attacks in Pakistan, a move that would be highly unpopular in Pakistan and further strain the ties between Pakistani people and their government.

Rana Tahir
Rana Tahir is a political columnist for The Knox Student, primarily covering international issues. She will graduate in June 2013 with degrees in political science and creative writing, after which she will attend the University of Denver's publishing institute.

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