‘Stand up against the US’


Gul Wali, a resident of the tribal areas, shifted to Peshawar recently because of security threats in his native village. But he witnesses attacks against the citizens and the security forces in the provincial metropolis also. “Who is to be blamed for these attacks if the security forces themselves are the victims,” he said, “the blames levied on Pakistan are irrational.”
Mounting pressure on Pakistan to go after the Haqqani network blamed for attacks on US targets in Afghanistan is deepening anti-American sentiment, highlighting how difficult it will be for Washington to win more support for its war on militancy.
The rising antipathy to the US also makes it tougher for the government, already unpopular because of widespread allegations of corruption and its failure to tackle poverty, to do anything that will be seen as caving into US demands to crack down harder on militancy. “The allegations it has made against Pakistan were basically meant to hoodwink its own people,” said Shaukat Ali Achakzai, a businessman in the southwestern city of Quetta. “The government of Pakistan should strongly and forcefully respond to American allegations. The people of Pakistan will support it if it does so,” he said.
UNGRATEFUL PARTNER: Like their government, Pakistanis say the US is ungrateful even though Pakistan has lost thousands of soldiers and security forces fighting al Qaeda and other groups.
“America is oblivious to the fact that Pakistan has suffered the most in its war on terror campaign,” said banker Hamza Khan, adding “to allege that Pakistan is supporting the Haqqani network without providing solid evidence does not give it carte blanche to unilaterally attack or threaten Pakistan.” People in Badrashi areas of Nowshera, where several militant leaders were arrested in last couple of days, were angry at the US since they had supported action against militants. “Pakistan should stand against US and quit the coalition,” Arif Khan, a local resident said. Some were quick to remind the United States that Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network, was once one of Washington’s best friends in the region. He had worked with the US in the 1980s to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. and had even visited the White House when Ronald Reagan was president.
“Everybody knows who created the Haqqanis. They were created by the Americans in their fight against the Soviets,” said Sheraz Ahmed, a computer dealer in the city of Multan, adding “we will be happy if Pakistan stands up against the Americans, instead of the Haqqanis.” Hailing from North Waziristan and student of Peshawar University Akbar said, “Pakistan should demand compensation from US and opt for going to International Court of Justice as those people damaged Pakistan who were trained by CIA in the past.