No-hold’s barred diplomacy that failed to achieve any significant results
By Fareeha Qayoom
ot that I was expecting much from Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton’s visit to Pakistan. But even I wasn’t expecting her to fail as spectacularly as she did. Not only was she not able to change the perception of the US Government in Pakistan for the better, she actually went one step further and totally alienated anyone and everyone who has no axe to grind in Pakistan – the common folk, the ordinary citizens, the hidden and silent majority of Pakistanis. She may have impressed the ‘wanna-be’ A-listers that make up the pro-American lobby in Pakistan with her blunt statements, or intimidated the Pakistani press into submission, or totally cowed the local politicians with her no holds barred blunt statements, like “If you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice,” (but even that is open to debate despite the fact that the US press is calling it a draw – a total face-saving exercise in my opinion).
All she proved to me by her visit to Pakistan is that her government is self-centered, inhuman and only cares about her own bottom line. A case in point came Friday at an interview for the program “Our Voice” when a young woman asked Clinton whether she viewed the Predator drone attacks used by the United States in Pakistan’s frontier areas as terrorism. “No, I do not,” she replied.
If restoring peace in the region is her government’s objective, it’s obviously not working. If her objective was to charm Pakistanis into sympathizing with her government’s goals, it didn’t work. If her objective was to improve people-to-people relations with Pakistan, it didn’t work, however, if her objective was to set the record straight for all times, it worked. She managed to reinforce her message on countless occasions, during her ‘meet the press’ TV anchor convention or her Q&A at the Government College Lahore, or when she seems to have made the statement to a group of Pakistani journalists on her second day here, to the effect that Pakistani officials bore responsibility for allowing terrorists from Al Qaeda to operate from safe havens in Pakistan. “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are, and couldn’t get to them if they really wanted to.” The implication being that the Pakistani government knows where they are hiding and are not catching them for some nefarious reason of their own! The same refrain that we keep hearing since her husband was in charge – change of three presidents has not changed the tune –“DO MORE!”
Photo by US Mission Canada
If the US and NATO forces in their collective wisdom in spite of drone attacks and sitting pretty in Afghanistan have not been able to apprehend the Al-Qaida leaders who supposedly originate from Afghanistan, why are they asking Pakistan to sacrifice her military, her citizens and her territory to catch them? The so-called ‘Al-Qaida’ do not seem to operate in Pakistan…what we have here is a recent phenomenon called “Tehrik-e-Taliban” funded by some hostile ‘enemies’ of Pakistan who are intent on flattening our nationalism into ground. These are allegedly the same guys the US are supposedly fighting with in Afghanistan, (the Talibans that governed Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul until very recently, the Pashtoon faction of the Afghanistan divide that is in majority in Afghanistan, the US are supposedly backing the northern alliance there, in minority ) – Why should we be catching these guys for USA when she can’t do much about them in spite of her hi-tech satellite surveillance equipment, spy planes, Military, NATO forces and CIA?
Such statements simply imply that they the Americans actually don’t care about the loss of innocent human life as long as they get the mythical Al-Qaida. In the immortal words of Michael Jackson, “all I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us!”¨