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Hating America: Who pays the price?

Published: February 27, 2011

The writer is a lawyer and political commentator based in London

So we’ve reached an impasse in the uneasy US-Pakistani alliance. Too many red lines have allegedly been crossed and thus the Raymond Davis affair has brought mistrust to an all-time high. There is gloating in certain quarters. Pakistan will not sit this one down, and, if it does, then it is the end of this government. The street will decide this one. Banners that say “Blood for blood” and “Hang Davis till death” are to be taken seriously as ‘public opinion’. To what extent that opinion is manufactured we are unconcerned with for now.

Let’s say we take America head on. Both countries call each other’s bluff. The US moves the International Court of Justice on the dubious matter of Davis’s immunity. Pakistan is obliged to present its case, hire expensive lawyers and fight for an uncertain outcome. America scraps Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid. Pakistan stops cooperating in Afghanistan. Then what?

How long will Pakistan ride on the high of protecting ‘national honour’? Will it fix our schools? Will it provide gas and electricity? Will it reduce inflation? Will it provide employment? Some degree of anti-Americanism exists in every society — resentment against US heavy-handedness, a disdain for American hubris — but the degree of anti-Americanism in Pakistan is reaching dangerous proportions. The public in urban centres is being rallied, orchestrated by design, to use America as a scapegoat for all our ills. America looks out for its own interests and these may, or may not, align with Pakistan’s interests but to think that suddenly, upon ‘standing up to America’, our problems will be solved, or even begin to be solved, is utterly misleading.

To the contrary, our problems will only compound. Multinationals will begin to pull out and downscale, resulting in even more unemployment. With oil prices rising, given the events in the Middle East, financial aid will become even more important for us. Expatriates, who are often touted as the key to spurring economic activity within Pakistan, will run further away from any such prospect. In fact, money will begin to flow out of Pakistan and into places like London. To give one example, just in the two-week period since the uprisings in the Middle East, property prices in London’s Mayfair have escalated by 15 per cent. On the other hand, Egypt has lost $1 billion in tourism revenue alone.

The loss may still be worth it for Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and others because for years they had been stuck with one-man rule, with no semblance of democracy or freedom of expression. The price they pay now to build their institutions, like Pakistanis did to restore a deposed judiciary, may reap benefits in the future. But what are we trying to achieve? Will confronting America build our institutions or harm them? Will it sustain democracy or end it?

Let’s face it. We are a weak state and weak states have no international clout. In spite of our military might, we are an economic mess. And thus, not only will we not be taken seriously at places like the International Court of Justice, but the banners calling for Davis’s blood will be used against us, Pakistan as an unstable terrorist haven where global investment is unsafe. In today’s world, ‘standing up to the US’ also means losing popularity with other countries and growing international isolation. What then? Who suffers?

Certainly not Nawaz Sharif’s son, who is spotted shopping regularly at John Lewis and Selfridges; not Shah Mahmood’s son, who was not pushed about national honour when he got himself an internship with John Kerry; not Gilani’s son, who is said to spend summers gallivanting around London town in a sports car; and not Imran Khan’s son, who has been photographed genuflecting as a ring bearer at royalty weddings. It is, in fact, the average Arif who will suffer the consequences and pay the price for our zealous anti-Americanism.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2011.

Reader Comments (60)

  • Feb 27, 2011 - 12:22AM

    Exactly! As you see, whether we call America’s bluff or not, regardless of what happens – our nations elite, will have to take no responsibility upon themselves, but blame America for everything. And then someone will shout “honour” “sovereignty” and “how we will eat grass” – the same people who you highlight in your last paragraph.

  • Ankur
    Feb 27, 2011 - 12:41AM

    Nice thought provoking essay about the consequences, but consequences which might never be…noone’s really craving for honor in this undignified world..they’d certainly reach a path of compromise…Davis may be hanged, beaten, or sent back, for now nothing is changing between Pakistan and America, US is already losing its allies in the Middle east it wont play a stupid game with a strategically important country called Pakistan..after all its “the China” that has to be contained..Davids and others you mentioned in here are not even peanuts in the long party that pays so many dividends.

  • tariq
    Feb 27, 2011 - 12:47AM

    If its client regimes fall, how will US react to fall of the Middle East empire it controlled for 50 years?

  • Mir Agha
    Feb 27, 2011 - 1:00AM

    Dear God. No need for emotionalism and the author’s pseudo-rational thoughts. The matter is simple, is he a diplomat? The answer is no. Since he isn’t, the law must take its course. This isn’t about anti or pro anything, the street is immaterial. If he was a diplomat, then he should’ve been freed, anti-whateverism or not.

  • MuslimBoy
    Feb 27, 2011 - 1:11AM

    Finally Thank You!
    Some is talking some sence.

  • irfaniftekhar
    Feb 27, 2011 - 1:41AM

    Well said than done. anti-Americanism is not isolated to Pakistan only. It can be found at everyplace where Muslims live. Why go far, go to Pakistan’s nearest neighbor, India, roam where the Muslims live, ask them what they think of America, and you get the same reply.Madam come out of the imaginary shell, see the truth, and the write. anti-Americanism is not an isolated case in Pakistan.

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Feb 27, 2011 - 2:34AM

    Brilliant, Madam. You sketch a frightening scenario.

    But, you need not worry yourself too much. This is a lot of “noora kushty” as the Punjer’s call (I am, alas, Punjabi so no disrespect intended) even if one cannot deny that ghastly deeds have been done.

    We will be fine, and muddle along — until the next crisis.

  • A. Khan
    Feb 27, 2011 - 2:39AM

    Why do people keep calling it “national honour”? Heve you everheard of a crime getting committed? Or rule of Law? Or do y’all have some reason for barking up the wrong tree?

  • Amna
    Feb 27, 2011 - 2:39AM

    So yes, your solution is to give diplomatic immunity to someone who clearly is not eligible for it.

    Just because we plan on forever begging for aid, so our leaders and their families can live the lives you described in your last paragraph.

    The poor “Arif” suffers no matter what happens to the Raymond Davis case. Major change is needed, change in this system. Only Imran Khan can bring that.

    And your comment about Imran Khan’s son does not fit in with the comments about the other politician’s sons, and that is because it is not his Khan’s looted money that has got him to that spot. He can not help that his maternal grandfather was a millionaire, and a socialite. He is young and lives with his mother…get over it. Find some real corruption to hate on Khan for.

  • Shock horror
    Feb 27, 2011 - 2:57AM


    I fully agree with your very wise comments.

  • mohammad khan
    Feb 27, 2011 - 4:57AM

    Do unto others as you want others to do unto you. just think how many Pakistanis are over staying their Visas in USA .we Pakistanis need to put our house in order especially corruption which is our greatest enemy it is like cancer has eaten our country from inside and has done more damage than any foreign country can ever do to us and it is the elite of our country who is responsible for this and these people who have stashed away over 200 billion dollars in foreign banks while putting every Pakistani in debt or in bondage to the lenders. America does not owe us anything but they have provided us financial help more than any other country in the world. Do not cut the branch you are sitting on. How can we ever be a sovereign nation with such leadership and the elite society which is so disconnected from rest of the Hugh uneducated population?

    Feb 27, 2011 - 5:49AM

    Fascinating…. ”MANUFACTURING” public opinion!

  • Truthseeker
    Feb 27, 2011 - 6:45AM

    Let Arif suffer because he wants to suffer.The consequences of ‘America Bashing’ as enunciated in this article are well known ;and Arifs, Hamids,Zaids,Asads,Guls, Salims and Maqbools with their followers are willing to eat grass for the honour of the country, so let them eat it ,and this time it will be real grass.
    Grass growers of Pakistan, mentioned in last paragraph are experts in their field and they revered by the people.Public wants their business to florish and that is what should happen because this is the wish of the people and


  • kailash sethy
    Feb 27, 2011 - 7:01AM

    true for most of third world countries

  • pmbm
    Feb 27, 2011 - 9:25AM

    Let us hope this article convinces ‘fundos’ to stop anti-americanism immediately. How is absence of US-aid going to make difference in Arif’s life when those dollars never get beyond high echelons.

  • Fighter
    Feb 27, 2011 - 9:58AM

    The author is forgetting one thing, that if we pull out of Afghanistan then America will suffer big time and they know they cannot afford this. Also, we are now becoming one of the strong economic powers in South Asia with our alliance with China. Even if America links with us we will have our eternal friend China.

  • Feb 27, 2011 - 10:44AM

    We know what is the despicable condition of our country. No need to tell us. Tell us something we dont know. Do yourself a big favor and write about the UK economy and the double edge sword of hypocrisy of Blair, Brown and Cameron. Or else come back to Pakistan, start you legal practice and then feel for the common citizens like Abdul Sattar Edhi and Ansar Burney.

    Salams for 2011 and ever.

  • Jeddy
    Feb 27, 2011 - 12:44PM

    One is matter of international terrorism and the other is about national infrastructure – the two have nothing to do with each each other. Mixing unrelated thing does not an article make.

  • anil
    Feb 27, 2011 - 1:19PM

    while Pakistan steps up prodution of nuclear weapons and plays brinkmanship with America, it would be wise to step up production and storage of grass.

  • Average Arif
    Feb 27, 2011 - 2:53PM

    The majority of Pakistanis are very unhappy and becoming miserable. We need to move towards becoming an egalitarian society, to Jinnah’s vision.
    That is a major change which will involve pain in some form or another. If the current leadership gives in to American pressure – it may be a catalyst for that change (although I have my doubts).
    If we are able to live by the law, that change will come too. Other benefits will be that the ill-gotten gain of the “elite” you mention should find its way back to the country’s coffers – although I don’t see the relevance of Imran Khan or his son in this article – on the contrary, he is trying hard to get Pakistan on the right track and is by far the most honest of the lot (not difficult with the current lot).
    As a lawyer and activist, please enlighten us on the practical steps that can be taken in the Pakistani context to make our justice system more effective and transparent, with the necessary checks and balances.
    This is where our salvation lies.

  • shade
    Feb 27, 2011 - 3:29PM

    Didn’t we hear this argument in the aftermath of 911 when Mush presented this to the nation. Has much changed a decade later? Infact it has worsened. Infact the first we heard this argument was immediately after Pakistan’s creation when US was looking for a client state on the fringes of a dangerous USSR to serve its interests. Pak military wanted to be a willing instrument and establishment was dominated by military presence. More than 63 years on where do we stand? What good has the aid done to us.
    I don’t know about you but no Pakistani likes to be meted out the treatment it gets on US airports. Now its expanded to Pakistan’s own soil. Lets ask ourselves if we really are a nation state with even a semblance of sovereignty.
    I’ll cut it short-there’s much evidence in modern economic theory that such aids especially US aid doesn’t do any good to a developing economy. The sooner we distance ourselves from it, the better it is.

  • ArifQ
    Feb 27, 2011 - 3:36PM

    The Average Arif, a moderate, respects the law, loves his family, country and has very limited options when it comes to getting a Investment partner, green card or immigration. The average Arif suffering starts with his local dacoits, mobile snatchers, car lifters, police, security agencies and ends with American profiling. The average Arif would very much like to see the honorable judges to show some spine and take on the extremists-religious and uniformed. The average Arif would very much like to have equal opportunities. Finally, The Average Arif would like to stop dreaming, but then that is his only escape.

  • Fact Check
    Feb 27, 2011 - 4:33PM


    One thing the administration will not do is to let Davis any harm whatsoever. 2012 is around the corner and Obama wants get re-elected.

    Second, the belief, Pakistan is strategically important is self propagated myth myth. In an era of huge aircraft carriers, heavy lift C-17 and Russia allowing transport, the strategic myth will not save Pakistan.

    Third, Russia, US and other neighboring countries, including China does not want US to pull up and leave because they are all facing radical Islam unrest and does not want Taliban and Al-Queda to remerge.

    Fourth, the way US goes, so goes NATO and most of ME, especially Saudi Arabia, they have huge investments in the US. No more money, may be trickle here and there.

    Fifth, without US, EU and UK no more IMF and World bank loans and no more special tariff treatments to Pakistani goods.

    Sixth, Pakistan has a huge credibility problem. Here is why, it is hard for anyone to realistically and objectively believe Davis was not threatened by two thugs (regardless public stupor), why, because, the incident happened in country, where drive by shootings, suicide bombing, and car bombs occur quite often. Again, huge credibility problem.

    Seventh, the so called Federal, Central or whatever, abdicated its Foreign Policy responsibility and gave it mullahs and state government.

    Unless the world is willing to suspend reality willfully, Pakistan gaining credibility for its argument is unlikely.

    Others need you because of your geographical location happens to be strategic and other will always coddle you is sef defeating prophecy.

  • Fact Check
    Feb 27, 2011 - 4:40PM

    @Mir Agha:

    But, you declared, he is not diplomat hence, your closing sentence is irrational. Another problem Pakistan has is, it can only try certain types of cases and picks and chooses, while many known terrorists who committed mass bombings and killings go on about your business. What justice are you talking about?

    The version of justice, Pakistan practice is hard to understand? It is more like coming from Iran or China, may be it is modeled like it.

  • Fact Check
    Feb 27, 2011 - 4:41PM


    When was the last time you asked Indian muslims the question?

  • nabeel
    Feb 27, 2011 - 5:03PM

    so what do you suggest, that people should be allowed to get away with murder.
    great solution to the nations ills.

    we should stand up for the rule of law, that is the first and last remedy for our ills.

  • Anonymous
    Feb 27, 2011 - 6:34PM

    Hating America or being Anti-american is new Kill-word at par with Anti-semitism which works like a big idealogical sledgehammer with which they can flatten any opposition or critique of Uncle Sam’s policies. The result is that people are deprived from their fundamental human and democratic right to dissent. It is no longer democratic if you protest aganist uncle sam since invariably you would be labelled as zealots and fundamentalists, and what not. But what these appologists of Uncle Sam cant explain is that why a European or South American expresses similar dislike of American hubris. Are they too religious Fundamentalists? If so then the trouble is they are not Muslims. .

  • Roflcopter
    Feb 27, 2011 - 7:45PM

    Yes since Pakistan is a weak state (thanks to the corrupt government) we should let Americans kill us? Sorry but this is simply disgusting especially coming from a lawyer. All Pakistani people are asking for is JUSTICE. Raymond Davis is a MURDERER and he should be HANGED because that is JUSTICE. Anti-Americanism in Pakistan is justified because of what USA has done in our country. All we need is a good leadership to fix our problems and stop being a slave.

  • mohammad khan
    Feb 27, 2011 - 7:57PM

    Let be very clear about one thing no body is saying let the American’s do what ever they want to. We need to be more vigilant now than ever before we know all these militants’ organizations are getting there funding from some where they are definitely not being financed by poor Pakistanis. our politician’s and media need to be more responsible and let this thing not get out control .Let the law take its own course like all civilized societies do.This how Americans will do.

  • Zahid Hussain
    Feb 27, 2011 - 11:13PM

    Very interesting observations from a fine lawyer! In exchange for American support Pakistanis are expected to close their eyes and let the “Diplomats” commit crime! There is no need to demand justice because the price for demanding justice will be higher than the seriousness of the crime.

    Who is bothered about diplomatic norms that demand a diplomat to behave properly and respect the law of the land “NO MATTER WHAT?”

    Ms. Ayesha! is there a limit to moderate and tolerant views? Are you familiar with the words called “Sovereignty,” “National Dignity” and “National Pride?” Do you know the meaning of “TRUE JUSTICE” after studying law?

    An already hungry person is least bothered about hunger. Where does the aid money go? I suggest you better read: “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” try to recall some ethical and moral values, if they have any meaning to you and then write on the subject.


  • Zahid Hussain
    Feb 28, 2011 - 12:13AM

    @ Ayesha

    I admire your approach. Even Islam allows a person to accept money in exchange for an individuals life. So what is wrong if a country does so in the larger interest of its very economic survival.

    But may I ask you, if the money for which we are advised to sacrifice justice is not meant for those in whose name that money is acquired then, isn’t it better to go for justice instead of money?

    Is it advisable to remain financially dependent even if we have to sacrifice our national security? It is not what Davis did to two persons, it is what he was doing in Pakistan in his official capacity? Does the law of the land or international law allow even a diplomat to do that and get away with it without at least “answering a few important questions?” This is what Pakistan’s government and law enforcing agencies are engaged in. The shouting in the street and condemnation of the same in the columns both are wrong. We must remain focused on an action and its overall impact. It is not a matter that concerns bi-lateral economic relations, it is a matter that will expose the real culprits behind the war against terror, extremism and intoleration in Pakistan.

    You will ultimately find out who is behind the acts of terror in Pakistan: Religious fanatics or a group of unidentified Raymonds active across Pakistan.

  • prashanth
    Feb 28, 2011 - 6:06AM

    In a nut shell:
    Army decides whether Davis is a diplomat or not and the civilian government pays the price.
    I love Pakistani logic.

  • akash
    Feb 28, 2011 - 7:08AM

    How cute when everyone seeking justice in Davis’s case and talking law of land..and honor(another ‘heavy’ word) what happens to law of land when terrorists are openly roaming after commiting crimes in India and other places and a murderer is hero worshipped… law of land.. how convenient…
    its just fashionable to be Anti American when the fact is everyone aspires to go to US and use the opportunity and resources availbale to make most of it.
    Other nations can only dream the way America is free.. its institutions strong and democracy vibrant..the way it protects its citizens and gives them fundamental rights regardless of their race or religion.. no one is denying the foriegn policy high handedness of USA but again it is prehaps the greatness of its democracy that those arrogant nutters are out of power and you have a more nuanced president in Obama.
    Pakistan will benefit more by working with US rather than be Anti.. be it fighting taliban.. or(hopefully) using the money to make better Pakistan..creating better democratic institutions..

  • Nizam
    Feb 28, 2011 - 8:53AM

    This is the best editorial on the Davis case yet.

  • Feb 28, 2011 - 9:26AM

    Implicit is the argument here: leave Davis and keep getting the aid from the US. For the sake of the argument, let’s assume it is done. Davis is sent back and in a week’s time he is partying and hanging out with his friends and a couple of major publishing houses have offered him contracts to write a book based on his experiences in the Land of the Pure. Will it then solve the problems of ordinary Pakistanis? Will it bring prosperity to the common folk? Will it create jobs?
    Dear Ayesha, do you think the aid received by international donors is spent for the betterment of the masses? Please don’t tell me you are so naive.
    Another implicit argument here is that the Pakistani government should release Davis by-passing the judiciary. Coming from a lawyer, this is more than astonishing. Why don’t you want the legal procedure to be completed!
    And you think that multinationals would begin to pullout. For God’s sake, who would like to leave a huge consumer society of 160 millions? Despite all this discourse of multinationals feeling totally insecure, various companies have set up their shop in Pakistan during the last decade. Come on, they want to mint money, why would they be concerned about a CIA spy being tried in Pakistani courts!

  • Arif
    Feb 28, 2011 - 9:29AM

    Sorry but you cannot use my name in your article its my copyright and you didn’t asked for permission to use.

  • Anoop
    Feb 28, 2011 - 10:58AM

    Excellent. Wonderful analysis.

    I am all for stopping for aid to Pakistan by US as I think that aid was the one which was allowing Pakistan to punch above its weight against Countries like India. But, the way Pakistan is handling the issues related to the US, one is certain that after 2014 US will abruptly end Aid to Pakistan which might spell disaster for India, as it may lead to the unravelling of the state.

    So, I suggest a time based decrement of Aid to Pakistan. Aid to Pakistan MUST stop.

  • Arindom
    Feb 28, 2011 - 12:42PM

    how much have you met muslims in India? They donot hate America for America’s sake!! They are progressive and secular, unlike what the Jihadist Mullahs in Pakistan would like them to be!!

    To be more accurate the predominately Hindu Communists in India hate Americans.

  • NS
    Feb 28, 2011 - 12:57PM

    I must say a very thought provoking article but importantly what is the solution to this issue. We can not completelty let him go nor can we afford to punish him. Solution ??

  • umar
    Feb 28, 2011 - 5:24PM

    if USA or international community ban pakistan and declare it bunkrupt country who are the major looser, average pakistani, never, it is the privileged class who got account there and have other interest in USA and europe instead our average class will whole-hearty welcome this decision, it will be the privileged class who will suffer that is why they are continuously hues and cry aagainst it. on the other hand when we are banned and declared as bankrupt country we become sole fate creator for this peace of land do this to us and be shocked by the potential we possess .
    It is horrible dream which many do not want to come true

  • Adeel
    Feb 28, 2011 - 6:11PM

    wow!! Amazing…

  • Raja Arsalan Khan
    Feb 28, 2011 - 7:27PM

    Hate America is the slogan of those who want to rule the Pakistanis with an ‘iron fist’. Hate against west is orchestrated by the followers of those who were against Ibne Rushd and others challenging the ‘king-policed minds’..
    The new social relations and structures along with the plural society and representative state are a gift of the west. The traditionalists are afraid of losing their worth; therefore, they create fear among the people as if they (people) are the losers in case we decide to be a part of the international community.
    Anti-America sloganeering is just an expression of centuries old tribal and feudal mentality which makes every individual, group or the society as whole to look inward and resist any change. The Americans are the rulers, one may like it or not, and we are the ruled ones. The only way out is to transform ourselves to a position where we are share the knowledge, as a contributer and not as a user. The mental slavery is not imposed by the west and is our own product and it is forcing us believing that we can remain isolated as a “spoilers”. Unfortunately, mental slavery is used in our society as a term for those who want to be new world, unlike that of the ‘Bedouins’ who are the real slaves.
    The west and the US is not our enemy. The sooner we a realize the fact the better results would be. But in my humble opinion, we have lost the race.

  • Copper
    Feb 28, 2011 - 8:42PM

    so according to you

    moral of story: do whatever America says, no matter what

    Not surprising to come from a writer permanently based in London. The slaves of America, who can no longer find any sane argument, are trying to piggyback on “poor” Arif.

  • Aamer
    Mar 1, 2011 - 12:13AM

    I am fully confident that whatever is the outcome of Davis fiasco, our public will scrutinize those in power (and behind the scenes) within Pakistan who are involved in allowing such covert agenda to be carried out by the foreign forces. Self consciousness will strike somewhere in this country and I am positive that no one will want to be painted anti-national with Davis.

  • Zahid Hussain
    Mar 1, 2011 - 1:58AM

    @ Akash,

    In which category will you place RD and unidentified hundreds of RDs roaming freely in different parts of Pakistan under the so-called umbrella of “diplomatic immunity” due to the negligence of our intelligence and law ennforcing agencies. The Chiefs of ISI, Military Intelligence, FIA and senior officials of the provincial and federal interior ministries need to be made a party in this case for gross professional negligence and official mis-conduct.

    Why they were not aware of the dubious activities of RD and why did they keep their eyes shut till three people were murdered inhumanly and fourth committed suicide. The lame excuse that RD was under observation is not acceptable at all. All dipomatic staff is required by the orders of sending and host countries alike to report their movements to concerned departments in Pakistan for their own protection. In this case there was double criminal negligence. The concerned departments were not informed about RD’s movement and he was NOT cautioned to remain away from busy streets of Lahore for his own security which was, as I understand from the news reports, not his port of duty.

    Third gross negligence on record is self-evident from the fact that when Pakistan’s foreign office demanded certain clarifications regarding RD’s credentials from the US Mission in Pakistan they failed to respond for unknown reasons and did not bother to complete the formalities to get the ambiguity about RD’s “career status” removed! I apply for certain privilege from the government of Pakistan. The officials ask me to provide some information. I fail to do so. Will I be entitled to the requested privilige.

    This is the actual case in a nut shell!!! Where do RD and US Embassy stand?

  • Mar 1, 2011 - 4:09AM

    @ Copper: No, the moral of the story is that in order to be taken seriously on the world stage we need to get our house in order, strengthen ourselves economically, and empower our people. Without that, it is simply not possible. So anti-Americanism in the absence of these pre-requisites is a waste of everyone’s time.

    And btw I don’t consider myself “permanently” based in London—don’t know where you got that from. But assuming I were, I could very easily just not care—the fact that I am concerned about Pakistan’s future only means that Pakistan is where my heart is. I have nothing to gain or lose personally by whatever outcome this matter takes but I do care that we should move in a direction that is most advantageous for the majority of the average Arifs. That is how I define national interest and it does not come from international isolation.

  • Kashif
    Mar 1, 2011 - 8:14AM

    @Fact Check:
    Your point 4 does not make sense to me. What do Saudi investments in the US have to do with Saudi relations with Pakistan?
    Not just Pakistan has a credibility problem. Do read the artcle below on Counter Punch website by a former US Green Beret (commando) who then worked for the CIA during the Vietnam war.
    Had Ray Davis’s Job, in Laos 30 Years Ago
    Same Cover, Same Lies

    Pakistan is trying to survive. Its main problem is its low tax to GDP ratio of only 10%. Only 2% of the people pay taxes and tax on agriculture is not collected although it should. In fact Pakistan’s GDP is roughly equal to that of Saudi Arabia’s GDP. The reason is a large and hard working population.

  • Someone
    Mar 1, 2011 - 11:17AM

    As an American woman married to a Pakistani man for over 10 years, with two children and living in Pakistan for the past 3 years…Our children who are young….have been trained to ignore questions of where they are from (it is obvious they are a mix and they speak only english with a bit of Urdu, but of course with an American accent as english is spoken in our home) Most people assume UK, so we do not correct that assumption out of fear.

    My family disowned me when I became a muslim and I thought I would feel at home here but I am scared for my entire family more than I could have ever imagined. This is not from media hype or rumors but a fear born out of our own personal experiences over the past 3 years here.

    This is a very scary place for both my husband and myself and it is getting worse with each passing day. We came here because my husband and I wished to do some good and give back….we have only been treated with disrespect, including demands for bribes as well as death threats (when university students were caught cheating) and sexual harrasment and propositions from men in powerful positions.

    We have ceased to even try to help in recent months, pulled our children from school and they are now homeschooled. We no longer leave the house and only interact with others who have spent a significant amount of time abroad (my husband was in the US for 25 years, never even visited as his parents are no longer living) otherwise we interact with our foreign friends at our home or online ONLY.

    We are sure there are good people here, but they are too far and few between the bad ones. Our children deserve better and since we are able, they will have better.

    A job offer came from abroad and we are leaving, forever.

  • Zahid Hussain
    Mar 1, 2011 - 11:35AM

    @ Ayesha,

    From where did you get the idea that Pakistanis HATE America? The US-Pakistan relations can be described in four words: “CRITICAL MUTUAL INTER-DEPENDENCE,” RESENTMENT, PROTEST and MIS-TRUST on BOTH SIDES. There is no such thing as LOVE and Hate relationship between United States and Pakistan.

    If you look at geo-strategic political, diplomatic and military sensitivities of the countries around Pakistan, United States is far more dependent on Pakistan than other of his allies. Have a look at the allocated budgets for Iraq and Afghanistan and the payments made to Pakistan for the ugly and disgraceful donkey work Pakistan’s government and military establishment is doing for America. With all it military might and so-called debt ridden evidently insolvent economic strength, in reality, America is far more vulnerable and weak than Pakistan. You just have to look at financial forecasts of globally acclaimed Harvard, Yale and Oxford scholars and financial analysts par excellence about America’s state of financial and economic affairs. I can send to you some interesting presentations and videos from my personal archives. Unfortunately except ZAB none of Pakistan’s political leader had or has diplomatic vision or even a little comprehension of diplomatic manouverability and their hidden and visible consequences.

    Our political leaders, foreign office and military command have messed up everything after the withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan by playing as visionless American political, diplomatic and military touts and pawns.

    Pakistan is a human and natural resource rich country to an extent that USA and European literally appear like beggars but unfortunately our corrupt politicians, irresponsible business community, absolutely unprofessional military commanders and intellectually and morally bankrupt inward looking self-centered greedy media owners have turned Pakistan into a political, social, economic, diplomatic and military joke.

    We need to wake up before it is too late.

  • Abdullah
    Mar 1, 2011 - 11:40AM

    “How long will Pakistan ride on the high of protecting ‘national honour’? Will it fix our schools? Will it provide gas and electricity? Will it reduce inflation? Will it provide employment?”

    Well, is any of the above that you mentioned happened right now? I mean, the fuel prices just shot up and the aid is in place. We have a bad case of the load shedding. Inflation seems to be on the rise. So, this point seems to be invalid.

    “To give one example, just in the two-week period since the uprisings in the Middle East, property prices in London’s Mayfair have escalated by 15 per cent.”

    If money does flow out of Pakistan, some other money will flow into Pakistan. The investor needs a solid stable rate of return. If for political and patriotic reasons the Americans choose to invest else where, someone else will take their place because money’s to be made.

    Also, there may or may NOT be any correlation to rising property prices in London and the uprisings in the Middle East. To establish that without a shadow of a doubt would mean taking into account millions of other variables affecting property prices and constructing an unbelievably complicated mathematical model. So that’s a pretty bad blanket statement that you made.

    And we, the average Arifs, are already suffering. Might as well suffer for the right reasons rather then wrong ones.

  • sajjad
    Mar 1, 2011 - 12:02PM

    living in fool’s paradise…

  • Zahid Hussain
    Mar 1, 2011 - 12:15PM


    As a student of international relations for over three decades I absolutely agree with you on your observation regarding RD and points 4 and five but beg to differ on all other points.

    You are totally oblivious of Pakistan’s potential strength and real economic and diplomatic might like everyone else. Within no time, Pakistan can emerge as one of the most prosperous countries in the world. You are also wrong about the diplomatic posture and concerns of China, Russia and NATO. Pakistan is destined to play a very very important role in emerging New World Order as a true power far more influential than USA, EU, GCC and APEC combined. You and others may laugh but it needs a lot of research input and detailed knowledge of sensitivities of complex known and unknown regional and global developments to make such an observation at a time like this when Pakistan, as it appears, is passing through a transition phase from destabilization to disintegration. I do not think this forum is appropriate to go into details.

    I just wanted to correct you because most of the readers of this thread have endorsed your comment which is based on popular perceptions and not on realities on ground.

  • Fact Check
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:23PM


    You don’t have rule of law. You do not prosecute and punish known terrorists roaming around freely who are on terrorist watch lists. Pakistan wants to ask absurd questions about evidence given to them for the crimes Pakistani Citizen Terrorists commits all over the world.

    Selective application of law to promote one’s objective is considered idiocracy, not rule of law. World will listen to Pakistan when it shows guts to clean up its society of Terrorists and or religious fanatics from blowing up innocent people where it may be.

    Until then, talking about the so called “rule of law” in Pakistan is beyond absurd.

  • Fact Check
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:24PM

    @Mir Agha:

    How do you know? Because you said so?

  • Fact Check
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:30PM


    Saudi investment in US has lot to do with how it is going to arm twist Pakistan. Get the point now, make sense?

  • Fact Check
    Mar 1, 2011 - 3:34PM


    Have you heard of getting the hell out of dodge? What is the point in living in a prison? Hope you haven’t foregone you US Citizenship, if you did, you are pretty much SOL.

  • hedgefunder
    Mar 1, 2011 - 5:49PM

    Since when has Pakistan been economic power in south asia? The trust in china is a illusion only until the chinese achieve their goals and also since when has pakistan been involved in afghanistan officially? Only if you consider creating taliban and legitamizing them with recognition is called involved then let it be so!
    In regards to economic power!! I am truly baffled as to how you derived at that, since i recall that the current balance of payment deficit and without IMF funding addtional to US aid you are already bankrupt many times over!!!! Unless having nuclear weapons is classed as economic power engine!!
    Please stop living in illusions and time the country and its people face the facts, as from outside your pond, i can not see pakistan as a soveriegn state survive for more than a decade on current shape and size.

  • Bangash
    Mar 1, 2011 - 9:33PM

    The average Joe will suffer in Pakistan, but will be satisfied by politicians who will tell him that “ghairat” is being upheld and america/india/israel are ultimately responsible for his suffering.

  • Shaukat Wariach
    Mar 2, 2011 - 3:56AM

    It seems that that the author is oblivious of the international political landscape. The US is hardly in a postion to talk tough and has already back tracked on Davis issue. Since 1947, we have been getting USAID, but it has not done any good for the people. Only the rulers got rich and Pakistan sank deeper into debt.

  • Tecumseh35
    Apr 4, 2011 - 12:04AM

    I really dont think Pakistanis have any right to complain about anything. You are more responsible for the war, by training those clowns. The main thing you should be scared of, which this lady didnt say, is the US will find other allies in the region. An ally that is a real democracy. A country that has also been fighting muslims. Thats right. India. We dont want you.We dont need you.

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