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US-Pakistan relations still tense after apology (3)

(Global Times)

09:22, July 09, 2012

Hussain: This is a positive sign which could lead to the improvement of relations between the two countries. Pakistan has been looking for a partnership with the US on the basis of mutual respect for each other's territorial sovereignty, integrity and non-interference of each other's internal affairs. But unfortunately, things did not work out the way they were assumed.

The dictatorial attitude of the US is highly despised by the people of Pakistan, which led to anti-Americanism in the country. The US apology will certainly ease up things between the two countries.

The US also seems to have realized that it needs Pakistan not only for logistics but also regional stability.

The global environment has meant some changes in US priorities as well. The US is more focused now in its goals in the Asia-Pacific region. The US is trying to get out of Afghanistan and concentrate on China.

GT: Some Pakistanis burned US flags to protest the reopening of the supply lines on July 4. Will this rile up nationalist emotions in Pakistan?

Kugelman: Pakistan's government already faces tremendous hostility from the public about this and other issues. I don't think reopening the supply lines will really make things much worse. Some of the religious and ultra-conservative political parties in Pakistan have vowed protests to oppose the government's decision.

However, it is true that the Pakistani people are unhappy about their government's decision to reopen the supply lines.

Pakistanis feel that, once again, their government has sold out to the US and agreed to do what Washington wants it to do. I have also spoken to Pakistanis who feel the apology was not really an apology.

Hussain: Anti-Americanism is a reality. It is not only confined to Pakistan but, it is global. People in some countries around the world burn US flags. Similarly there are certain groups, and people who dislike US policies in Pakistan.

The air strike was a direct hit on the sovereignty of Pakistan. I believe over the period things will slow down, these are small protests. People also understand that as much as the US needs Pakistan, Pakistan also needs the US.

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