News Analysis: Clinton's Pakistan visit a frustrated move to restore trust

08:15, July 20, 2010      

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The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's two-day visit to Pakistan seems to be a frustrated move to eliminate the years of mistrust and suspicion among the Pakistanis as she mentioned the matter of trust gap in her interaction with the media persons and members of the civil society in Islamabad.

"We need to take further steps to bridge this gap. We want that people of Pakistan should know that the United States is committed for their well being and prosperity," Clinton said when journalists put questions as to why the U.S. has failed to remove the mistrust of Pakistanis despite American aid to the insurgency- hit country.

There is a long list of reasons which have led to the mistrust between Pakistan and the U.S. and Pakistanis still remember the period when the U.S. slapped sanctions on the country after the former Soviet Union troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989.

In October 1990 economic and military sanctions were imposed on Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, which hurt many in Pakistan as they did not expect such treatment as Pakistan had been the base for resistance against the Soviets. Pakistan was subjected the curbs as it was no more required to serve the U.S. interests.

Clinton, realizing the trust deficit with Pakistan, announced 500 million US dollars for development projects in the country with a hope that the aid will help remove suspicion among the people of Pakistan.

The 500 million U.S. dollars is in fact not additional money but it is part of the 7.5-billion-dollar aid package Pakistan will receive over the next five years. This aid, approved last year, was with tough conditions, which angered Pakistan military, the opposition parties and the public.

A section in the legislation requires the U.S. access to relevant information on and direct access to Pakistani nationals involved in nuclear supplier networks; ceasing support for extremist elements within army and intelligence agencies; and no involvement of security forces in subverting Pakistani political or judicial processes.

The U.S drone strikes in the tribal region of Pakistan is strongly opposed by the majority in Pakistan including the government, opposition parties and the people, and Islamabad insists that strikes from drones have affected the anti-terror war and increased anti-US sentiments. But the U.S. has never hinted any change in the policy. If it is the case how the U.S. will succeed to remove the trust deficit.

People in Pakistan are also surprised at the U.S. opposition to the 7.5-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which has recently been signed and under which Pakistan will start receiving Iranian gas in mid-2014. The U.S. has so far failed to address to the energy crisis in Pakistan and on the other hand opposes Islamabad's move to overcome energy crisis through other sources.

Pakistanis were also astonished when the U.S. State Department last month opposed Pakistan's decision to seek two more nuclear power plants from China. Hillary Clinton in her Monday's press conference in Islamabad touched upon the issue and asked Pakistan to answer to questions about the deal. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quick to defend the deal and said it will be open to the IAEA inspection.

There is no logic for the U.S. to oppose civilian and peaceful nuclear power plants deal between Pakistan and China as Washington has already struck a civilian nuclear deal with India. Pakistanis question the U.S. opposition to the Pakistan-China deal when it itself pursue similar deal with others.

Most Pakistanis consider the U.S. policies in the region as a main source of instability and violence in the Islamic country. Every city of Pakistan is unsafe today as terrorists now target even mosques and shrines and the people link this situation with the U.S. policies.

Local watchers said if the U.S. wants to eliminate mistrust among Pakistanis it will have to treat Pakistan as a sovereign country and stop violation of its sovereignty. The aid of millions of dollars can not win the hearts of the people and the U.S. must look into its defective policies of the past and must try to introduce a change, they said.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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