This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
Perspectives

November 2, 2009
Hillary Clinton’s message to Pakistan

Hillary Clinton meets with Pakistan’s Prime Minister. Photo: Flickr user americagov

S. Azmat Hassan, a former Pakistani diplomat, is now a professor at Seton Hall University. He blogs about the U.S. Secretary of State’s recent trip to South Asia.

U.S.-Pakistan relations have witnessed many ups and downs in the past decades. This is not an infrequent phenomenon in bilateral relations. A perfect congruence of interests between any two states even neighbors — say, the US and Mexico — is well-nigh impossible. So the Pakistanis appreciated the fact that Hillary Clinton was spending three days in their midst. In the past weeks, they have been at the receiving end of horrific suicide attacks from the Pakistani Taliban, which have claimed the lives of more than 200 army and police personnel, as well as innocent men, women and children. These attacks even included a foray into the heavily guarded Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, which shook the Pakistani army. The Pakistani Taliban had hoped to forestall the Army’s long awaited assault on their bases in the tribal areas of South Waziristan, but their efforts failed. The Army launched the assault a few weeks ago.

Clinton’s diplomatic talents were on full display as she conducted herself among a cross section of the Pakistani nation reeling from terrorist outrages. She must have gauged that most Pakistanis support the Army’s actions to destroy the military power of the Pakistani Taliban in the forbidding wastes of South Waziristan. The U.S. leaders have pronounced themselves “impressed” by the Pakistani counter-terrorism operations in that area. The home town of Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been captured, and he is in hiding. He is a marked man. As I have stated before, there is much riding on this Army operation to militarily degrade the Mehsud militia.

Simultaneously, the Pakistani leadership must take effective action against violent extremists in Southern Punjab who appear to have linked up with the Pakistani Taliban and remnants of al-Qaeda in the remote regions bordering Afghanistan. What was refreshing was Clinton’s affirmation that U.S.-Pakistan relations were too important to be confined only to the counter-terrorism sphere. U.S. help and that of the Friends of Pakistan group which contains many wealthy countries, could be crucial in advancing Pakistan’s socioeconomic development.

Violent extremism will only abate through the accelerated provision of education and employment opportunities. Unemployed youth with no other means of subsistence have to be made stakeholders. They will then join civil society as productive members instead of being recruited as suicide bombers.

Clinton pointedly reminded Pakistanis in her various meetings that the economic inequality between a small rich minority and a large deprived majority is a recipe for violence and unrest. I hope that her frank advice will be heeded by the Pakistani establishment.

Clinton also reassured Pakistanis that the U.S. will not abandon Pakistan this time. Both countries have a huge stake in ridding the region of fanatical obscurantists who want to drag South Asia into the Dark Ages. Let’s hope she means what she says.

bookmark    print

Comments

4 comments

#4

Give Hillery a break. She lives in a screwed up world and she has some hard daily choices to make. The US sides with Israel – that is enough of a bad world for her to live in. It would be easier on everyone if petty nationalism and dark age religious views were not such a drag on society. Poor Hillery.

#3

US is forcing pip-squeek Zardari to fight and kill his own people. This is unprecedent action just for the presumptive danger to US, thousands of miles away. The question is: Where are the”terrorists” getting their ammo from? Who is supplying these to cause so much damage to the people and cities of Pakistan? Is involved?

#2

Please comment when you see this clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNXKFYe8UOg
Ratee, you are tiring us with your sensativities, and manner picking… Every expert will go on and on and on about how “dont insult the Pakistanis” and “Don’t say this and that – the Muslim world will be offended, but the truth is that:
A. If the moderates wish to work with the west in fighting the extremists who are lower than low, then enough with this sensative girlie stuff… Is that the way you fight tough Mujahedin, by crying to Obama that Hillary said this and that??!
2) Cut the %^%@#$ with the sensative Muslim stuff, because when the Muslim world wishes to offend and humiliate the west, they know very well how to do so, throwing their slippers at us in disgust while they fly our western war jets and are on a western fat payroll, as they say in Arabic: “Uscutu !” (which means: Shut up [JG])

#1

Pakistan is facing the brunt of these terrorists attacks and is bravely fighting the enemies of humanity.

It just shows how the Pakistanis may be feeling regarding the crude comments of Hillary Clinton when she was in Pakistan that the people in Government must be knowing where Al-Qaida members are in Pakistan. Pakistan since 2001 has killed or arrested 70 Al-Qaida top members. Nobody asked her why did the USA let them off the hook in Tora Bora or why USA moved her forces to Iraq in 2003 based on false CIA information or why USA neglected the area from 1989 to 2001 an let Al-Qaida grow?

Its easier to blame Pakistan that has lost 4,400 citizens since 2001 in its fight against terrorists more than USA lost on 9/11. This also rubs salt on their wounds when USA has killed 600 civilians in their drone attacks. One may ask why is it then USA has not been successful in eliminating Al-Qaida terrorists themselves when they are not ashamed to attack Pakistan by illegal drones?

Facebook Twitter YouTube
TAGS

Produced by Creative News Group LLC     ©2018 WNET.ORG     All rights reserved

Distributed by American Public Television