Ambassador Haqqani says despite differences Pakistan and US need each other

Ambassador Haqqani says despite differences Pakistan and US need each other

WASHINGTON: Although a spate of events has given rise to mutual distrust, there is recognition in both Pakistan and the United States that the two countries need each other, Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said.In an interview with Washington’s WTOP radio, the envoy also sought understanding of Islamabad’s perspective in the United States.Haqqani noted that two incidents this year – a unilateral U.S. action on Osama bin Laden hideout in Pakistani town of Abbottabad and the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor and- have particularly led to a negative image of the United States among people.

“When the Americans come into Pakistan in a military fashion, unilaterally with guns blazing, essentially they are creating fear amongst the populous, which instead of looking upon them as friends starts being suspicious,” he explained.“There are enough suspicions about the U.S. in Pakistan already,” said Haqqani.“There is a lot of negativity, which the U.S. needs to fight to change public opinion and win over hearts and minds, but in a circumstance like that, to do something like this, results in more negativity.

”The radio station in its account of the interview and the current ties betwween the two countries noted that the high-profile military operation that led to bin Laden’s death infuriated many Pakistanis who were already seething over what’s become known as the “Ray Davis” affair. Davis, a covert CIA employee, who was arrested and charged with killing two armed men on Jan. 27.

According to Haqqani, that too was handled in a careless manner by the U.S.“Raymond Davis killed two Pakistanis in cold blood in the city of Lahore and another Pakistani was killed when a team that was trying to rescue him overran a bicyclist. So from the point of view of the people of Pakistan, this man just killed Pakistanis (and expected to be released because of his diplomatic status),” he said.  The ambassaodr remarked, “Pakistanis continue to see America as a fickle ally Americans continue to doubt Pakistan’s commitment in eliminating all forms of terrorism from our soil. But underneath it all there is also recognition that both countries need each other.”

While critical of the U.S. handling of certain elements of the relationship,Haqqani praises Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling her, “an American with an understanding of the world that is unusually brilliant. Her manner of conducting herself with foreign governments is one of engagement with the  American interest being foremost, but an understanding of the others point of view.”

Commenting on the nature of U.S.-Pakistan relations over the course of decades,the radio noted the history suggests that pragmatism has guided the U.S. view of it relationship with Pakistan since its inception. On and off support for Pakistan, dating back to the 1950s, has been the norm. – APP