Sunday 11 December 2016

Pakistani official sours relations with 'trigger-happy' US

Rob Crilly in Islamabad

Published 10/08/2011 | 05:00

Pakistan's ambassador to Washington has accused the US of acting in a trigger-happy manner, alienating ordinary Pakistanis by the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

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The comments made by Husain Haqqani, a moderate figure who has to act as a bridge between the two awkward allies, emphasises how far apart the countries remain three months after the al-Qa'ida leader was killed.

"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 said in an interview with Washington's WTOP radio station.

The US Navy Seal raid in May has caused intense anger in Pakistan, where the military and civilian leadership were given no advance warning for fear the plans would be leaked.

Relations were already at a low after the US asked that a covert CIA agent arrested in January after shooting dead two Pakistani men in Lahore be released and given diplomatic immunity. A third victim was killed by a four-wheel drive vehicle sent to rescue Raymond Davis, a spy.

Since then, American diplomats have complained that they face harassment in Pakistan and delays in obtaining visas.

At the same time, Washington has increased pressure on Pakistan to launch a military offensive against militant havens in North Waziristan, one of the tribal agencies along Afghan border beyond the writ of the government in Islamabad.

Such action will become even more crucial as American troops leave Afghanistan.

Dr Haqqani said the two episodes had escalated levels of distrust but that the two nations had to try to rebuild relations.

"There are enough suspicions about the US in Pakistan already," he said.

These will not be helped by a state department travel advisory published yesterday, which warned Americans of increased harassment in Pakistan and reported that aid workers, journalists and diplomats have been wrongly outed as "spies" in the local media. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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