WASHINGTON: Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon has said if the US wants to stop the attacks on American embassies, it should give due respect to Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
“What happened in Pakistan is a manifestation of the people of the country as the government of Pakistan has nothing to do with the anti-Islam demonstrations,” Haroon told CNS News. “If the government of Pakistan is acquiescent to what is happening there, its law enforcing agencies wouldn’t be firing teargas and bullets at the protestors,” he remarked.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, flanked by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, thanked the Pakistani government for protecting the US missions in the country and lamented the deaths during the protests.
Commenting on the overall Pak-US relationship, Mr Haroon lamented that American aid was too often given for military equipment and not enough to help Pakistan bring its people out of abject poverty.
Asked about the large US aid that goes to Pakistan, Haroon responded angrily saying that he considered a ‘punitive relationship,’ where Pakistan “is still a scapegoat.” “We don’t need your money, we don’t need your aid,” he said, adding that the Pakistani government needed preferential trade as the US had given to Jordan and Egypt.
“Let’s be honest about it,” he said and added, “It’s a punitive relationship, where if we do the right thing, we get rewarded; and, the moment we try to think for ourselves, we get banged over the head with a brick or a stone or a stick. I don’t think that is an equitable relationship.”
Asked about Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, he said, “Every country worries about sovereignty. We have him because we value our national security; he should have come to us, this is what our government’s point of view has.”
The Pakistani diplomat said that there was a great deal of hostility the Pakistani people had to American policy because of the drone attacks against the civilians; the removal of Osama bin Laden without Pakistani consent; and the belief that the US had supported governments in the world that did not distribute wealth to its people. He said that things were not always that way.
“The Muslim world has been entirely very friendly to America and the West. The Muslim world has a strong people-to-people belief at one moment and then the people-to-people belief has moved away and become more of a government-to-government belief and then, oppressive governments have been given what people would view as a licence by the West or America, which then started creating the problem,” he maintained.
“They would ask: Why am I poor? Because the Americans don’t treat me right. Why don’t I have medicine for a dying child? It is because the Americans have squeezed the money out of us. It is not the truth, necessarily, but it is the perception. And, nobody tried to reach out. You had some great institutions that used to reach out at one time in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but they are not there today, Haroon concluded.