Since the removal of Imran Khan from power, it seems that he is riding the waves of popularity and anti-Americanism. Populism and anti-Americanism are nothing new to the Pakistani political scene,...
Since the removal of Imran Khan from power, it seems that he is riding the waves of popularity and anti-Americanism. Populism and anti-Americanism are nothing new to the Pakistani political scene, nor is Imran the first to build his political capital on this sentiment. If one traces the origin of anti-Americanism in Pakistan it surely takes one back to General Ayub Khan’s book ‘Friends not Masters’, released in 1967. General Ayub was America’s favourite, and under his dictatorial rule the country was showered with American dollars, military aid and other forms of patronage. This love affair between the two countries continued till 1965, when Pakistan refused to take part in the Vietnam War on the American side.
This brought a 180 degree turn in the relations between the two countries. The Americans got upset and imposed an arms embargo on Pakistan. Since then, relations have been totally transactional, operating on a case-to-case basis. Ayub penned his widely-known book after the 1965 war, kindling early sentiments of anti-Americanism in Pakistan. This acrimony got another boost when the Americans failed to intervene on Pakistan’s behalf in the 1971 war. Most politicians since then have played-up anti-Americanism to some extent, depending on their interests.
Malik Atif Mahmood Majoka