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February 28, 2012

As Pakistani parliament postpones a crucial review session of its terms of engagement with Washington to next month, the country’s bloggers continue to debate Islamabad’s worsening relations with the US.

Image: dapd

On Monday, the Pakistani parliament delayed its decision to review its relations with Washington. The session was originally scheduled to be held on February 14 and 15 but was postponed after the US congressman Dana Rohrabacher tabled a bill in the US Congress demanding the right of self-determination for the people in Baluchistan, Pakistan’s troubled western province facing a protracted separatist movement. The Pakistani government condemned the bill as interference in Pakistan’s affairs.

However, the US and Pakistani governments did not cease their efforts to improve relations. Last week, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and her US counterpart Hilary Clinton met in London on the sidelines of an international conference on Somalia. After the conference, Khar told the media the Pakistani parliament discuss reopening to NATO convoys the Afghan border, which had been blocked after a NATO strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar met with her US counterpart Clinton in London last weekImage: AP

Despite these diplomatic efforts, there are no signs that US-Pakistani relations will get better in coming days. The anti-US sentiment in Pakistan is intense, and the Islamist organizations seem to be cashing in on the situation.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani media, independent bloggers and commentators incessantly debate anything and everything related to the US and NATO.

What bloggers say

A Karachi-based journalist and social critic Nadeem Farooq Paracha talks about US-Pakistani relations in his blog for the online edition of Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily. Highly critical of the Pakistan Army, Paracha writes, “… in return for its support to the ‘war on terror,’ Pakistan got its sanctions lifted and received about 10 billion dollars in aid since 2001, primarily military.”

Reacting to Paracha’s blog, Haroon says, “We are a nation in self-denial: For the last 64 years, we’ve been relying on American aid and still want to pretend we hate the Yankees.”

Another blogger Raja G. Mujtaba, writing for the blogging website Opinion Maker, believes that “the US is pushing hard (on Pakistan), and in doing so violating Pakistan’s sovereignty.” The blogger is also critical of Afghanistan and India, saying Afghan President Hamid Karzai “is acting to appease the US and India.”

Blogging for The Pakistan Update website, Rizwan Ghani looks at US-Pakistani ties from an economic perspective, stating that “Pakistan’s policy towards US is driven by its financial crisis, increasing oil prices, and also to avert any military conflict.” The writer is of the view that if it were not for financial reasons, the US and Pakistan have nothing in common.

Author: Aasim Saleem
Editor: Shamil Shams