SHEHZAD S. Shah, in his letter (Feb 22), while praising the previous American ambassador Cameron Munter’s remarks, has asked Pakistanis to be similarly honest in their assessment of the US. I am afraid he hasn’t been fair to his own motherland. He claims that our anti-Americanism is very old and then adopts an apologetic attitude by saying that the Pakistani decision to seek out an American alliance in 1947, instead of a non-aligned posture, our supplications for American aid, and unrealistically viewing the alliance as a shield against a hostile India caused our shift to animus for Washington.
I remember joining the hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who extended a memorable welcome to Vice President Eisenhower in Karachi when he visited the nation around 1958. After that Vice President Lyndon Johnson and then Mrs Kennedy, too, were very warmly received in the sixties.
I think the newly-created Pakistan, lacking economic and military means, had more valid reasons for seeking protection against the seven times bigger India in the wake of Indian occupation of territories like Junagadh and Manavadar that had opted to join Pakistan and the Pakistan friendly Hyderabad State, besides the happenings in Kashmir, than the US had against the USSR. It was only natural and fair that our core interests and not just those of Washington ought to have been safeguarded by an alliance.
The disillusionment and reaction against the US after the two wars with India of 1965 and 1971 was thus to be expected. It also seems that Mr Shah hasn't been reading your ‘50 Years Ago Today’ column of recent months that shows how the US and other western countries had rushed to India’s help with huge military aid after it initiated a fight against China. The famous British philosopher and peace activist and self-professed ‘lifetime friend’ of India, Bertrand Russell, had squarely put the responsibility for that war on New Delhi.
The columns had shown how even in those days the West had discriminated against Pakistan despite its valid concerns about arming India to the teeth. Also, the US plus some other allies were accused by many of our politicians and lawmakers of planning to separate East Pakistan in collusion with India.
But I do agree with the writer that the burning down of the US embassy in 1979 after erroneously assuming Washington to be behind the event in Makkah was wrong and condemn it. We must try to have good relations with all countries, and instead of relying on foreign aid we must be self-reliant.
QAMAR IQBAL Karachi