ISLAMABAD: Anti-American protests by religious parties broke out in several Pakistani cities on Friday, a day after political leaders joined in rejecting US accusations that Islamabad was supporting militants.
Charges by a top US general that Pakistan's spy agency had supported this month's attack on the US mission in Kabul has added to anti-American sentiment in a country where a poll in June showed that almost two-thirds of the population considered the United States an enemy.
“The prevailing view in Pakistan is that because of our alignment with the United States, our problems have increased,” said Talat Masood, a retired general and military analyst.
“America's view is the opposite: 'Because you are not aligning yourself with us, your problems are increasing.'” “This,” he said, “is the whole dilemma at the moment.”
In Hyderabad, about 900 people from an anti-Shia group whose militant arm has been accused of killing thousands of Pakistani Shia's since the 1990s, burned an effigy of US President Barack Obama and chanted “America is a murderer”.
In Lahore, at least 800 people protested at the headquarters of the Jamaat Islami (JI), Pakistan's biggest religious party.
“Go, America, Go!” rose from the angry crowd. Another protest by JI in Peshawar, northwest of Islamabad, drew around 200 people.
They walked a donkey over an American flag laid on the road, and chanted “America's Graveyard Waziristan, Waziristan”, referring to the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan that is a hotbed of militant groups.