New Delhi: The love-hate relationship between Pakistan and the US came to the fore again, when President Asif Ali Zardari accused Washington of ‘supporting dictators, and manipulating and exploiting Pakistan’.
In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Zardari recalled how the US “abandoned its democratic values to support dictators and manipulate and exploit us” in recent history. In the 1980s, the US backed “General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq’s iron rule against the Pakistani people while using Pakistan as a surrogate in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. That decade turned our peaceful nation into a “Kalashnikov and heroin” society - a nation defined by guns and drugs.”
The Pakistani President further accused the US of lending a support to “the most radical elements within the Mujahideen, who would later become the Taliban and al Qaeda” in its fight against the Soviets.
“When the Soviets were defeated and left in 1989, the United States abandoned Pakistan and created a vacuum in Afghanistan, resulting in the current horror.”
Zardari further noted that the US “closed its eyes to the abuses of the dictatorship of President Pervez Musharraf” after September 11, 2001 attacks, “while doing little to help with social needs or encourage the restoration of democracy”.
Writing on growing anti-US sentiments in Pakistan, the President noted: “Public mistrust of the United States also stems from regional issues, specifically policies concerning India.”
He further linked the Kashmir problem with the Middle East conflict, asking the US to demonstrate "neutrality" and step up efforts to "mediate" on the issue between India and Pakistan.