Jul 13, 2016 — A memorandum has been sent by a high official of the US embassy in Islamabad to Washington, stating that Pakistanis at large are seized with highly unfavorable views about US government and its policies regarding Pakistan.
Sources in Washington told Daily Times that the US official in Pakistan’s capital had focused on a range of issues in the memo including democracy in Pakistan, perception gap about US between the general public and the ruling elite, social divide among the elite class and common citizens, deep-rooted hypocrisy and plight of common man in the country.
“Both the lower and the upper class are poles apart in their sentiments and views about the US,” they said quoting the US embassy official.
“Most of them are of the view that US influence in Pakistan far exceeds our real capabilities. From the highest office down to mid-level functionaries, perception becomes reality, when it comes to viewing US as the kingmaker. The dilemma for our policy is incongruence between our objectives and the popular sentiment of the people in Pakistan,” the memo read.
Regarding democracy in Pakistan, the US official said in the memo that the elected representatives come almost exclusively from elite and privileged class. Rather than representing the populace they are more like local regional ‘viceroys’ representing the federal government and their own vested interests in the regions. Most are in politics not with a sense of public service but more to maximize the opportunity to make money, which they do with total disdain. “The mainstream political parties are controlled by the founding patriarchs or their heirs.”
He said, “Military though a disciplined and well-led, is a egalitarian body with much of its leadership and rank coming from middle, lower-middle and poor classes. Their support of any move to perpetuate the rule of the elite will be at their own peril. The current military leadership is unlikely to prop the existing structure if such a conflict was to occur and possibly may even be catalytic toward such change. This is in stark departure from the past.”
“We need to take a long view and it may be worthwhile to cut our losses, uncouple from the ruling elite and align ours self with popular grassroots sentiment in the country. This would change our perception in the short term and when change does come, we, for a change, will be on the right side,” he concluded.
On broadening social divide in Pakistan the official said, “It takes unparalleled heights”, citing his first private party at a key minister’s residence where he witnessed opulent lifestyle in full contrast to the plight of those serving them.
“White gloved waiters were standing with ashtrays so that the corpulent minister and guests could smoke their Cuban cigars at will, and with utmost disdain flicker the ash at random intervals to be caught by the gloved waiter with unsurpassed skill.”
“Alcohol, which is, otherwise not in public display in this Islamic country was flowing from an open bar. Our hosts were shocked that most of the American guests did not drink. I was taken aback at the presence of so many blond Pakistani women, on inquiring was told by our bemused social secretary about the miracle of peroxide and modern hair coloring which seems to be the fashion statement of the day for well groomed (sic) modern Pakistani women.”
Terming hypocrisy as a new dimension in the Pakistani society, he said, “I was stunned to hear from a very senior political functionary about US interference in the internal affairs of the country. When pointed out that this interference could be curtailed if the government of Pakistan would refuse to take billions of dollars aid annually, his response was that monies were for services rendered in fighting terrorism.”
“Pilfering developmental funds to support the prodigious lifestyle of the ruling elite seems to be the normative. This can be only rationalized as a self-entitled narcissism of a collective of people with a rapacious appetite to loot the country,” he added.
About common man’s plight, he said that common man was mired in abject poverty and in the maelstrom of illiteracy. ‘They display a dignity and authenticity that is in stark contrast to the capriciousness of the pseudo westernized elites. The common everyday people of Pakistan display great ingenuity to survive against formidable odds”.
(Based on reporting in the Daily Times.)