The events of 9/11 represented a critical threshold in Pakistan’s foreign policy. General Musharraf was among the first foreign leaders to have received a clarion call from Washington. “You are either with us or against us” was the massage[1]. With its own post independence political history replete with endemic crises and challenges that perhaps no other country in the world had ever experience, Pakistan stood there aghast already burdened with a legacy of multiple challenges, both domestic and external, when the tragedy of 9/11 presented it with new ominous realities, and also an opportunity to think anew and act anew [2]. Pakistan faced the worst dilemma of its life. It did not know which way to go and which way not to. Terrorism became world’s foremost and “unifocal” concern transcending all other global challenges.

US-Pakistan relations in historic perspective:

Over the last six decades relations between Pakistan and US have seen many ups and downs, punctuated by intense engagement by and strong distinct estrangement. Each country has tried to influence other with its own peculiar needs. Pakistan once viewed, as the most allied ally when suited to US interest in 1950s, became the most sectioned ally of the US in 90s. The intensity of relations varied from one extreme to that of completely ignoring the other as in 1971, to that of urgent action as was seen immediately after the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in December 1979 or during the war on terrorism after 9/11[3]. A new era of US-Pakistan relations started after the event of 9/11. Pakistan took u-turn towards Afghanistan[4]

Anti Americanism in the Muslim world:

Since September 2001 till today, that is, just within nine years the US has lost much of its good will and probably all of its moral foundations essentially because of its foreign policy, its imperialistic attitude of not listening to its allies and its outright disdain for international law, erosion of its moral ground and imposition of its own culture and values upon others. Botched diplomacy, imperialistic policies and brutal expression of its power have left legacy of resentment, fear and anxiety especially in the Muslim World[5].

Many Muslims also stressed that Israel’s political and territorial strength has not exactly been domestically resourced. It has developed rather as a rentier state, depending heavily on outside, specifically American, assistance. From 1949 to 2002 US grants to Israel totaled over $ 87 billion and from 1991 the annual amount registered a dramatic rise, reaching a little more than $4 billion in the fiscal year of 2000.  Further Muslims hold that the US has persistently overlooked that its sides with the state that has been progressively taken over by Jewish extremists[6].

From 1945 to 2003, the US attempted to overthrow than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many million more to a life of agony and despair[7]. America treats itself above all laws and conventions. Its shameless invasion of Iraq, the merciless massacre of its innocent civilians and horrific torture of suspects swelled the ranks of American-haters and created many a suicide bombers[8].

When the US indulges in military adventures abroad, it is not free of reaction at home. People within the US have been influenced by an increasing appreciation of what their country represents to the outside world[9].

Post 9/11 challenges faced by Pakistan:

Pakistan faced worst dilemma of life. It seemed as Pakistani president and officials have become the sole spokesmen for the US in threatening the Taliban and want to convey that our cooperation in the US lead effort is unconditional and we would not even let our national interest and integrity come in way of this cooperation. In Musharraf own words, 9/11 “came as a thunderbolt” presenting acute challenges as well as opportunities[10].

The important challenges faced by Pakistan in changed world scenario after 9/11 events are Pakistan nuclear program, Kashmir issue, anti terrorism movement, and the economy of Pakistan, indo-US strategic and civil cooperation agreements, a ten years defense pact, a nuclear agreement and agreement on civil nuclear cooperation[11]. The situation in Pakistan has assumed many alarming proportions as the suicide bombers that once targeted the American soldiers and Western installations in Afghanistan has turned their guns towards Pakistan[12].

Pakistani forces are fighting against terrorists and insurgents on its own soil. Drone attacks on our people by US led forces have become daily routine. US special operations forces seemed in FATA to provoke Pakistan army to launch full scale attack in North Waziristan[13].

The latest act of terrorism has ensured that Pakistani living America will again be singled out in their workplace, recreational centers, school, colleges, restaurants, trains, buses, and even on the streets[14]. Pak army are fighting against terrorists and all these thorns will be gradually weeded out from our garden, our Pakistan[15].


A proxy war is being fought on our soil. PAKISTAN IS THE ONLY Muslim country with an ongoing military operation against its own people. We have brought the anti-Taliban war into Pakistan which puts our armed forces on the wrong side of the people. Our sovereignty is being violated with impunity. Our freedom of action in our own interest is being questioned and undermined. We are accepting the responsibility for crimes we have not committed. Our problems are further implicated by the complex regional configuration with American sitting in Afghanistan, new Indo-US nexus and Indian increasing influence in Afghanistan. Our domestic failures have seriously constricted our foreign policy options. Our problems are not external but domestic. We need domestic consolidation, politically, economically and socially.

[1] Pervez Musharraf, In the Line of Fire (New York: Free Press, 2006), p. 201.  

[2] Shamshad Ahmad, “Post-9/11 Turnaround”, World Times, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2008), p. 7.

[3] Qadar Baksh Bloch, “Engagement and Estrangement in US-Pakistan Relations”, The Dialogue, (Peshawar: Quarterly Journal) Vol. 1, No. 4 (2006), p. 28.

[4] “Pakistan Foreign Relations” (Islamabad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2002), p. 77.

[5] Qadar Bakhsh Bloch, “American Intervention in the Muslim World: Before and Beyond 9/1”, The Dialogue, (Peshawar: Quarterly Journal) Vol. 1, No .3 (2006), p. 1.

[6] Amin Saikal, Islam and the WEST: Conflict or Cooperation? (United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 90.

[7] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (London: Zed Books, 2003), p. 352.

[8] S.G. Jilanee, “Why They Love To Hate America?”, South Asia, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2010), p. 17.

[9] Ishrat Saleem, “Americans Against American Policies”, Daily Times (May 5, 2010), p. 5.

[10] “Pakistan Chronology” (Islamabad: Ministry of Information and Media Development, 2001-2008), p. 55.

[11] Sajjad Shaukat, “Defence Day: We Are At War”, The Post (September 7, 2009), p. 5.

[12] Shabbir Chaudhry, “Suicide Bombing”, World Times, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2008), p.16.

[13] Javed Hussain, “A War Without End”, Dawn (May 3, 2010), p. 7.

[14] Anjum Niaz, “Good News and Bad”, The News (May 5, 2010), p. 7.

[15] Muhammad Amjad, “A tribute to Our Shuhada”,  Pakistan Observer (May 5, 2010), p. 5.


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