Revisiting U.S.-Pakistan Relations in Light of Earthquake Relief

Category: Asia, World Affairs Topics: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Pakistan, Public Opinion Views: 7291

So much for the popularly peddled view that anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is so pervasive and deep-rooted it might take generations to alter. A new poll from Pakistan, a critical front-line in the war on terror, paints a very different picture -- by revealing a sea-change in public opinion in recent months.

Long a stronghold for Islamic extremists and the world's second-most populous Muslim nation, Pakistanis now hold a more favorable opinion of the U.S. than at any time since 9/11, while support for al Qaeda in its home base has dropped to its lowest level since then. The direct cause for this dramatic shift in Muslim opinion is clear: American humanitarian assistance for Pakistani victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake that killed 87,000. The U.S. pledged $510 million for earthquake relief in Pakistan and American soldiers are playing a prominent role in rescuing victims from remote mountainous villages.

Released today, the poll commissioned by the nonprofit organization Terror Free Tomorrow and conducted by Pakistan's foremost pollsters ACNielsen Pakistan shows that the number of Pakistanis with a favorable opinion of the U.S. doubled to more than 46% at the end of November from 23% in May 2005. Those with very unfavorable views declined to 28% from 48% over the same period. Nor is this swing in public opinion confined to Pakistan. A similar picture is evident in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Again that's largely because of American generosity in the wake of a natural disaster. A February 2005 poll by Terror Free Tomorrow showed that 65% of Indonesians had a more favorable opinion of the U.S. as a result of American relief to the victims of last December's tsunami. If these changes in Pakistan and Indonesia influence thinking in other countries, then we could be looking at a broader shift in public sentiment across the Muslim world.

While support for the U.S. has surged, there's also been a dramatic drop in support for Osama bin Laden and terrorism. Since May, the percentage of Pakistanis who feel terrorist attacks against civilians are never justified has more than doubled to 73% from less than half, while the minority who still support terrorist attacks has also shrunk significantly. There's been a similar increase in the number of Pakistanis disapproving of bin Laden, which rose to 41% in November up from only 23% in May.

The important point is that direct contact with Americans on a humanitarian mission, including military personnel, has a positive impact on how Muslims view America. In Pakistan, 78% of those surveyed said that American assistance has made them feel more favorable to the U.S. America also fared much better in the opinion of ordinary Pakistanis than the other Western countries that also provided aid, or even local radical Islamist groups that made a much-publicized effort to provide earthquake relief.

That doesn't mean there isn't still more work to be done. The Muslim "street" is still not sold on specific American policies, with the poll finding the Pakistani public now opposes current U.S. policy in the war on terror by a larger margin than in May. But the overall message from Pakistan, pointing towards a potential trend in the Muslim world in general, is a positive one. By cutting out the middlemen who all too often portray a poisonous image of the U.S., direct American engagement in humanitarian assistance not only ensures its aid reaches those in need, but can also play a powerful role in marginalizing the foot-soldiers for bin Laden and other supporters of extremist Islamic causes.

Mr. Haqqani is director of Boston University's Center for International Relations and author of "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military" (Carnegie, 2005). Mr. Ballen served as counsel to the House Iran-Contra Committee and the speaker of the House, and is president of Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization in Washington.

  Category: Asia, World Affairs
  Topics: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Pakistan, Public Opinion
Views: 7291

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Older Comments:
Helping in a good cause is the best reward. Which is quite fortunate for America. Because by now the rest of the world can see what they would do well to remember about America either at war or at peace. Nowhere in the world is so far from America that America cannot poke itself in the eye from there. Apparently no matter how much it costs to be able to do so. Or whether doing so hurts this week's allies, last week's allies or those who have been allies even longer.

Also it seems the only sort of war won by 'drive-by shootings' is the sort waged by gangsters. Even when they manage to hit the target. Whether the target might be in NYC or NWFP.

I am a Pakistani, living in the U.S, and I have to agree with what other people have also said about this article, that it is shameful that a Muslim country is on the U.S's side, a country that is waging war against Muslims, defending it by saying "The War on terrorism" This is all a big joke. U.S. just uses these countries who are shallow enough to support it, and use them as puppets to kill even more Muslims. The whole objective of this war on terrorism is to kill Muslims. the U.S. president even referred to it as "Holy War", but quickly took it back after some people raised e few eyebrows on it. All Im saying is that Pakistan is not helping itself nor other Muslim countries by joining with the U.S., because after using Pakistan for whatever it needs, it's going to turn its back and destroy it.

To Paul, That is not a very nice thing to say. Even though Hudd has been rude (to be kind) to me, I wish him and his family no harm. Why do you wish me harm. Good day Paul, and I wish you and your family the best.

Hudd & Doin Phine,

'A plague on both your houses' ...

...until you see that your morals are the same and 'We Are One'.


P.S. when I was young and more nave, one of the most stupid things I asked was 'Why study history when science is the future', the reply was...

...'We learn from our mistakes, so that we don't repeat them. We build on our achievements, so that we can evolve.'

To Hudd, another Albert Einstein quote
"I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it."

You stated that not wearing a scarf is a crime againt Islam. Is that in the Koran, or the Sharia? I want to show it to all my friends.

Irshad Manji is promoting a Muslim concept of Ijtihad. Which I believe to be worthy of great merit. Again, just because she wants to improve Islam, you call her an Islam hater. No room for discussion with you. In the West discussion is welcomed.

Under your dictionary version of "brother" I don't see one definition that would make us brothers!

Under you dictionary version of "friend", I could only see the third definition of friend (one that favours or promotes something perceivede as good)that would be applicable to me, relative to you. So thank you I take that as a compliment!

However I would kindly like to state my version of brother and friend, are the mostly widely used and understood by English speaking peoples.

Finally the main reason I'm responding to you is that I would like to know more of Mr.Jamal Badawi. I'm always interested in learning about great people. I don't know of him, but since you seem to have such a deep respect for what he has done, I would like to learn.

Thank you and have a great day!

PS: You put in your last comment to me two things showing lack of respect.

"you chose again imbecility over reason, I feel sorry for you. Now I get it. It's not your fault. You came into the world with this disability"

"How thick is the bone in your skull, bro"

Does the Koran say something about being respectful to all people, or is that just reserved for Muslims. Just wondering. ;-)

Mister Doin, you chose again imbecility over reason, I feel sorry for you. Now I get it. It's not your fault. You came into the world with this disability. Still your quote from Einstein doesn't prove him an atheist by any sane judgement. He just reveals the fact that if people act on their fear alone, the human virtue is down the drain and thus "we are a sorry lot indeed". I couldn't agree more. A great woman in Islam has a poem that shares into Einstein quote. However, this woman, Rabiyah al-Adawiyah was preceding Einstein by a thousand years. She said:"O God(Allah), if my worship to You is because I lust for Paradise, close the gates of Paradise in front of me for ever! O God if my worship to You is out of fear for the helfire, open the gates of Hell and put me to abide in there for ever! Because my worship to You, O God, Ruler of the Universe, is out of pure love and gratitude for the world You have created and Your just Way-Islam!"

I don't have a cause. I have a way of living, even Islam. I don't need to support it. It supports itself and God is its keeper.

Irshad Manji ain't Muslim. Not wearing hijab(the scarf) is haram=unlawfull/criminal/unislamic., no Muslim woman could have any Islamic authority or weight if she was in haram=crime. She is known in the Muslim world as an Islam-basher, same like Salman Rushdie. Again you proved your stand as being with those that bash or hurt Islam.

Your English knowledge is limited, my friend. The most authoritive American dictionary is Merriam Webster:

BROTHER=3:a fellow member4:one of a type similar to another5:kinsman-one sharing common racial or national origin.

FRIEND:2:one that is not hostile;one that is of the same nation,race,party or group 3:one that favours or promotes something perceivede as good 5:a favoured companion;a person sharing into the same hobby or activity.

Which part of the two definitions of brother and friend you don't understand? How thick is the bone in your skull, bro

To Hudd,
You ask me to Respect Muslims, and I do. If I discuss Ideology it doesnt show disrespect, just an interest in an exchange of ideas. Not agreeing with somebody is not disrespect. However you show no respect to anything except Islam. Be it Christian, Hindu, or Atheist.

I know there is confusion on the beliefs of Einstein, but he was definetely Atheist. A Quote of his.

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."


So you comment to me stating " Your ignorance is painful. Einstein wasn't an atheist." Is wrong, plain and simple.

However please tell me about Jamal Badawi, I have never heard of him, and I would like to know.

There is no doubt there are great Muslims all over the world. I dont see why you would want to pin a label like that on me. Also If I dont agree with the ideology of Islam, you should defend it without insulting me, it doesnt help your cause, only hurt it.

I know of Irshad Manji, I find that she is a Muslim that I have great respect, and I wish her the very best of luck in her "Project Ijtihad".

Also to state that I'm anti-arab when I disagree with the ideology of Islam, is really twisting things. As far as I know There are Muslims that are not arab, and there are Arabs who are not Muslim. So try to make me look bad, but it is you who is wrong.

I could discuss your other comments made to me and others, but to be quite frank, I'm bored and have found more intellectual ways of exchanging ideas with people with more of an open mind.

Good luck, and I wish you the best.

ps. you keep calling me brother and ami (friend).

Below definition of brother and friend.

Brother: A male having the same parents as another or one parent in common with another.
Friend: A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Lang

There isn't such a thing as western education, it is rather "western academic system of intellect programming of politically correct lies. All what you were taught was a carload of lies."

Man is free to work out his destiny? Are you on Mexican mushrooms, mon ami? Did you achieve what you started for, huh? Are you the man you wanted to be? You know the saying," Man plans, God destines." I wonder, do you believe the crap that is coming out of your mouth?

Here we differ enormously, I have no respect whatsoever for an atheist. An atheist is like a headless chicken, pointless and without direction.

Since this is an Islamic site, I want to see from you next quoting great Muslims that did a lot of good in the world for the profit of mankind. We have legendary Muslims over here in North America, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, a Canadian one, Jamal Badawi , etc. I want you to mention them, like that you will indicate that you were not another Islamophobic supplanter and you appreciate all people and racism is not your middle name. Because, face it, you cannot approach us with an anti-Islamic attitude and crass racism against Arabs or any other Islamic nation. You are on Islamic turf, give us due respect, bro!

To get recognition, recognize us as Muslims and as valuable members of the universal human family. If it didn't get it through your brain yet, know this: We Muslims are here to stay and multiply at a rate that threw the scares even into the "brave nation" of Israel. We are not going to change our ways, but we are going to change the way people think around us, step by step, generation by genreration. We Muslims are the last safe-gardians of morals, ethics and truthfulness. People from all walks of life, from all religions are fed up with the lies their government fed them on through the media or their calculated brainwashing through the so-called educational system. They look for us, Muslims, for guidence and direction out of an era of chaos and decade

Doin, mon ami, neither Mrs. Theresa nor Mahatma Gandhi could ever be categorized as perfect. Perfect is only one, that's God, and One is He only. Why did you choose the term "perfect" when neither of us mentioned it before? You want by all means to start a new brawl with me? Undeniable? Everything is deniable if even God was denied by soft-brained people like yourself. Now in absence of God, people like yourself try to deify humans. No wonder, Christians believe a man, Jesus Christ,pbuh, to be a God! Mrs. Theresa was a stupid woman from Albania that licked her way up to a senile pope who canonized her as a saint after the end of her futile earthen existence. The majority of the saints were known bastards and ruthless enemies of progress and research and discoveries. Therefore, Catholic saints have no meaning for me. They certainly don't value a frosted onion for you too, since you are an atheist, remember? Now I told you what Mrs. Theresa practiced, do you consider that a good deed? And you expect me to respect you for being a hypocrite?

The president of Iran did not cause the WWII holocaust, but he knows who caused the Palestinian holocaust. A people that suffered at the hands of the Nazis,e.g., the Zionists Israelis, became callous to human suffering and exercise their diabolic extermination plans on a nation that received them with open arms. Do you wonder over suicide bombers? I don't. If would've subjected Mahatma Gandhi to the humiliation the Israelis practice on the Palestinians, he would've become a suicide bomber himself.

Let me translate into plain words what you are meaning. You mean bad people the Muslims and you couldn't find one Muslim worthy of mentioning but you found Catholics and Jains alongside with Atheists. How on earth would you want peace and an intelligent talk when you act stupid? Your ignorance is painful. Einstein wasn't an atheist. He never denied God and never approved with the formation of the Apartheid country of Israel.

To Hudd, thanks for spelling my name properly it is appreciated. I would never say Mother Theresa, and Gandhi were perfect(check previous comment by me), but they did great good in the world. That is undeniable! I chose two religious figures to show I don't have anything against people who are religious. I have things against people who do bad things.

Unfortunately in the world there are people who deny, or minimize the Holocust (ie. President of Iran, and his fellow country man in power). He does not believe in it, even though as you say, it is a fact.

In my education in the West I have been taught about some Genocides, which unfortunately are probably only a small part of the total(Since the beginning of mankind). Most of which we know nothing about. When you say we only talk about the Genocide of the Jews of WWII, I believe that comment to be incorrect.

What about Atheists I respect highly. I will give you two names, people of great intelligence, logic, and discipline in their thinking. Albert Einstein and Richard Dawkins.

Finally a Quote from one of the most famous Agnostics (bordering on Atheist) and what he has to say about Religion and God.

My conclusion is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to natural forces, is free to work out his own destiny. The responsibility is his, and so is the opportunity. -- Bertrand Russell, "Is There a God?" 1952

Laughing out loud about Celine Dion. HE HE HE HE .... HE HE HE HE

watch again carefuly? HE HE HE HE.

Brother Hudd, are you trying to convinct Celine Dion to put Hijab? :)

OK,Doin Phine,your admonition is warranted,Doin Phine it is. I didn't know that the WWII holocaust was a matter of belief, in my books it was a matter of fact. Problem is that many other holocausts happened before and after, but somehow only the WWII holocaust seems to be worthy of mentioning by the West. This adds fuel to an already anti-Israeli animosity. Fairness would be to recognize all holocausts, including that inflicted by Israel on Palestinians along with that suffered by the Lybians at the hands of the Fascist Italians, Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans, that of the Tutsis at the hands of the Hutus,etc. But of course, in the eyes of the West only the holocaust done to the "chosen" nation is important and worthy of mentioning. only.What more racism than this is needed for igniting a universal resentment?

What is this?"Concerning your story, an atheist would find them both misguided, so it is not the best story to convince me of anything." Considering your comment your choice of "famous" people is quite hilarious. Both, Mrs Theresa(she wasn't my mother, I shouldn't call her that) and Mahatma Gandhi were religious figures that acted on their specific religious agenda. Mrs Theresa was a confused but ardent Catholic that shared into Crusader ideology and went to India to convert the Hindu to Catholicism. She would deny starving and ailing orphan children any help unless they accepted baptism in the Catholic faith. How does this fit in your atheistic agenda? Are you trying to pull my leg? Mahatma Gandhi was a Jain, a minority religion in mainly Hindu India. His actions were religiously motivated and he lived according to his religion. In the end a Hindu compatriot shot him dead. Was he entirely innocent?God knows best. What he achieved was remarkable,but it wouldn't work today though. Can you imagine the Israelis turning Jain and embracing the Palestinians as their brothers?Not even Gandhi achieved that. In the end he had to agree Pakistan's birth.

Thanks for the story, enjoyed reading it. I'm happy to see you believed the Holocust happened (something we can agree upon :-)).

Concerning your story, an atheist would find them both misguided, so it is not the best story to convince me of anything. if anything both these stories show me that there is no God, and men are capable of great evil. Genocide has been committed for many reasons including religion and is never acceptable! To ask an atheist to respect somebody of great faith is a non starter. I can't talk for all atheist but for me it is actions that count. For example Gandhi and Mother Therea, while not perfect or saints they are two fine examples of people while religious, they performed great acts, and helped many people. These are two people I respect highly.

Somebody of great "Faith" who doesnt do deeds to actually HELP people, are not worthy of respect.

Well if you didnt call me a pig and a monkey somebody else did. If it wasnt you, I'm sorry, but it is a rather common comment made to people who put up alternative viewpoints on the site.

None the less you not calling me by my right name when referring to me is improper and impolite(however I expect no apologies).

Celine Dion, I didn't call you either a monkey or a pig. You assumed these titles upon yourself. Fine by me, I respect your decision, you want to be known as a monkey and a pig, it's your right under the free-world's constitution and human rights charter.

Oh, what is logical and reality based for you, Celine? The US-Israeli agenda? That doesn't fit for logics and reality based with any other government of this world including that of Canada. Maybe UK government shares into this morbid ideology, Zionism, but hardly any other country.

Bragging? The media owns the bragging. They will present the bragging as news, thus it won't appear as braqgging, duh,dude!

By the way, did you read US and European history? If you did which were your sources? Petach Tikva Yeshiva school-library?

I have a little story for you.In the Nazi camp of Dachau the SS soldiers lined up the Jewish children and made them hold a 'naked'(not insulated)wire cable that was connected to a high voltage power source. Obviously for everyone there, the children were about to be executed by electrocution.A rabi from among the prisioners, that were forced to watch the event, cried out:"O God, if you exist, don't let it happen." In comparison, when Omar al Mukhtar, the great Lybian leader of the intifada against the occupying Italian Fascists,witnessed the execution of Muslim children lined up against the wall by the Fascists said:"O God,have mercy over their souls and raise them up as witnesses agaist their oppressors in Your Judgement Day."
Omar al-Mukhtar was merely a school teacher, his office in matters of religion cannot be compared with that of a rabi. But even for an atheist like yourself, Omar's faith must be remarkable. The rabi on the other hand had no faith of all and commited the blasphemy of challenging God. For a surety, both group of children, Jewish and Arab will be resurected as witnesses against the Nazis and the Fascists on the Day of Judgement, Insha'allah/God willin

To HA. I think your comment telling me to grow up is a sign of your immaturity. A personal attack doesnt further your cause, only hinder it. At least you didnt call me a monkey, or a pig like some other people on this site.

Your line " U.S. gov'ts satanic plotting behind closed door", shows that you are talking in terms that are not logical or reality based.

I have not heard of any bragging by the Americans, if there was then the article on this Site called "Mosque shelter shatters stereotypes" is also bragging. Informing people and bragging is two different things, and I believe neither article could be considered bragging. I found both articles informative and interesting.

One last comment your comment about me needing to read the History of the USAEurope just shows how quick you are to make comments with absolutely no knowledge.

if pakistan thinks america is its friend...then it is clear that pakistan was the first to stretch its hands to the americans and help them hurt muslims around the world...the one thing everyone is america fighting terrorists.....or is america fighting islam...and to say that muslims hate like saying america never invaded iraq.....the aggressors...the occupiers...and the murderers.....thats the american hands...they have finally joined israel..and leading to have every arab blood possible on their hands

Hmmm! USA really cares! Wow! What a news! What an article! Whoever wrote and assembled this story = puppetts of the US gov't. NOT A WORD OF THIS CAN BE TRUSTED!

THIS is another attempt by US MEDIA/gov't to reshape its image since it has screwed up BIG TIME in IRAQ.

Poll # means nothing! SIR DOIN PHINE! YOU NEED TO GROW UP AND READ US/EUROPEAN HISTORY and U.S. gov'ts satanic plotting behind closed door. DON'T BE FOOLED/influenced BY BIG MAC AND FREEDOM FRIES.

The US even can't take care of its own citizens (Blacks all over the U.S. living in squalid conditions...people/homeless eating out of trash cans. In Yathrib, Only stray dogs eat out of trash cans, not humans.. Besides,.no help during diasters.i.e.-katrina (I,HA, saw it during my trip to the so called "CIVLIZED LAND" from Yathrib)

The help in PAKISTAN WAS JUST A SHOW!!! HERE IS a TIP FOR FEEBLE MINDED PEOPLE - When one brags too much about helping someone/somecountry, that means no help was extended...and it is not called help when you brag like the US gov't and this atricle have been bragging....


violation of Islam by condemnining USA----Muslim should know that the will commit sin if they donot say THANKS to USA--it has been declaredby ALLAH that if you donot say THANKS to peson for his any favour to you & you want to say thanks to ALLAH then ALLAH does not need your thanks
nowlet us see this quote in the present view of USA help to PAKISTAn earth quake area
USA army did a lot for us ------ so r our so called islamic scholars ready to say THANKS to USA -----if not then they r committing SIN------but it(this sin) is not new to islamic scholars--they commitsuch sins daily ----------However our muslim educated people should analyse the fact themselves (by keeping away the false teachings of scholars) that what Allah has said for saying thanks & what we r doing----we are doing clear cut violation of islam by not admiring/accepting USA role in Earth quake areas
Are Pakistani muslim engineer capable to do some thing in earth quake area NO NO the muslim engineers capability can be found by the fact that the muslim engineer does not know boiling point of water but the Islamic scholars admire such engineer

A great article showing the United States in a positive light. This article shows that Americans (And the American gov't) don't hate Muslims, as there was popular support for the aid given to Pakistan. The United states has the history of helping people in need regardless of culture/race/religion. It has even helped Japan, and Germany after World War II, their adversaries in this war. While all countries can do more to help different people in the world, including the United States, this shows that their help in this time of great need in Pakistan was greatly needed and appreciated.

Dr Haqqani,
thank you Sir for this important article who uncover the truth for us.

The Arab and moslem countries gave more than 2 billion dollars for Katrina Hurricaine's victims. the American opinion didn't change at all, the polls still the same, they still call arabs and moslems terrorists, all christian channels still curse Islam and support Israel.

since the Pakistani moslems changed their mind because of American's help, the question is: WHO HATE WHO? and why 2 billion of dollars did not have any effect on the Americans?