China-Pakistan: Update. On the third day of Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to China – and the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, China warned that any attack on Pakistan would be tantamount to an attack on China, The News reported.
After the US, China is emerging as the largest beneficiary from the death of bin Laden!
Pakistan: An improvised explosive device attack against a two-vehicle US government motorcade on 20 May in Peshawar, western Pakistan, killed one Pakistani and injured 10 others, the Islamabad government said. A suicide bomber executed the attack, according to the US Embassy. No Americans were injured, though a vehicle was damaged. The Tehrik-e-Taliban claimed responsibility.
Comment: This is one of several directions in which the Pakistani Taliban are moving to avenge the death of Usama bin Laden.
Pakistan-US: Pakistan’s Punjab Province government has canceled 18 memoranda of understanding with the United States, The Nation reported 20 May, according to the province’s law minister, Rana Sanaullah. Speaking on 19 May, he said the federal government should reject foreign aid, as the province has done, and adopt a policy of self-reliance. He said Punjab’s ban on aid only applies to the United States and not China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Turkey.
Comment: This is the first wave of a growing anti-American backlash. Pakistanis in the Army and civilians blame the US for driving bin Laden into Pakistan in the first place.
Americans in Pakistan must expect that Pakistani security forces will not protect them competently, will not respond in a timely fashion to requests for help and that emergency services will not arrive on time.
That is precisely the pattern of Pakistani official behavior when Pakistani rioters burned down the US Embassy in Islamabad after an Arab shooting crisis in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that was blamed on the US. NightWatch was on duty that night in 1979. Pakistan Army troops are credited with having saved 100 US officials from the US Embassy, but that was after they and the police stood by and did nothing as the US Embassy burned and as a US Marine and another US official burned to death inside it. The British Embassy did more to rescue the 100 Americans than the Pakistanis.
The backlash against the “humiliation” of Pakistan is just beginning. The Tehrik-e-Taliban attack and the action of the Punjab provincial government are different manifestations of the same backlash, reminiscent of 1979. The American civilian community and US military personnel in Pakistan need to maintain special alert for the next few months. A drawdown of nonessential personnel – especially families with children — would be timely.
A period of re-evaluation and transition to a significantly modified and realigned Pakistani foreign policy is beginning. It will be much more hostile to the US.