The US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, met in Lahore last Friday with a number of Pakistani parliamentarians as US drone missiles were attacking targets in North Waziristan killing at least 11 people. It was the ninth drone attack so far this year to be carried out by the US drones.
Holbrooke was furious when parliamentarians demanded that the drone attacks should be stopped as they were causing massive civilian casualties and creating bad image for the United States.
Holbrooke was once nicknamed "the Bulldozer" for his role in the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended three years of war in Bosnia. Holbrooke has long served as one of the most ruthless American diplomat and perhaps he is testing his skills in his role as US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Not surprisingly he is called "American Viceroy of Pakistan" by many media outlets in Pakistan.
His furious response to the criticism of US policy was that Pakistanis are ungrateful people.
Holbrooke said the US was making sincere efforts for the wellbeing of the underprivileged people of Pakistan which are not being admitted by the Pakistanis. He was alluding to the 7.5 billion dollars US pledged to Pakistan in the next five years.
The US aid is attached by humiliating conditions imposed unilaterally on the country despite protests even by the Pakistani Parliament. Also, there is a general perception in Pakistan that 80% of any US aid goes back to US in the form of expert advice etc and the rest 20% lands in the pockets of government's functionaries. There are now popular demands by media and politicians that the US-installed Zardari government should reject the US aid package attached with capitulating terms.
Holbrooke's visit to Pakistan came at a time when relations between Washington and Islamabad are witnessing signs of strains on the activities of US diplomats and US contractors.
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