Pakistanis view of the United States (2002-2012)
2004 – US starts drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas
2005 – Massive earthquake in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. US rushes in with a big relief effort (also pushes in CIA and JSOC operatives)
2009 – Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid bill is passed by the US, promising $7.5 bn in civilian aid to Pakistan over next five years
2010 – Worst floods in Pakistan’s history. US is top-most aid provider to Pakistan for flood relief and rehabilitation
2011 – US kills Osama bin Laden in a raid at the Pakistan military town of Abbottabad. 24 Pakistani soldiers die at Salala on the AfPak border due to US military firing
Good, bad or ugly: US actions really don’t matter. Pakistanis continue to hold the US in an unfavourable light irrespective of what DC does. The feeling has now become so deeply entrenched that no political party in Pakistan can afford to be seen on the same side as the US. Forget political parties, now even the army — which has benefitted the most from US military aid, arms, equipment and support over the last 65 years — is scared to be seen as being a partner of the US.
There could be a new President in the US, a new government in Pakistan and a new army chief at Rawalpindi next year. But none of that will change the overwhelmingly unfavourable opinion Pakistanis have of the US. If I were a betting man, I would safely bet my house on that.
[N.B. - Data for the chart from Pew surveys. Idea for the chart courtesy a CRS report]