NEW YORK - Pakistan's UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon says that if the US wants to stop the attacks against its embassies across the world, then it must ‘lay off our Prophet’.
"Is what happened in Pakistan a manifestation of the people of Pakistan? Yes. Of the government of Pakistan? No," Haroon said. "If the government of Pakistan was acquiescent of what is happening in Pakistan [the violence], they wouldn't be firing teargas and bullets at the protestors."
In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, flanked by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, thanked the Pakistani government for protecting the US missions in the country and lamented the deaths in the protests.
On other subjects, Haroon lamented that American aid is too often given for military equipment and not enough to help Pakistan bring its own people out from poverty.
Asked about the large US aid that goes to Pakistan, Haroon said he considered it a ‘punitive relationship’, where Pakistan ‘is still scapegoated’, he said. "We don't need your money, we don't need your aid." Rather, he said the Pakistani government needs preferential trade, as the US has given Jordan and Egypt."
The Pakistani envoy added "Let's be honest about it. It's a punitive relationship, where if we do the right thing, we get rewarded; and the moment we try to think for ourselves, we get banged over the head with a brick or a stone or a stick. I don't think that is an equitable relationship."
Asked about Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the Central Intelligence Agency track down Osama bin Laden, he said "Every country worries about sovereignty. We have him because we value our national security; he should have come to us, this is what our government's point of view."
Haroon said that there was a great deal of hostility among the Pakistani people to American policy because of the drone attacks against civilians; the removal of Osama bin Laden without Pakistani consent; and the belief that the US has supported governments in the world that did not distribute wealth to its people. He said things were not always that way.
"The Muslim world has been entirely very friendly to America and the West.
The Muslim world had a strong people-to-people belief at one moment and then the people-to-people belief moved away and became more of a government-to-government belief and then, oppressive governments were given what people would view as a licence by the West or America, which then started creating the problem.
"They would ask: Why am I poor? Because the Americans don't treat me right. Why don't I have medicine for a dying child? Because the Americans have squeezed the money out of us. It is not the truth, necessarily, but it was the perception. And, nobody tried to reach out.
You had some great institutions that used to reach out at one time in the '50s and '60s, but they are not there today."