Already accused of being in league with the US government and facing a major investigation over a “coup memo” Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari must’ve been asking what else could go wrong. Then US warplanes attacked Pakistani military posts in the Mohmand Agency, killing 24.
And with NATO officials trying to balance precariously on the fence between “self-defense” and “oops,” major anti-US rallies are being held nationwide with growing calls for the government to cut off all ties with the Obama Administration.
For Zardari its a bad choice and comes at the worst possible time, leaving his already shaky regime with the choice of cutting ties with the international backers that have mostly kept them in power, or once again giving fuel to the opposition to demand early elections that would almost certainly force him out of office.
In the meantime, broadcasts of the funerals of the 24 slain soldiers are filling TV screens across Pakistan, ensuring that the public does not quickly forget about the attack.
Resentment against the US was already high, between the Raymond Davis murders earlier this year and the unilateral attack that killed Osama bin Laden. For many in Pakistan, the Mohmand strikes are just the latest in a pattern of behavior by US forces, one which has brought the nations once again to the verge of open hostilities.
And while the Zardari government will probably try as hard as they can to not make any major moves, the killings may well leave Pakistan’s political landscape permanently changed, and must inevitably make pro-US positions more unpopular than they already are.