I assume readers of HLSWatch are otherwise accessing the extensive news reports on the Secretary of State’s mission to Pakistan. I was struck by the following small piece by the Associated Press. It was published on the front-page of Saturday’s edition of DAWN, a Pakistani English-language daily.
ISLAMABAD, Oct 21: Washington’s troubled relationship with Islamabad has triggered plenty of heartburn for US officials, but rarely side-splitting laughter.
That changed on Friday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton erupted in amusement during a town hall meeting in Islamabad when a participant described the US as Pakistan’s impossible to please mother-in-law.
“We all know that the whole of Pakistan is facing the brunt of whatever is happening and trying to cooperate with the US, and somehow the US is like a mother-in-law which is just not satisfied with us,” said a woman who identified herself as Shamama and elicited a round of applause from the crowd.
“We are trying to please you, and every time you come and visit us you have a new idea and tell us, ‘You are not doing enough and need to work harder’,” said Shamama, who works for a women’s group in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Laughing at length, Ms Clinton said she could personally relate to the woman’s perspective because she too was a mother-in-law. The secretary of state’s daughter, Chelsea, married an investment banker last year in New York.
“I think that’s a great analogy I have never heard before,” Ms Clinton said. “Now that I am a mother-in-law, I totally understand what you’re saying and hope to do better privately and publicly.”
She said: “I personally believe this relationship is critical, important to us both, and therefore we cannot give it up. Once a mother-in-law always a mother-in-law, but perhaps mothers-in-law can learn new ways also.“