U.S. embassy Facebook video sparks anger from Pakistanis

After a video on how the U.S. ambassador spends his day off was posted to Facebook, hundreds of citizens take to the social network to voice their thoughts on the U.S. presence in Pakistan.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Still image from the "Sunday in Islamabad with Ambassador Olson" video, which was posted to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan's Facebook page. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

A seemingly benign promo video for the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, which was posted to Facebook on Wednesday, has sparked some angry commenter back-and-forth on the social network.

It appears that it's not necessarily what's in the video that bothers Pakistanis, but rather the reminder of the U.S. presence in Pakistan at a time when relations between the two countries are clearly strained.

The video, "Sunday in Islamabad with Ambassador Olson," shows the ambassador donned in a pink button-up and khaki slacks cruising around Pakistan's capital city chatting with people, sampling the local culinary cuisine, buying watermelon from a roadside vendor, and perusing the latest books at a local bookstore.

After being posted to the U.S. Embassy's Facebook page on Wednesday, the video has gotten more than 1,400 likes, as of this writing, but it has also gotten nearly 200 comments -- many of which are critical of the U.S. and its presence in Pakistan.

"Go back to ur country," one person wrote. While another posted, "How much was spent on this afternoon visit in terms of security??"

A common theme among the commenters is U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. "He should visit drone affected areas," one person wrote. And, there are several mentions of the different regions where many of the drone strikes have taken place.

It's not only the video that's received this type of commentary. Many of the posts on the U.S. Embassy on Pakistan's Facebook page have strings of comments referencing U.S. drone strikes and the zones that have been hardest hit.

"Where are the innocent drone victim child photos?" one person wrote Thursday on the photo of a local tailor. "They also deserve to be exhibit(ed)."

Relations between the two countries have been tense over the last few years as the U.S. has admonished Pakistan for allegedly allowing the terrorist group al-Qaeda to flourish within its borders and as Pakistan has continually asked the U.S. to halt its drone strikes in the country. According to The Washington Post, more than 350 drone strikes have hit Pakistan since 2004, leaving more than 250 civilians dead.

Before the era of social networking, it was far more difficult for citizens to opine and comment on the actions of governments. But with embassies and governments having Facebook pages, along with other social media, it's now second nature for people to like, dislike, or remark on various government actions.

Via The Washington Post.