Islamabad, May 26 (ANI): Conspiracy theory is a national sport in Pakistan, where the main players - the United States, India and Israel - change positions depending on the ebb and flow of history.
Since 2001, however, the United States has taken center stage, looming so large in Pakistan's collective imagination that it sometimes seems to be responsible for everything that goes wrong here.
"When the water stops running from the tap, people blame America," the New York Times quoted Shaista Sirajuddin, an English professor in Lahore, as saying.
The problem is more than a peculiar domestic phenomenon for Pakistan. It has grown into a narrative of national victim hood that is a nearly impenetrable barrier to any candid discussion of the problems here.
In turn, it is one of the principal obstacles for the United States in its effort to build a stronger alliance with a country to which it gives more than a billion dollars a year in aid.
It does not help that no part of the Pakistani state - either the weak civilian government or the powerful military - is willing to risk publicly owning that relationship (with the US).
Nearly all of American policy toward Pakistan is conducted in secret, a fact that serves only to further feed conspiracies.
American military leaders slip quietly in and out of the capital; the Central Intelligence Agency uses networks of private spies; and the main tool of American policy here, the drone program, is not even publicly acknowledged to exist.
"The linchpin of U.S. relations is security, and it's not talked about in public," said Adnan Rehmat, a media analyst in Islamabad.
"People want simple explanations, like evil America, Zionist-Hindu alliance," said a Pakistani diplomat, who asked not to be named because of the delicate nature of the topic.
"It's gone really deep into the national psyche now," he adds.
There are very real reasons for Pakistanis to be skeptical of the United States. It encouraged - and financed - jihadis waging a religious war against the Soviets in the 1980s, while supporting the military autocrat Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who seeded Pakistan's education system with Islamists. (ANI)