Obama and Pakistan

My pal Beena Sarwar in Pakistan has a piece   out on the Inter Press Service News Agency website about the mixed feelings there about Obama.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Pakistanis grudgingly share the global excitement of Mr. Obama’s victory,” contends Islamabad-based political analyst Nasim Zehra, “Grudgingly, because many have not forgotten his campaign rhetoric of possibly attacking Pakistani territory to combat terrorism.”

Former newspaper editor and ambassador to Washington Maleeha Lodhi, currently a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, told a television anchor that such rhetoric may perhaps have been an attempt to “act and sound tough on Afghanistan and Pakistan” since Obama had opposed the war in Iraq.

However, as Zehra points out, Pakistanis, who have a greater understanding of the complexity of the terrorism problem and bear the high costs of this violence, “found Obama’s resolve to attack their territory both aggressive and naïve.” As many as 3,000 military and paramilitary and many more thousands of civilians have been killed over the last five years as the ‘war on terror’ has escalated.

“This notwithstanding, Pakistanis at the same time hope for and expect Obama, as president, to be more patient, wiser and more multilateralist in the conduct of US foreign policy. There is also expectation in Pakistan that behind his combative electioneering rhetoric exists a more informed outlook that will determine America’s choices,” says Zehra.

Look for more on this topic later today from The World‘s Aaron Schachter in Islamabad.


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