The same US President

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In October, BBC carried out an opinion poll to find out how rest of the world rates the two American presidential candidates —- Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney. As per the survey results, 50 percent of the 21,797 people in 21 countries favoured Obama while only 9 percent voted for Romney. Results from Pakistan were quite interesting – 14 percent favoured Romney while 12 percent preferred Obama. However, the rest of the 74 percent Pakistani voters were either undecided or said that it doesn’t matter much for Pakistan who is going to be sitting in Oval Office for next four years.
In my opinion, it’s quite fair for Pakistanis to take that line as we should not expect that the US president will manoeuvre his policies in favour of Pakistan while shelving his own country’s interests. He will continue to demand that Pakistan shall take firm and decisive action against different terrorist groups who are either attacking Afghan and NATO forces or helping out their counterparts in Afghanistan. He will continue to question sharp rise in religious extremism and intolerance towards different sects and religious minorities in Pakistan.
Now it’s up to us whether we consider the ongoing war on terror as our own war or not. After a loss of 40,000 civilian and military personnel, getting front line soldiers’ throats silted in an open challenge to military, attacks on army headquarter, naval and air bases, destruction of hundreds of schools, loss of billions of dollars in fighting insurgents, creating a sense of insecurity among local and foreign investors, if we don’t own this as our war then no one on earth can stand next to us other than the terrorists. We can’t hide behind the assumption that ongoing terrorism is linked with drone attacks and peace will return to the region as soon NATO forces leave. Pakistan has been suffering with terrorists’ attacks long before the first drone attack in 2007.
As of now American public has also endorsed what the outside world opined in the BBC survey, we shall not expect any let up in the Af-Pak matters unless we decide what’s really good for the country and the region. If we leave this decision to religious and right-wing political leaders, then we will continue to suffer, no matter who is there in the White House.
MASOOD KHAN
Jubail, Saudi Arabia