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Obama Win Bad Omen for Pakistan Muslims

Published: 08/11/2012 05:18:21 PM GMT
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KARACHI - The re-election of US President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House has been received with shock and agony in Pakistan, amid expectations that the Democrat leader will pursue his policy of drone attacks (more)

KARACHI - The re-election of US President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House has been received with shock and agony in Pakistan, amid expectations that the Democrat leader will pursue his policy of drone attacks in the south Asian Muslim country.

“I believe that the bad days (for us) are not over,” Intekhab Ali Dawar, a resident of Bannu in North Waziristan, told OnIslam.net.

“There is much more to see.”Obama's Second Term: Muslims Hopes & Fears

Obama won a new four-year term in office after defeating his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

But many Pakistanis are worried that Obama's re-election will see more attacks by US drones in the country's tribal belt to hunt down Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

“He is the king of drones,” Intekhab, who has left his Sangaree village to avoid drone attacks, said in a sarcastic tone.

“His re-election means the people of United States have given him another license to kill us.

“This simply means I cannot go back to my home for next four years,” said a disappointed Intekhab, who has been living with his relatives in the suburbs of Bannu for last three years.

The US has been launching drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt near borders with Afghanistan to track down militants from Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

More than 3,000 people, including women and children, have been killed in more than 300 drone attacks in North and South Waziristan since 2004.

According to New American Foundation, and Human Rights Watch, nearly 50 percent of the drone targets were innocents.

Pakistan publicly condemns the drone attacks, terming them counterproductive vis-à-vis the so-called war on terror.

However, analysts believe that there is a tacit agreement between Islamabad and Washington whereby Pakistan publicly denounce the attacks in order to stem the growing public anger but will not take any action against them.

Bad Omen

Lutfullah Bhutto, a banker from Karachi, sees Obama's re-election as a bad omen for Pakistan.

“I don't know why Muslims still believe that he (Obama) has any soft corner for Muslims,” he told OnIslam.net.

“He is the one who has turned out to be more dangerous for Muslims, particularly for Pakistanis, more than Bush or any other US president.

“He did have called out US forces from Iraq because the US agenda was accomplished there, but he sent more troops to Afghanistan, and exported violence and bloodshed to Libya, Syria and other parts of Muslim world,” he opined.

“Believe me or not, but next four years will be a tough period for Pakistan, whether it is on diplomatic front or drone attacks.”

Dr Malik Khuda Bux, a Lahore-based medical practitioner, agrees.

“His Muslim background forces him to show something extraordinary to prove that neither he is a Muslim nor has any sympathy with them,” Malik told OnIslam.net.

He thinks that defeated Republican candidate Romney would have been better for Pakistan.

“It's not only because Republicans historically have had good ties with Pakistan, but his approach towards Pakistan was very positive and pragmatic, though he too would not have favored us at the cost of US interests,” he said, referring to Romney's pre-election debates in which he had dubbed ties with Pakistan “very important.”

Malik says that Obama's middle name “Hussein” did attract him four years ago, but no more.

“What he has done to us, a Hussein could not even think about that,” he said, citing the killing of women and children in drone attacks.

More to Come

Security and diplomatic analysts also opine that Obama's re-election augurs ill for Pakistan.

“I have witnessed Obama as a man who says rosy words, but practically he does totally adverse,” Zafar Hilali, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, told OnIslam.net.

“We should not be mesmerized or hoodwinked by his claims to bring peace and prosperity to the region.

“He (Obama) will continue his stick and carrot policy, no matter what does he claim verbally.”

Hilali does not see any lull in drone attacks in tribal areas despite international criticism and pressure.

“I rather fear that there will be more drone attacks during his second stint.”

Abdul Khalique Ali, a Karachi-based writer and analyst, shares a similar opinion.

“Obama will continue to bully Pakistani leadership,” Ali told OnIslam.net.

“We should get ready to face more drone attacks, and then in reaction, more suicide bombings,” he predicted.

Ali observed that Obama's four- year stint was the worst period for Pakistan's relations with the United States.

“I have not seen any period worst than Obama's as far diplomatic relations are concerned,” he said.

“I am not absolving Pakistan, but the way the President of a superpower has acted is unimaginable.“I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel after Obama's re-election,” he fumed.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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