Pakistanis see no U.S. policy change after Obama's reelection

2012-11-09 06:20:27 GMT2012-11-09 14:20:27(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Muhammad Tahir

ISLAMABAD, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- There will be no major change in the policy of the United States towards Pakistan during the second term of President Barrack Obama, according to political analysts here.

Pakistani analysts are one in saying that four more years of Obama will mean the same U.S. policies toward their country, including the continuation of drone strikes in tribal parts of the county.

Akram Zaki, an acknowledged foreign affairs expert, said there is no possibility of extensive change in the U.S. policy towards Pakistan since the same person will be in the White House.

However, Zaki told Xinhua that a minor and positive change could happen if President Obama shows some flexibility in his stand towards Muslims as he had hinted after his first election in a conference in Egypt.

Zaki sees some hopes about the possible change in the U.S. policy towards Pakistan only if Obama changes his Cabinet team, especially the foreign and defense secretaries as some sections of the American media have reported.

According to Zaki, the U.S. is expected to be flexible towards Pakistan only if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is replaced by Senator John Kerry, who is thought to be friendlier towards Pakistan.

"But we will have to adopt the policy of wait and see and the important thing is that Pakistanis should forge consensus in our ranks to send a strong message of unity," the former diplomat said.

Another former Pakistani ambassador, Asif Ezdi, also ruled out any major change on Pakistan during the second term of President Obama and said that the U.S. president will have to take some difficult initiatives in the foreign policy, which he had not taken in his first term.

Ezdi told Xinhua that as the Afghan endgame will approach in Obama's second term, he will focus on a detailed time frame for American and NATO troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 which will also include the possible role of Pakistan.

"Pakistan will now analyze its role which will be indispensable vis-a-vis Afghanistan. Pakistan must use its leverage for other objectives," the former ambassador said. He also observed that President Obama will also focus on Iran, Syria and ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have expressed confidence in their messages of congratulations that the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. would continue to prosper during President Obama's new term.

Pakistani leaders also said they looked forward to working closely with President Obama towards the shared objective of peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region.

Opposition leader, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also congratulated Obama on his reelection, hoping that relations between the two countries would get better during his second term.

Leaders of some other Pakistani parties also welcomed Obama's reelection and hoped for a better change in bilateral relationship in the coming years.

But former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has openly urged President Obama to stop drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions.

Most people in Pakistan also are of the opinion that there will be no change in the U.S. policy in Obama's second term, referring to remarks by President Obama and his rival Mitt Romney during their hectic election campaign.

Obama and Romney were unanimous in saying that drone strikes in Pakistan, a major irritant in bilateral relationship for years, would continue.

This clearly shows the prospects of an unchanged U.S. mood towards Pakistan under Obama's second term, most analysts said.

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