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CASA-1000 deal with Tajikistan disastrous for Pakistan’

CASA-1000 deal with Tajikistan disastrous for Pakistan’

Chinese offer is the best option for Pakistan.CASA-1000 deal will make $ in Billions for Corruption Laden Nawaz Sharif Family

By Khalid Mustafa June  23, 2016
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms termed CASA-1000 deal with Tajikistan disastrous and detrimental.  Pakistan’s electricity consumers will pay the mammoth amount of $1.5 billion in 30 years and will have to pay $50 million as transit fee to Afghanistan each year.
The Planning Commission also says that the transmission charge of US cents 2.91 is ten times higher than that of Pakistan’s (National Transmission Dispatch Company) NTDC and 3 times higher than that in Europe and the present CASA tariff is around Rs10 per kWh which is higher than the putative benefits claimed for this project originally.
This is expected to escalate as the feasibility study has been done in 2011. The Energy Wing of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms in its submission to Nepra of which copy is available with The News has exposed the claims of Ministry of Water and Power that it has inked a good deal under CASA-1000.
It also unfolds that current hydro tariff in Pakistan is under 2.5 cents and identical is the case for hydro power tariff in India. Internationally, power purchase agreement parting to wind power and others have been signed in the US is around 2.5 cents.
And at present, Afghanistan is being supplied energy from three different countries in the region. “Kabul imports 500GWh at 3.5 cents per unit from Tajikistan, 200GWh from Iran at 4 cents per unit (including aid of 1 cents/unit) and from Turkmenistan at 3 cents per unit. “This is the main reason that Afghanistan is not very much interested in CASA project as it has surrendered the costly electricity of 300MW in the favour of Pakistan,” argues the Planning and Development Ministry.
The project being implemented, Energy Wing suggest, is quite different from the assumptions of the feasibility study by SNC LAVLIN which created and justified the project in the first place. The cost of supply of US1.5 cents per unit from Tajikistan had been assumed in the feasibility study while actual agreement is based on US5.15 cents per unit. In our view, the Planning Commission says, either average cost or hydro tariff should have been used, which would result in much less benefit-cost ratio.
The Energy Wing in its observation also says that the cost of the project excluding IDC (interest during cost) is estimated at $873 million based on current market conditions which may change over time in response to market volatility. And the CASA-1000 transmission project will transmit 1,300MW of surplus hydel power generated in the Central Asian States i.e. Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The total distance covered by these transmission lines is 1,200km.
The full CASA-1000 transmission lines will move electricity at high voltages between the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan (the first 477kms) and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan (the next 750kms). Each country will be responsible for construction of transmission line in its jurisdiction. Out of 1,300MW of exported power, Pakistan will get 1,000MW of power while Afghanistan will receive the remaining 300MW.
The transmission lines covering a distance of 100km from Pak-Afghan border to Peshawar are to be constructed along with converter station.
The major portion of transmission line will be laid down in Afghanistan, whereas; small portion of 100km will be in Pakistan. The Pakistani side mainly consists of tribal areas or settled troubled areas. The source of energy with availability of surplus power from Kyrgyz and Tajik Republics, the tariff of US9.41 cents per kWh as mentioned by NTDC, Afghanistan disinterest in consuming power and safeguarding the interest of Pakistan by protecting the entire transmission line are some of the key issues needed to be resolved.
The Energy Wing says that only PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) using residual fuel oil (RFO) and diesel have been considered for tariff.
The rate for firm energy is 13.2 US cents per unit and the rate for non-firm is 9.2 US cents per unit. It also unfolds arguing, ”The low B-C ratio assumed no Afghan Transit fee, while we have agreed to 1.5 cents in this respect, which will further reduce the B-C ratio. Transit charges in Central Asia are in average of around 0.3 cents. It appears that no professional advice was available at the receiving end negotiators who apparently relied on hunch figures.”
The Ministry of Planning and Development also submitted that one should wait and explore the development of a full open access network regime where there were many buyers and sellers based on hydro and thermal sources which might result in a reasonable transmission tariff of below 1 cent as opposed to the proposed 2.91 cents, which is expected to rise exponentially in future with lesser availability of power supply as the power demand in exporting countries will increase.
In order to ensure energy availability in the later years, the exporter (Tajikistan) has demanded higher price of 5.15 cents which in the original feasibility was assumed to be 1.5 cents, mentions the Energy Wing of the ministry.
Planning and Development Ministry also mentioned that CASA-1000 was conceived to provide alternative to Pakistan obviating the need of gas import from Iran. With changing political environment and prospects of lifting of restrictions on Iran, the rationale for such projects may lose its appeal.
It went on to say that in addition, Chinese have also offered electricity exports via Khunjerab under CPEC programme. Although such an offer is at an initial stage and feasibility study is yet to be carried out, Chinese energy may not suffer from risks and instability issues as compared to CASA-1000 due to Afghanistan factor.
No wonder, project of CASA-1000 has been geared up knowing Chinese offer. And there is no collateral from the agencies which want to promote regional cooperation under CASA-1000. 


Additional Reading :

Unstable Tajikistan


Civil War Likely in Tajikistan; Part One

Being a Central Asian country, Tajikistan feels the largest threat from the religious hardline groups.

Map of Tajikistan courtesy: lonelyplanet.com

(SALEM, Ore.) – Events in West Asia are developing fast, and the impact is affecting neighboring regions in Central Asia. Political observers and analysts remain confused.

The emergence of the ISIS terrorist group with a joint Western-Arabic design, as well as Turkey’s negative role in Syria and Iraq, has paved the way for the persistence and growth of the so called Islamic takfiri and ideological movement in the susceptible region.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is among the most vulnerable countries open to the ISIS rise and development.

ISIS members are largely comprised of mercenaries only aim to make more money. Other members fight for their ideology. Combined, the movement would be able to access Central Asia, Tajikistan in particular.

Some experts familiar with the region’s development predict that that after a decrease in ISIS activities in Syria and Iraq and after settling down the Yemeni crisis, penetration of the ISIS in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan would be the priority of the US and its allies.

Touching on fast developments in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, many circulating reports are speculating on the existence or absence of the ISIS group in these countries.

The objective and neutral reporters claim that the US and its allies will make efforts to contaminate the Central Asia region especially Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan with extremist groups in the name of Islam, using the terrorist groups like ISIS and Afghanistan’s susceptible geography.

The attempt intends to engage powers such as China, Russia, and Iran in dealing with security threats to pave the way for the West to easily proceed toward its objectives.

The fact is that the security and political arena in Central Asia, including Tajikistan, is facing new challenges and security crises, and the activities of the takfiri extremists in the country could be interpreted as a continuation of war in Afghanistan and even developments in West Asia.

Recent attacks were carried out by a group led by Abdulhalim Nazarzadeh, Tajikistan’s former deputy defense minister, on the country’s security and government’s centers, resulting in the deaths of dozens of government forces.

The attacks have provided Tajikistan’s president Emomali Rahmon with the pretext to counteract and even try to remove the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. The Tajik government argued that the recent terrorist attacks on the capital, Dushanbe, and Abdulhalim Nazarzadeh’s insurgent band, are both linked to the party.

There are two different viewpoints about the new developments in Central Asia.

The first viewpoint stresses that all regional development, including developments in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, stem from foreign interventions; insisting that the world’s domineering hegemonic powers utilize the regional governments’ weaknesses, ethnicism, poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment to spread chaos, and propagate Takfiri and extremist currents there.

The first view overcomes the second view which takes absence of a strong central government or inefficiency of the governments as well as internal differences and ignoring the political, religious and economic rights as the main factors helping create the grounds for the growing increase of extremism and insecurity.

Taking into account the issue of the Takfiri movement’s spill over into Tajikistan, some questions have been raised, such as: What is the aim of Takfiri groups in the present time? How susceptible is Tajikistan’s security and political circumstance to these groups? How the Tajikistan government, regional and international players would react to these groups?

Tajikistan’s Political and Security Situation

Being a Central Asian country, Tajikistan feels the largest threat from the religious hardline groups. The feeling of threat is serious for several reasons.

First, Tajikistan has a religious and conventional community, and there had been a religious and belief vacuum during the Soviet Union period, that provide grounds for the activity of extremist groups like Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hizb ut-Tahrir and ISIS.

The second reason is that Tajikistan one the one hand shares borders with unstable Afghanistan, and on the other hand shares borders with other countries like Kirgizstan and Uzbekistan in Fergana Valley, where radical religious groups are active.

Moreover, since onset of the US-led campaign against terrorism, so many of the leaders of religious movements like Hizb ut-Tahrir and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have established links with Al-Qaeda and Taliban, an issue which has added to Central Asian countries’ concerns.

A very crucial point to consider is the Tajikistan government’s concerns over the expanding wave of extremism and ISIS that urged it to imprison the members of extremist groups in the country. Meanwhile, in recent weeks, on the pretext of Abdulhalim Nazarzadeh’s terrorist actions, the government has mounted pressure on leaders of the moderate Islamist groups like Islamic Renaissance Party, they have also detained a religious leader and adopted anti-religious laws in the country.

These events come while the Islamic Renaissance Party has expressed its deep concerns over the security conditions and the recent conflicts in the country, asking its members and supporters to fully cooperate with the government to help ease the tense conditions in the country.

The leadership of the party, in a statement on September 11, has condemned any illegal, violent and anti-government action, expressing its condolences to the families of the victims of the 04 September attacks.

However, the Islamic Renaissance Party has blamed the 04 September attacks on government personnel. Tajik officials have detained dozens of people, charging them with having links to extremist and terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan’s Ministry of Justice issued a statement, accusing the country’s Islamic Renaissance Party of several cases of “systematic violations of the law”, and asked the leaders of the party to stop the party’s activities.

Omar Hussein, the deputy leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party, Tajikistan’s major opposition party and the only religious party in the country, was also detained by security forces. Intending to travel to Kazakhstan’s Almaty on September 16, Omar Hussein was detained while on board a plane at the Dushanbe airport.

Additionally, Muhammadali Hayet, another deputy leader in the party, had been arrested previously, and Rahmatullah Rajab and Vahed Khan Ghasedudinov, two activists in the party, were banned from traveling out of the country.

These arrests take place while the government is carrying out operations against Abdulhalim Nazarzadeh’s insurgent group. During a military operation in a mountainous area called Ramit Valley, government forces killed the insurgent leader Nazarzadeh and 11 of his accomplices.

Following the 2015 legislative elections, Muhidddin Kabiri, the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, left the country, and since then has been living abroad, leaving his deputy Omar Hussein, in charge of the party’s affairs in the country.

During this period, Tajik officials have launched an expansive campaign to ban this opposition party, though some human rights institutions, including Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Central Asian Institute for Human Rights, in a joint statement, have warned that the closure of the party violates the rights and the political and civil liberties of the citizens, as it could possibly break the peace and destabilize the country. Being the second most influential political party after Tajikistan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party led by President Emomali Rahmon, and having over 40,000 members, the Islamic Renaissance Party was a major side in the five-year civil war from 1992-1997 in the country, which ended after signing a peace and power-sharing deal between the government and the opposition forces.

Nevertheless, the Tajik government’s pressures on opposition forces, specifically the Islamic Renaissance Party, have kept mounting, as the government published books of Sayid Abdullah Nuri, the party’s founder, labeled as sources of extremism.

Tajikistan’s security authorities accused the party’s leadership of planning the attacks against the security committee, airport, TV station and some other strategic organizations.

The government also claimed that the party’s Chief Muhiddin Kabiri has advised his supporters to hesitate for some more days until the ground and situation is proper to join the president Rahman regime’s opposition forces.

The claims come as government authorities detained 13 top leaders of the Islamic party on September 17, accusing them of having links to the insurgent group of former army general Abdulhalim Nazarzadeh. Denying the accusations, Muhiddin Kabiri has described them as politicized and biased, adding that the government’s objective is banning the Islamic Renaissance Party’s activities in the country.

The fact is that since the country’s independence, the Tajik government has opposed the Islamic movements, specifically the Islamic Renaissance Party, and recent attacks against government forces that resulted in dozens being killed, provided the government with the much-needed excuse to repress and remove the Islamic party, and at the same time adopt an iron fist and violent policy in dealing with the Islamists who possibly have links to the Islamic Renaissance Party.

The Tajikistan’s government launching a widespread propagandistic campaign against the insurgents, and relating them to the country’s Islamic party, and then arresting the party’s some top leaders as well as imposing travel bans on some others will only complicate and deteriorate the country’s political and security circumstance because the charges that the Islamic party had a hand in attacks against the security forces are not only unproven but also such measures, having in mind the West and US propaganda on the rise of ISIS in Central Asia, could trigger the extremism wave.

This, while the Islamic Renaissance Party has been involved in enlightening activities, and always resisted different plots arranged against it by the extremist takfiris in the country.

Being close to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the party has been a target of the government-backed Wahhabi and takfiri groups on the one hand, and on the other hand it has been exposed to the security authorities’ suspicions and repressions.

Participation of the party’s officials in religious and political conferences in Iran has led to an increase in the attacks on the party by the Tajik government and radical groups, causing remarkable problems for it.

Actually, the wave of arrests of the Islamic Renaissance Party members has began two years ago, when representatives of the party were detained in the early 2014 in Badakhshan, capital of Kharogh province, and Khujand, capital of Saghand province, and all of the businesses owned by the party were confiscated.

While Tajik Governments are detaining Islamic Renaissance Party’s leaders, the extremist groups linked to the terrorist group ISIS and Wahhabism or other fundamentalist movements, seduce the Tajik youths to join to Takfiri groups and be deployed to fight in Syria and perform the so-called jihad duty.


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Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria

Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry made the case to Congress this week, but the questions not asked and the answers not given speak volumes.In the lead-up to the Iraq War, I researched, wrote and circulated a document to members of Congress which explored unanswered questions and refuted President Bush’s claim for a cause for war. The document detailed how there was no proof Iraq was connected to 9/11 or tied to al Qaeda’s role in 9/11, that Iraq neither had WMDs nor was it a threat to the U.S., lacking intention and capability to attack. Unfortunately, not enough members of Congress performed due diligence before they approved the war.

Here are some key questions which President Obama has yet to answer in the call for congressional approval for war against Syria. This article is a call for independent thinking and congressional oversight, which rises above partisan considerations.

The questions the Obama administration needs to answer before Congress can even consider voting on Syria:

Claim #1. The administration claims a chemical weapon was used.

The UN inspectors are still completing their independent evaluation.

Who provided the physiological samples of sarin gas on which your evaluation is based? Were any other non-weaponized chemical agents discovered or sampled?

Who from the United States was responsible for the chain of custody?

Where was the laboratory analysis conducted?

Were U.S. officials present during the analysis of the samples? Does your sample show military grade or lower grade sarin gas?

Can you verify that your sample matches the exact composition of the alleged Syrian government composition?

Further reading: Brown Moses blog; McClatchy News report; Global Research report.

Claim #2: The administration claims the opposition has not used chemical weapons.

Which opposition?

Are you speaking of a specific group, or all groups working in Syria to overthrow President Assad and his government?

Has your administration independently and categorically dismissed the reports of rebel use of chemical weapons which have come from such disparate sources as Russia, the United Nations, and the Turkish state newspaper?

Have you investigated the rumors that the Saudis may have supplied the rebels with chemicals that could be weaponized?

Has the administration considered the ramifications of inadvertently supporting al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian rebels?

Was any intelligence received in the last year by the U.S. government indicating that sarin gas was brought into Syria by rebel factions, with or without the help of a foreign government or intelligence agents?

Further reading: Global Research reportWall Street Journal article; Reuters story; Zamanstory (in Turkish — see Google translate from Turkish to English); Atlantic Sentinel story; APstory

Claim #3: The administration claims chemical weapons were used because the regime’s conventional weapons were insufficient

Who is responsible for the conjecture that the reason chemical weapons were used against the Damascus suburbs is that Assad’s conventional weapons were insufficient to secure “large portions of Damascus”?

Claim #4: The administration claims to have intelligence relating to the mixing of chemical weapons by regime elements

Who saw the chemical weapons being mixed from August 18th on?

Was any warning afforded to the Syria opposition and if not, why not?

If, on August 21st a “regime element” was preparing for a chemical weapons attack, has an assessment been made which could definitively determine whether such preparation (using gas masks) was for purpose of defense, and not offense?

Further reading: McClatchy report; Brown Moses blog

Claim #5: The administration claims intelligence that Assad’s brother ordered the attack

What is the type of and source of intelligence which alleges that Assad’s brother personally ordered the attack?

Who made the determination that Assad’s brother ordered the attack, based on which intelligence, from what source?

Further reading: here

Claim #6: The administration claims poison gas was released in a rocket attack

Who was tracking the rocket and the artillery attack which preceded the poison gas release?

Did these events occur simultaneously or consecutively?

Could these events, the rocket launches and the release of poison gas, have been conflated?

Based upon the evidence, is it possible that a rocket attack by the Syrian government was aimed at rebels stationed among civilians and a chemical weapons attack was launched by rebels against the civilian population an hour and a half later?

Is it possible that chemical weapons were released by the rebels — unintentionally?

Explain the 90-minute time interval between the rocket launch and chemical weapon attacks.

Has forensic evidence been gathered at the scene of the attack which would confirm the use of rockets to deliver the gas?

If there was a rocket launch would you supply evidence of wounds from the rockets impact and explosion?

What is the source of the government’s analysis?

If the rockets were being tracked via “geospatial intelligence,” what were the geospatial coordinates of the launching sites and termination locations?

Further reading: FAIR.org report

Claim #7: The administration claims 1,429 people died in the attack

Secretary Kerry claimed 1,429 deaths, including 426 children. From whom did that number first originate?

Further reading: McClatchy report

Claim #8: The administration has made repeated references to videos and photos of the attack as a basis for military action against Syria

When and where were the videos taken of the aftermath of the poison gas attack?

Further reading: FAIR.org report

Claim #9: The administration claims a key intercept proves the Assad regime’s complicity in the chemical weapons attack

Will you release the original transcripts in the language in which it was recorded as well as the translations relied upon to determine the nature of the conversation allegedly intercepted?

What is the source of this transcript? What was the exact time of the intercept? Was it a U.S. intercept or supplied from a non-U.S. source?

Have you determined the transcripts’ authenticity? Have you considered that the transcripts could have been doctored or fake?

Was the “senior official,” whose communications were intercepted, a member of Assad’s government?

How was he “familiar” with the offensive? Through a surprised acknowledgement that such an attack had taken place? Or through actual coordination of said attack? Release the transcripts!

Was he an intelligence asset of the U.S., or our allies? In what manner had he “confirmed” chemical weapons were used by the regime?

Who made the assessment that his intercepted communications were a confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by the regime on August 21st?

What is the source of information that the Syrian chemical weapons personnel were “directed to cease operations”?

Is this the same source who witnessed regime officials mixing the chemicals?

Does the transcript indicate whether the operations they were “directed to cease” were related to ceasing conventional or chemical attacks?

Will you release the transcripts and identify sources of this claim?

Do you have transcripts, eyewitness accounts or electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or other regime officials which link the CW attack directly to President Assad?

Who are the intelligence officials who made the assessment — are they U.S. intelligence officials or did the initial analysis come from a non-U.S. source?

Further reading: FAIR.org report and AP storyWashington Post editorial

Claim #10: The administration claims that sustained shelling occurred after the chemical weapons attack in order to cover up the traces of the attack

Please release all intelligence and military assessments as to the reason for the sustained shelling, which is reported to have occurred after the chemical weapons attack.

Who made the determination that was this intended to cover up a chemical weapon attack? Or was it to counterattack those who released chemicals?

How does shelling make the residue of sarin gas disappear?

Further reading: here

The American people have a right to a full release and vetting of all facts before their elected representatives are asked to make a decision of great consequence for America, Syria and the world. Congress must be provided answers prior to the vote, in open hearings, not in closed sessions where information can be manipulated in the service of war. We’ve been there before. It’s called Iraq.

Visit Dennis Kucinich’s website at www.KucinichAction.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is former US Congressman and two-time presidential candidate from Ohio who served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Visit his website at KucinichAction. Follow him on Twitter: @Dennis_Kucinich

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Archive Article: Pakistan: The Real Swing State

Pakistan: The Real Swing State

By Beenish Ahmed, November 6, 2012


Outside a downtown Islamabad coffee shop that sells an assortment of French macaroons (cupcakes are so passé), I strike up a conversation with Omar Malik.

A 34-year-old who works for a private telecommunications company, Malik seems liberal. Liberal in the way Americans stumbling through Muslim-majority countries might find comforting.

images-111He’s dressed smartly in a collared shirt—with only the appropriate number of buttons unbuttoned. He sips a latte and speaks in flawless, albeit slightly accented, English.

When it comes to American politics, though, he isn’t technically “liberal” —at least as far as U.S. political categories go.

“Republicans have historically always been better for Pakistan than Democrats,” Malik says matter-of-factly. “In terms of the relations that we have had, I think Bush was a much better president than Obama or Clinton was.”

He leans back in his lawn chair when I inquire further. This is not what I expected to hear from a man outside a posh cafe on a Saturday night, but he continues, “In terms of foreign policy, in terms of [not] giving preference to India over Pakistan, the Republicans have been much more balanced,” Malik says.

I remind him of how, when pressed during the presidential debate on foreign policy, Mitt Romney said he’d continue President Obama’s policy of using drones to target terrorist enclaves in Pakistan.

But Malik is resolute. He chalks Romney’s assertion up to campaign rhetoric. The sort of tough-on-terror talk, he says knowingly, that Obama also ran on four years ago.

Pakistan has long been seen by American analysts as a “wildcard” state—a sort of trick card that either appears as a Queen of Hearts or a Joker depending on when, and for how long, you look.

It’s a trick ordinary Pakistanis—who would probably just as readily fill the streets to protest America as they would to claim a visa if the United States decided to offer up them up for free—can play just as well. Nearly three-fourths of Pakistanis polled said they see the United States as an “enemy.” That’s up from 64 percent just three years ago.

As if to say “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” another recent poll found that 43 percent of Pakistanis claimed they should have the right to vote in U.S. elections, a number topped only by people in Kenya, China, India, and Cameroon.                                                         

“Pakistanis should be given the right to vote,” says Rahat Khan, a 27-year-old who manages supply orders at a construction company in Islamabad. He adds completely earnestly, “After all, all of the decisions made about Pakistan are made in America.”

Khan even goes so far as to say that Pakistan should be made the “53rd state”—although he’ll likely have to brush up on his geography should he ever decide to actually apply for U.S. citizenship and cast a ballot in American elections.

If he could vote, Khan says, he’d cast a vote for Obama. But there’s one issue that he can’t get behind. “Being a patriotic Pakistani,” Khan insists, “I must say that drone attacks should be stopped.”

Like many Pakistanis, Khan sees the use of drones as an affront to his country’s sovereignty. The continuing attacks on sites the United States identifies as terrorist enclaves in the tribal areas are approved by only a small number of elite Pakistanis. He says the unmanned assaults kill more innocent people than the terrorists they target.

The vitriolic issue of drone strikes is compounded by a number of other incidents that have stoked Pakistani anger at America.

In January 2011, CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistani men in the city of Lahore. To make matters worse, a car coming to aid Davis from the U.S. consulate killed a man in the street before speeding off down the wrong side of the road. Although “blood money” was paid to the victims’ families, the incident spurred a public outcry over the evident impunity for Americans who had committed murder.

Then, last November, a U.S. attack on a military outpost near the Afghanistan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, leading Pakistan to close NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The passages remained closed for months.

And of course there was the unannounced raid in which U.S. Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden four months ago, which Pakistanis largely believe to be either offensive or fictitious. 

Add up these incidents—along with the anger over the hokey film trailer defaming the Prophet Mohammad that inflamed the rest of the Islamic world—and it’s easy to come up with Obama’s incredibly low approval rating in Pakistan. Still, it is surprising that Pakistanis would see Obama on par with former President George W. Bush, whom many across the world still disapprove of for starting two wars on feeble foundations.  

The poll, which was conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, found that Pakistan was the only country of the 15 polled where ratings for Obama were no better than those maintained by former President George W. Bush.

Thirteen percent of Pakistanis polled said they would vote for Obama if they could, over a mere 9 percent who say they would support Romney. But the more telling statistic might be the 47 percent who believe that neither candidate would change U.S. policy.

Beenish Ahmed is a freelance journalist. She is a former NPR Kroc Fellow and received an MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies from the University of Cambridge through a Fulbright Scholarship to the United Kingdom.

recommended citation:

Beenish Ahmed, “Pakistan: The Real Swing State” (Washington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, November 6, 2012)


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