News / Asia

US Watching Regional Impact of Upcoming Pakistan Vote

Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (C) submits his nomination papers for the upcoming by-elections in Lahore May 13, 2008. Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called for a last-ditch effort to save his government on Tuesday, after refus
Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (C) submits his nomination papers for the upcoming by-elections in Lahore May 13, 2008. Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called for a last-ditch effort to save his government on Tuesday, after refus
Voters in Pakistan go to the polls next month for what is expected to be the country's first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power.

Pakistan's May election comes at a tumultuous time in the region, with Islamabad and Kabul both pushing for talks with the Taliban ahead of Afghan voting next year.

Ryan Crocker is a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and to Afghanistan.

"A stable Pakistan is crucial to a stable region. And that takes us back to the importance of these elections," he said.

With a credible electoral commission in place, he says, the vote comes down to institutions.

"Pakistan is in a state of institutional failure," said Crocker. "It's not a failed state, but you could argue it is a failing state. So these elections need to be well-run and credible in their outcome."

Pakistan's military has largely stayed out of this vote. U.S. Council on Foreign Relations fellow Daniel Markey says he believes the military has a lower political profile as it watches how the United States and Afghanistan engage the Taliban.

"They are very eager to figure out what the Americans are actually doing," said Markey. "They don't trust that the U.S. officials are necessarily letting them in on the reconciliation process. And they don't trust the Afghans or even the Afghan Taliban to tell them either. So their major concern is to be looped into the process."

Also part of the equation is Pakistan's natural gas pipeline with Iran, over which the United States is threatening to sanction Islamabad because of concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

But American University professor Akbar Ahmed says Pakistan's energy demands outweigh U.S. opposition.

"It's in the interests of the Pakistani government to have access to energy, and Iran is promising that through this gas pipeline. At the same time, the United States is doing everything to block this," said Ahmed.

Ahmed says Tehran is hoping that U.S.-led sanctions force Pakistan into a closer alliance with Iran.

"I don't think the United States should be pushing Pakistan to the point that it's at the brink," he said. "It's already at the brink in terms of the law-and-order breakdown in Pakistan, in terms of the economic crisis, in terms of really the sense of crisis that now envelopes Pakistan and the awareness in Pakistan that America is at the root cause of most of its problems."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wanted to go to Islamabad following his surprise trip to Kabul last week, but decided against it. A senior State Department official says they "did not want to lead anyone to conclude anything about where" U.S. interests may lie.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ajay from: Toronto
April 01, 2013 7:17 PM
It follows that once Americans leave Afghanistan in the coming 1-2 years, Pakistan shall lose its strategic importance in terms of a U.S. military base, to fight terrorism in the South Asian continent. The intelligence and high dollar espionage center set up post 9/11 to catch Osama and his ilk shall be dismantled, and ISI will be partially and greatly unemployed. But then the greatest failure will be inability of the civilian Pakistani government, no matter whoever is in power, to contain Talibani and Al-Qaeda insurgents in SWAT and Balochi-pockets.

The greatest fear is if they (the terrorist who are 'lavisly served' with increasing and expensive drone attacks) spread like cancer (which they most likely will because the elements have existed at least since Soviet-era Cold war, and were trained ironically by the same masters for a reason, who now want to destroy them for a different reason altogether, and combined with their pseudo- religious zealotry are unlikely to back out), this may spell doom for the relatively peaceful South Asian continent. What Pakistan really needs is the healing of wounds, however old or new they may be, and not just simply covering them or flossing them up with short term patches.

And I don't see some kind of a Marshall-plan package coming from the West for Pakistan in the near future - this would have been a long-term and effective containment strategy. If Pakistan ends up as a waste-land for its own people then that's a pity because it is a beautiful country to live in, and the people are no less beautiful - in that at least, a fair proportion at least do believe in democracy, if not entirely. Upcoming elections is mere patchwork, but that if they can stop hating their innocent neighbor, India for an old late 40s enmity and its spinoff, then that would be a leap ahead for the establishment in progress! Loving your neighbor brings a lot to the peace of the region, and that applies to all neighbors within the region.
In Response

by: a from: usa
April 04, 2013 11:18 AM
You should read this ny times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/opinion/global/pakistans-precipitous-decline.html?_r=0
In Response

by: SLDUA from: Noida (India)
April 02, 2013 9:53 AM
If wishes were horses ...........................
Most of the Pakistanis are indoctrinated religious zealots, this can be gauged from what they are doing to religious minorities and to those Muslims who don't subscribe to their ways. This is the result of decades of indoctrination in schools and colleges. Nothing can wean them away from Jihad. There are a few persons who want pluralistic democracy to take roots but they already seem to have conceded defeat to Jihadi zealots.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More