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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid