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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora