Pakistan votes Romney, sort of

by Alec Metz on 10/25/2012 · 3 comments

A recently commissioned BBC poll took the American election abroad, and although no states in Central Asia were surveyed, India, Pakistan, and China were featured. According to the BBC, they found that in 20 out of 21 countries, Obama was preferred over Romney, and that only Pakistan preferred Romney. Although the polling took place before the final presidential debate, perhaps Pakistan always knew that a President Romney wouldn’t divorce them.

Courtesy of BBC World Service

But the story isn’t that simple; to be accurate, 75% of the 2375 Pakistanis surveyed have no opinion about the US election, which is more in keeping with the Pew findings last summer that 74% find the U.S. as an enemy.

Much of that animosity is drawn from U.S. actions both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal territories, to include drone strikes. But Pakistan is undoubtedly faced with serious issues; sectarian violence is a continuing tragedy, gender relations, according to a recent World Economic Forum study (which also has stats for the rest of CA, Mongolia holding the best score)  are now at an all-time low (134th out of 135, better than only Yemen), and tourism is… in trouble.

Pakistan’s trajectory is alarming, especially for its immediate neighbors, but also for the rest of Central Asia. While the IMU may be done as a force  (even by Uzbekistan’s admission), Pakistan has the capacity to play host to a number of other terror networks. Trade routes through the region linking CA to the port at Karachi will now have to contend with not only a destable Afghanistan, but an insecure Pakistan as well.

The drone strikes in Pakistani territory by the U.S. are unlikely to stop according to a recent Washington Post series. As long as Pakistani politicians use the strikes (as the TTP did to excuse their shooting of a 14 year old girl) as a way to whip up public opinion, the larger issues of domestic terrorism, communal tension, struggling social services, and corruption will fester, and Pakistan will further isolate itself from the legitimate world stage. One hopes the 75% of respondents in Pakistan don’t care who the next U.S. president will be because they have more immediate, domestic concerns on their minds.

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– author of 18 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Alec Metz is an independent policy analyst focusing on security and development in South and Central Asia.

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Malik Zahoor October 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

US is fundamentally responsible for Pakistan’s security and economic problems.Pakistan has been an American ally throuout it’s history.And today’s Taliban are the mujahideen of eighties created by CIA and funded by Saudis to fight the soviets

Alec Metz October 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

I don’t disagree that the U.S. at times has not been helpful, but I don’t think all the blame can be put on the U.S. To address the last point first, last year Musharraf himself indicated that the decision to work with the Afghan insurgents in the 1980’s was mutual (, and Amb. Peter Tomsen in 2011 wrote first-hand how he saw funds being pushed by Pakistan despite American objections to more radical Afghan leaders like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ( As to the first point, military dictatorships and unresponsive governments have been a problem for Pakistan almost since independence, as has the Pakistani military’s state-within-a-state economic and judicial practices. Ultimately, the governance and financial woes of Pakistan are the responsibility of the Pakistani government.

anan November 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

Most of the negative US policies you describe were extensively lobbied for by the powerful combined Pakistan/Gulf Arab lobby in Washington.

You say that Pakistan has been a US ally, but you greatly exaggerated what Pakistan has done for the US since 1967. Not very much. Many Pakistani (or more precisely Deep State) polices have significantly harmed the US over the last generation. In fact, has any other country done as much to harm Americans and American interests over the last generation as the deep state? Is this the action of “an American ally”.

No doubt most Pakistani minorities are good people. Even most Punjabi Sunnis are. Pakistani policies have significantly harmed Pakistani interests. As a collateral affect the rest of the world has also suffered.

Pakistanis are a powerful and great people and civilization. Pakistanis control their own destiny and fate; transforming the world through their own thoughts and actions. Pakistanis have full agency and responsibility for Pakistani actions and Pakistani policies.

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