Perspectives on Pakistan
Pakistani kids vote for Obama, hope he won’t rain missiles
A group of Pakistani kids have voted with their wallets (including Eid savings) for U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama, hoping he would resolve the conflict raging in their troubled northwest corner of the country through peaceful means.
The children in Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province which along with the Federally Administered Tribal Areas has become the central front in the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban, had collected $261 for “Uncle Obama’s election campaign,” The News reports.
The children, aged 10 and 13, gathered outside the Press Club in Peshawar, accompanied by their parents and teachers, holding placards highlighting the cycle of violence they were trapped in, the newspaper said.
“We hear Obama speaking in television debates and addressing public meetings about a safe and prosperous future for the American children and people. And this is what we desire for ourselves,” one of the boys said.
The idea behind the small donation to the Obama campaign, made out of pocket money and Eid gifts, was to draw the world’s attention to the dangers the children faced in the NWFP and tribal areas, they said.
While Taliban militants have stepped up suicide blasts in the region and burnt down scores of girls schools, especially in the Swat Valley, the Pakistani military and U.S. forces over the border in Afghanistan have separately taken the battle to the militants with escalating air strikes and ground operations.
The latest in this war was on view on Friday, with a suicide bomber killing nine in Mardan, followed hours later by a U.S. “drone” aircraft aimed at al Qaeda leaders in North Waziristan that killed at least 20 people.
Give us books and pens, and not missiles and bombs, the children said.
The News said the children made no mention of the Republican candidate John McCain and it’s interesting that they plumped for Obama, who has, if anything, sounded more aggressive on Pakistan all summer, saying he would go in and bomb al Qaeda if the Pakistani government was unwilling or unable to do so.