Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
U.S. government and military leaders worry that the next attack on the homeland will emanate from western Pakistan, believing al Qaeda to have reconstituted there.
But Pakistanis worry too for their security and their fear is the U.S. military itself.
A couple of polls on what ordinary Pakistanis think of the U.S. campaign against al Qaeda makes for interesting reading, coming as it does ahead of the second U.S. presidential debate between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain where Pakistan will likely figure high on the foreign policy agenda, as it did in the previous round.
More than four in 10 (45 percent) of those polled by Gallup said the U.S. military presence in neighbouring Afghanistan was a threat to Pakistan. Only 17 percent said the United States did not imperil their country while a sizeable 38 percent did not have an opinion
The irony is hard to miss. Just as Pakistan is struggling with the fallout of the first known breach of its territorial sovereignty by U.S. ground troops and all the odium associated with it in a proud nation, India has been welcomed into the nuclear high table, almost entirely at America’s behest.
Two unrelated events but coming days apart seemed to underline the divergent paths the two nations are embarked upon. One has a gun pointed to it; the other is being wooed.