Pakistan‘s English-language press on Thursday applauded Barack Obama‘s US presidential election victory but amid tensions with its “war on terror” ally, questioned his policy on tackling extremism.
Front pages of Pakistan’s leading newspapers report the victory of US’s first black president Barack Obama, in Islamabad on November 6. Pakistan’s English-language press on Thursday applauded Obama’s US presidential election victory but amid tensions with its “war on terror” ally, questioned his policy on tackling extremism.(AFP/Aamir Qureshi)
Leading dailies here echoed sentiments around the world that Obama’s election opened up possibilities for a new direction in US foreign policy.
But they voiced concern about his support for US missile strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal border region that have led to strong protests and warnings from Islamabad.
“Here in Pakistan, Mr Obama’s earlier take on the issue of militancy was sometimes seen as short-sighted and belligerent,” Dawn said in an editorial.
“The US certainly cannot go it alone without the support of Pakistan (that is a reality that America must acknowledge publicly if it is an honest broker)”.
The News also noted Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war and recognition that mistakes were made by shifting attentions there after the ouster of the hardline ruling Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.
But it also said his belligerent tone over US missile strikes “had set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad.”
“Some believe the anticipation of the Obama presidency may have motivated the stepped up military operation in the northern areas,” it said.
“The prospect of a more bullish approach from the new US administration is obviously a disturbing one for the Pakistan leadership.”
The new commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, visited Pakistan this week in a sign that the new administration is looking to refocus its attentions on Afghanistan.