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Americas

Zardari congratulates reelected Obama but US-Pakistan relations remain bumpy

media US President Barack Obama (R) with former Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday congratulated Barack Obama on being reelected to the White House. Despite his country’s often bumpy relationship with Washington, he said he hoped relations would “continue to prosper”.

Pakistan was the only country to show a majority favouring Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a BBC World Service opinion poll of 21 nations held in the run-up to the US presidential election.

Special dossier

France showed the highest support for Obama at 72 per cent. 

Islamabad has been a key ally in the US’s “war on terror” since the Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington when, according to then-president Pervez Musharraf , US officials threatened to bomb the country “back to the stone age” if it did not fall into line.

But the relationship is controversial in Pakistan where US drone attacks on tribal regions near the Afghan border, which are a technical breach of Pakistani sovereignty, have cost hundreds of civilian lives, including those of children.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and their neighbours
RFI/Anthony Terrade

The killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad last year took was another such breach and, according to Pakistani officials, was undertaken without notifying them, leading to the arrest of five CIA informants in the aftermath. 

Other incidents, such as the killing of two Pakistanis by CIA agent Raymond Davis on a Lahore street, have helped turn public opinion against the US and many Pakistanis feel that the war on terror itself is a war against Muslims.

Under Obama US officials have openly accused Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service f backing the Taliban in Afghanistan – an open secret that previous administrations preferred not to mention in public – and much of the Pakistani leadership feels that the US is acting against its long-standing interests in Afghanistan and even building up arch-rival India.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

"President Asif Ali Zardari has warmly felicitated President Barack Obama on his reelection as the president of the United States of America," a statement from Zardari's office said.

"The president expressed the hope that the relationship between Pakistan and the US would continue to prosper during President Obama's new term in office."

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