An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Pakistani media on Bush Visit

Interesting and a good round-up of the Pakistani media’s response to Bush visit to India and Pakistan from Washington Post.

The difference, say Pakistan online commentators, explains why President Bush’s visit to Islamabad on Saturday is unlikely to generate the warmth or positive headlines of his three-day stay in India. Thursday’s suicide bombing that killed a U.S. diplomat underscored the country’s volatility and White House security worries.

"Coming from India where he sealed a landmark nuclear deal and cemented the foundations of a long-term strategic relationship with the largest democracy in the world, President Bush will have to work around the realities of Pakistan where democracy has yet to take roots," says the News, the flagship paper of the country’s largest newspaper chain.

Conventional wisdom in Pakistan holds that the bureaucrats read Dawn, the military reads The Nation and the intellectuals read the Daily Times. But across the spectrum of the country’s English-language news sites runs the conviction that Pakistanis who expect a lot from the United States are bound to be disappointed.

Pakistanis know "their relationship with the US is not intrinsic but based on expediency and currently driven by its pivotal position in the war on terror," writes retired Lt. General Talat Masood in Dawn, the leading daily of Pakistan’s political establishment.

As for promoting democracy in a political system dominated by President Gen. Pervez Musharaff, "the US will continue to follow the existing policy of sidelining it in favour of its immediate strategic imperative of fighting the war on terror," he predicts.

Former foreign secretary Tanvir Ahmad Khan, writing in the liberal Daily Times, also says the United States is using Pakistan for its own purposes. "Despite President Musharraf’s claim to have outperformed all other countries [as a U.S. ally in the war on terror] and perhaps because of it, a disproportionate part of the relationship with Pakistan still appears to be a case of sub-contracting Bush’s war against radical Islam …"

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