Pakistanis will rely on Obama’’s Muslim legacy, says media expert

November 10th, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Karachi, Nov.10 (ANI): Most Pakistanis living in the countrys commercial capital Karachi appear to be happy over the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States, claims a report.
In an article for The Brunei Times, Beena Sarwar, a Karachi-based artist, freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker focusing on human rights, gender, media, and peace. says that the 2008 polls in the United States had its share of attention in Pakistan, complete with news updates, TV talk shows, call-ins from Pakistanis living in the United States and speeches by Obama.
According to Sarwar, many Pakistanis hope Obama’’s Muslim heritage will make him more understanding of their culture, even though Obama has consciously distanced himself from this heritage, even dropping the use of his middle name Hussein.
The elections, she claims, dominated chatter in tea-stalls and living rooms.
Sarwar quotes Jabbar, a driver in the city, as saying that the constant barrage of information streaming in from dozens of television channels in multiple languages has ensured that `even an illiterate person has been educated about these elections.”
“This is the first time that someone with a dark skin has come into a position of such power. Everyone is happy about it,” Jabbar added.
A student, however, disagreed, saying that while Obama may be good for the US, it doesn”t make much difference to Pakistan.
There has been interest here about Obama’’s Pakistan connection”, stemming from a college friend whom he mentions in his memoir, Dreams from my Father.
He is also reported to have travelled to Pakistan in 1980 (when his mother Ann Dunham worked here with a micro-credit finance project ) and in 1981 to visit a college friend.
“Pakistanis grudgingly share the global excitement of Mr. Obama’’s victory,” Sarwar quotes Islamabad-based political analyst Nasim Zehra, as saying.
“Grudgingly, because many have not forgotten his campaign rhetoric of possibly attacking Pakistani territory to combat terrorism,” she adds.
Former newspaper editor and ambassador to Washington Maleeha Lodhi, currently a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, told a television anchor that such rhetoric might perhaps have been an attempt to act and sound tough on Afghanistan and Pakistan since Obama had opposed the war in Iraq.
However, as Zehra points out, Pakistanis, who have a greater understanding of the complexity of the terrorism problem and bear the high costs of this violence, found Obama’’s resolve to attack their territory both aggressive and naive.
According to Sarwar, Pakistanis at the same time hope for and expect that Obama, as president, will be more patient, wiser and more multilateralist in the conduct of US foreign policy. (ANI)

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