BY IFTIKHAR MASHWANI
NEW YORK,Dec28: The current political turmoil in Pakistan may hurt US interests if it brings Nawaz Sharif to power, the US media reported on Tuesday.
The Washington Post noted that instability of the Zardari government could also hamper US efforts to convince Pakistan to take more action against extremists and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups hiding in the tribal areas.
“If the government does fall, the biggest beneficiary could be Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N. The party is more religiously conservative than the PPP or the MQM and it has not been as vocal in opposing the Taliban,” said a report in the Post.
The report noted that Pakistanis were still reeling from this year’s massive floods and persistent electricity shortages and political instability at this stage could further hurt the country’s fragile economy.
A report in the Wall Street Journal noted that political instability also could complicate US efforts to help stabilise the government as part of its efforts to stamp out militant Islamic groups in the region.
“The US is betting a stable Pakistan is more likely to cooperate in the war against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, who use the country’s border areas with Afghanistan as a safe haven from which to launch attacks on US troops,” the newspaper observed.
It noted that Washington was pumping billions of dollars in military and civilian aid into Mr Zardari’s administration, whose term runs through 2013.
Fox News warned that the current political turmoil could actually cause the ruling coalition to crumble.
The news channel, however, observed that “America’s medium-term interests in the region wouldn’t necessarily be damaged by a return to military rule”.