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Obama's Killer Drones

President Barack Obama may be well liked around the world, but Pakistanis have a dim view of the re-elected leader.

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In January 2011, CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistani men in the city of Lahore. To make matters worse, a car coming to aid Davis from the U.S. consulate killed a man in the street before speeding off down the wrong side of the road. Although “blood money” was paid to the victims’ families, the incident spurred a public outcry over the evident impunity for Americans who had committed murder.

Then, last November, a U.S. attack on a military outpost near the Afghanistan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, leading Pakistan to close NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The passages remained closed for months.

And of course there was the unannounced raid in which U.S. Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden four months ago, which Pakistanis largely believe to be either offensive or fictitious. 

Add up these incidents—along with the anger over the hokey film trailer defaming the Prophet Mohammad that inflamed the rest of the Islamic world—and it’s easy to come up with Obama’s incredibly low approval rating in Pakistan. Still, it is surprising that Pakistanis would see Obama on par with former President George W. Bush, whom many across the world still disapprove of for starting two wars on feeble foundations.  

The poll, which was conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, found that Pakistan was the only country of the 15 polled where ratings for Obama were no better than those maintained by former President George W. Bush.

Thirteen percent of Pakistanis polled said they would vote for Obama if they could, over a mere 9 percent who say they would support Romney. But the more telling statistic might be the 47 percent who believe that neither candidate would change U.S. policy.

Beenish Ahmed is a freelance journalist. She is a former NPR Kroc Fellow and received an MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies from the University of Cambridge through a Fulbright Scholarship to the United Kingdom.

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