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Dr. Raza Bokhari Shares Thoughts with Barack Obama on Ways to Curb Anti-American Sentiments in Pakistan

[align=float:right; margin:10px 0px 0px 10px][/align] Prominent Pakistani-American entrepreneur Dr. Raza Bokhari met U.S. presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in Bucks County, Pa., on March 11, 2008.During the meeting, Bokhari presented Obama with a self-authored white paper containing suggestions on ways to reduce anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. Bokhari serves on the Board of Directors of Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC), Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C), World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and is chairman and CEO of Parkway Clinical Laboratories (PCL), an emerging national full-service diagnostic laboratory based in Bensalem, Pa. In recent months Pakistani politics has hit a boiling point and anti-American sentiments are at an all-time high among that country's 160 million residents. Law and order has rapidly deteriorated, and civilians, law enforcement agencies, the armed forces and moderate leaders have increasingly become targets of suicide bombers. There is also a resurgence of extremism in the Northern Western Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces are strengthening their stronghold along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.According to Bokhari, the majority of Pakistanis, including the moderates, do not recognize that the war against terrorism is a global problem and instead consider it to be an American war in which they are unnecessarily involved and have become an unintended victim.President Pervez Musharraf's strong alliance with the United States in fighting terrorism has minimized his recognition, says Bokhari, in spite of his concerted efforts over the past eight years to promote moderation, empower women, catalyze unprecedented economic expansion, foster permanent peace in the sub-continent and completely return Pakistan to democratic rule.Bokhari says that while anti-American sentiments are not new in Pakistan, they have recently surged largely on account of the following reasons:
  • Threats by some U.S. presidential candidates to unilaterally attack Al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan and take control of Pakistan's nuclear assets in the wake of political instability.
  • Threats to curtail economic and military assistance to Pakistan by Congressional Democrats.
  • A unilateral nuclear deal with India and lukewarm reaction to Pakistan's energy needs.
  • The inaccurate characterization of $10 billion received by Pakistan since September 11, 2001 as aid; contrary to the truth that more than half of this money has been for reimbursement of services provided by Pakistan to support the coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan.
  • Lack of recognition that Pakistan has captured or killed more than 700 Al-Qaeda operatives and has lost more than 1,000 troops.
  • Widespread misperception that the war against terrorism is actually a war against Islam, and Muslims in America are living under duress.
  • Frequent suicide bombings, which Pakistanis believe are provoked by President Musharraf's now unpopular policy of supporting United States in fighting terrorism, and deploying nearly 100,000 combat troops in the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Bokhari says that it is important to underscore that the United States has 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, and is spending more than $2 billion a week to support them. At the same time, the United States reimburses less than $1 billion a year to Pakistan to deploy nearly 100,000 troops in perhaps the most treacherous and dangerous terrain in the world to fight Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists.An agenda to curb anti-American sentiments in Pakistan should be front and center for U.S. presidential candidates and law makers and, at a minimum, should include the following steps, says Bokhari:
  • Refrain from threatening to unilaterally attack Al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan. It is a sovereign nation with a willing army ready to strike on actionable intelligence.
  • Actively expand economic and military assistance to Pakistan, including supporting the reconstruction opportunity zones for Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan.
  • Rapidly expand trading opportunities, including fast tracking a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan.
  • Double the number of immigrant, non-immigrant and student visas issued to Pakistanis.
  • Increase the coalition support funding to $2 billion a year to support NATO forces in Afghanistan and generously acknowledge the important role of Pakistan in fighting terrorism.
  • Offer a packaged nuclear deal to both India and Pakistan to help address the rapidly growing energy needs of the region.
  • All presidential candidates should embrace Senator Obama's pledge to deliver a keynote speech to a major Muslim forum in the first 100 days of office to dispel misperceptions that the war against terrorism is a war against Islam and make Pakistan the venue for that speech.
  • Recognize that President Musharraf has been a reliable partner of the United States and has led the way in fighting terrorism, restoring civilian rule in Pakistan and encouraging political reconciliation. If the U.S. chooses not to acknowledge his pivotal role for other considerations, American leaders should also not unreasonably condemn him. The people of Pakistan alone should be the judge of him.
  • Appoint a special envoy of public diplomacy to Pakistan who should be a strong advocate of great American values and traditions of plurality, tolerance, compassion and hard work.
To read the complete white paper that Bokhari presented to Obama, click here.

Raza Bokhari discusses Musharraf Treason Charges on Voice of America
June 28th, 2013
Dr. Raza Bokhari joined experts from Pakistan and United States to discuss the implications of treason allegations against Former President Musharraf

Click here to see the video.
Political Landscape in Pakistan - The Musharraf Option
June 1, 2010
Dr. Raza Bokhari wrote the folowing op-ed which was recently in the news.
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