Pakistan Wary Of Ripples From GOP Gains In U.S.

A report from Pakistan on reaction to Tuesday's U.S. midterm elections.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And now let's get some reaction to the election from the other side of the world.

Some people in Pakistan have joked for many years that their country is influenced by the three A's: Allah, the army and America. Lately, the third A has been committing billons in Pakistan so there's no surprise that Pakistanis closely followed the midterm vote here.

NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.

JULIE MCCARTHY: How Pakistan is perceived in the power corridors of Washington matters: as a stalwart ally or a lukewarm partner in the battle against global extremism?

As the U.S. struggles to find a winning strategy in Afghanistan, it looks to Pakistan for help. One senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee put it: I dont think you solve Afghanistan if you dont solve Pakistan, you cant have militants crossing the border into Pakistan and its Olly, olly, oxen free, he said.

Some analysts here believe that a Republican-controlled House of Representatives could impose tougher conditions on aid, as a way to pressure Pakistan into clearing its border region of sanctuaries used by al-Qaida and the Taliban.

But perhaps the bigger question looming here is whether Pakistan should hold its own midterm elections. President Asif Ali Zardaris five-year term ends in 2013. However, hes embattled, fighting money laundering charges, and the effects of the worst floods in a century that exposed government ineptitude.

The opposition is baying for snap elections. But the prime minister shot back, this week, that he had no intention of dissolving parliament. The country, he said, cannot afford elections now. The leading English newspaper, Dawn, said today: Equally, however, Pakistan can ill-afford a government that doesnt govern.

Julie McCarthy NPR News, Islamabad.

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