Anti-US backlash may weaken Zardari's crackdown on terror: Time magazine

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Islamabad, Sept 27 : After restoration of democracy in Pakistan, the country's new President Asif Ali Zardari is facing an arduous task, as compared to his predecessor - military dictator turned President Pervez Musharraf, in fighting out the extremists amid growing scepticism towards the US among the Pakistani populace and media, said Times magazine in its latest issue.

"The strong scepticism toward US methods and intentions in Pakistan's civil society and its mass media means that Zardari may struggle to build and maintain support for a more muscular response to the extremists," the magazine said in an article.

It further said that despite all odds, including increase in US' incursions on his country's soil from across Afghan border, Zardari is striving hard to keep Islamabad's sovereignty and dignity intact.

According to the magazine, Zardari is facing a harder task than Musharraf, as far as extending support to the US-led war on terror is concerned. Anti-American sentiment started growing in Pakistan since last year, and lately it has only worsened. "Musharraf once called the war 'tightrope walking', but the problem for Zardari is that the rope is fraying and the winds are growing fierce"," said the magazine.

His efforts continue amid growing demands from the US for more decisive action against extremists and widespread opposition in the country over Pakistan's role in the US-led war on terror, added the report.

"For critics of the policy, it has always been 'an American War' forced on an unwilling country, and they blame it for bringing the Afghan conflict over the border and encouraging a wave of terrorism in Pakistan's major cities," the magazine said and added: "Over the past year, anti-American sentiment has become widespread even among secular liberals who felt betrayed by Washington's continuing to back a shopworn military dictator in the face of democratic opposition."

ANI

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