US frustrated with Zardari's political free-fall following poor flood relief response

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Washington, Aug.18 (ANI): The United States is frustrated by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's falling political popularity following his government's slow response to the deluge, which has submerged almost one-fifth of the nation, American officials have said.

The Obama administration, which is working hard to work together with the Pakistan government to allay the wide spread anti-American sentiments in the country, is irritated by Islamabad's slow response to the worst floods to have hit the country in decades.

U.S. officials, who have compared the human dislocation in Pakistan due to floods with the partition in 1947, regarded the floods as a moment for the civilian government to respond quickly and restore its flagging popularity, however Zardari's absence from the country has led to more criticism.

The United States was so frustrated with Zardari's initial response to the crisis that American officials reportedly pressed him to cut short his visit to Europe and head home to help contain the fallout, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to one of the officials, who did not wanted to be named, a senior Obama administration official "leaned pretty heavily" on Zardari.

Zardari's approval ratings have been dipping consistently even as the country struggles to cope with the crisis.

A poll by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center revealed that only one in five Pakistanis favoured the President, and his Europe tour during the initial days of the floods only added to his misery as well as caused further embarrassment for Washington.

The mighty Pakistani Army has been active in flood response, with over 60,000 troops involved, and this deepened the impression of many of the civilians that the military is in real command. (ANI)

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