Washington, Apr 12 : A former US diplomat, who once served in Pakistan, has said that after Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani taking over as the new prime minister of Pakistan, the country was now closer to "true democracy" than ever before.
Ambassador Joseph H Melrose Jr, who represented the US in several countries, including Pakistan, during his three-decade long foreign service, said that now it was highly unlikely that Pakistan could fall under the control of extremists.
He admitted the fact that the Americans often misunderstood Pakistan.
Melrose, currently a professor at the Ursinus College in Collegeville, Montgomery County, served as US ambassador to Sierra Leone, and as a senior consultant on counter terrorism in Pakistan from 2002-03.
According to Reading Eagle, a major Pennsylvanian newspaper, several people who attended the talk at the World Affairs Council event praised Melrose' optimism on Pakistan.
"I came away feeling better about Pakistan, that it's not as much of a threat to the US as I thought, and more of an ally," said Steph Jablonski, a world languages teacher at Muhlenberg High School who chaperoned nine of her students to the event.
World Affairs Council President Michael J McCarthy said that it was good for members to hear an accurate view of what is taking place in Pakistan.
He further said that peripheral support for extremism reflected that extremists could not take over the country and found it contrary to alarmists' negative views of things in Pakistan.