ISLAMABAD: Pakistan accused Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama of “sheer ignorance” on Thursday for threatening to launch US military strikes against Al-Qaida on Pakistani soil.
Obama warned on Wednesday that if he is elected president, he would order US forces to hit extremist targets on Pakistan’s frontier with Afghanistan if embattled military ruler President Pervez Musharraf failed to act.
“Such statements are being made out of sheer ignorance,” Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information, Tariq Azeem, said.
“They are not fully apprised about the ground realities and not aware of the efforts by Pakistan.”
Reuters (as posted on the Khaleej Times website):
Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani of Baluchistan, a southwest Pakistani province that shares a long border with Afghanistan, said such remarks play badly in Pakistan and could backfire
“It sends a very bad signal to our public back home and they become very agitated over it and that puts pressure on the government and I think it doesn’t help,” he said in Washington in response to campaign remarks by Obama on Wednesday.Speaking amid debate in Washington over what to do about a resurgent Al Qaeda and Taleban in areas of northwest Pakistan, Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government.Ghani said the feeling in his frontline, Muslim country was that “We’ve had to pay a big price” in hundreds of fallen soldiers and multiple terror attacks as it has backed the US fight against the Taleban and Al Qaeda.“If that is the sort of appreciation you get, then why bother at all?” the governor told Reuters in an interview.
The Pakistan Foreign Office declined to comment without seeing Obama’s exact remarks, but issued a general warning for candidates.
“He (Obama) is not the president of the United States, we do not make comments on the observations of individual politicians. However, these are serious matters and should not be used for point-scoring,” FO spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told AFP.