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Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Islamabad, November 07, 2012
In the words of political analyst Iftikhar Ahmed, possibly one of the only things that the US candidates agreed upon in their debates was how to proceed on Pakistan. “Both of them agreed that the drone strikes should continue and for Pakistanis, this is the most important part of Pakistan’s relations with the US.” Ahmed says that America’s drone policy has adversely affected relations with Islamabad despite all the money the US pumps into Pakistan in various forms of aid.

Analysts point out that under the Obama administration, drone attacks have risen significantly. “This can be because of better intelligence gathering by the US, but at the end of the day, it has to do with what the US president wants,” says another analyst, Tariq Fatemi.

Many hold Obama personally responsible for the rise in attacks. Some say that they expected Obama to come up with more “peaceful solutions.”

But in the eyes of others, the drones are not the main point of conflict. Fatemi says that during Obama’s administration, another very significant decision was taken which in turn affected relations with Pakistan. “This was the decision under the Kerry Lugar Bill to increase civilian aid to Pakistan over military aid.” Analysts agree that since this has happened, relations with the US have been bumpy.

Many in Pakistan feel that a Romney win will actually help change the direction of relations.