Whilst The US elections long over, Pakistan has crucial elections coming up. Many experts predict that former cricketer champion, Imran Khan the founder of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf commonly referred to as PTI, will be the winner. We believe that Pakistan is a very important country due to its location, it being the 6th largest country by population, and its role on the region. We believe that many basic issues, especially related to US-Pakistan relations are ignored by the American media. Mrs. Fauzia Kasuri is one of the founders of the party, and the President of the Women Wing of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf. She was kind enough to answer some questions we had about Pakistan, US Pakistani relations and how they might change under the new leadership of the PTI.
Can you just tell us a little bit about the PTI? What is your role there?
PTI stands for Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf which means a movement for justice. It was founded 16 years ago by Mr.Imran Khan, who is also the Chairman of the party.
It is the biggest grass root movement in the history of Pakistan, struggling for the rule of law, empowerment of the common people, an end to corruption and the establishment of a modern, Islamic Welfare State.
I am a founding member of the party and the head of the Women Wing of PTI. It has been my responsibility to recruit and mobilize female members, across Pakistan. In addition, I play an active role in galvanizing our women to play a more effective part in mainstream politics and help bring CHANGE to Pakistan.
Can you tell us about the impact of drone strikes in terms of Pakistani opinions of American foreign policy in the region?
Drone Strikes are seen as an aggression against the sovereignty of Pakistan. They are perceived as an inhuman act of cruelty, violating all norms of fundamental human rights. The killing of innocent civilians, who inadvertently bear the major brunt of these strikes, has resulted in feelings of hatred against the US policies in our region.
The Osama Bin Laden raid in particular, was close to Islamabad, while most drone strikes are in North West, not near the major cities. Did this have more of an impact than drone strikes?
There were serious questions raised as to who allowed the American forces to enter Pakistan? It was particularly humiliating to the Pakistanis that the news of the operation was revealed by the US President, and not by our local officials. Every one was furious and felt terribly let down by our intelligence services.
Yes, the raid in Abbottabad was a great shock for the entire Pakistani nation. This was a city in close proximity to the nation's capital, Islamabad. It was seen as a great failure of our intelligence services. The precision, alacrity and confidence with which the raid was conducted and completed, raised numerous doubts in the minds of Pakistanis, about the involvement of the government or military agencies of our country...questions were raised on if and how they may have facilitated the operation.
America gives $2 Billion in aid to Pakistan. We have spoken to countless people who claim the administration of Asif Ali Zardari doesn't give a penny back to the people, what do you think about US aid?
Corruption is a major issue within the ruling elite in Pakistan. It is true that most foreign aid never reaches the common people, for whom it was intended. The Zardari government has broken all records of mismanagement and corrupt practices, as is being regularly reported by the local and international media. There is no reason not to believe that US Aid, sent to Pakistan is lost and plundered at the hands of an incompetent and discredited government mafia.
One specific example is the US Aid that was granted for the Benazir Income Support Fund. As a result of corruption, plunder, misuse of funds, no transparency in the maintenance of accounts, no audit and no accountability, the US Aid halted disbursement of pledged funds for the program, after the initial first tranche.
The government of Punjab is not far behind or different. funds allocated and sent for the setting up of primary schools in the province, by US Aid, were diverted to the infamous laptop scheme. This is a project of distribution of laptops to students, as a political stunt and to promote party agendas.
Following up on the previous question, there is a good chance Imran Khan will win the upcoming elections, and get massive support from the youth. Do you share this assessment? Do you believe that the Zardari Administration could fix the elections in his favor? We saw recent news that Imran Khan would like to deploy the army at polls and ensure the elections are fair.
PTI is all set and optimistic to win the next general elections in Pakistan. There is no doubt that Imran Khan is the political leader who