Election 2012: Postcard from Islamabad

Updated 8:23 AM ET, Wed October 17, 2012
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Pakistanis burn a U.S. flag during a protest against an anti-Islam movie in Islamabad on September 15. Columnist Masud Alam says relations between the two countries are at an all-time low. AFP/Getty Images
A Pakistani girl collects onions in the garbage of vegetable market in the capital in 2009. While Islamabad's 'civil society' is following the U.S. election, Alam says the race is only of marginal interest to Pakistan's working classes. Getty Images/FILE
The average man in the streets, according to Alam, is fairly clear that America is an imperialistic and anti-Islamic country. AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Activists chant anti-British slogans during a protest against Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" in 2007. Alam says despite the fact Rushdie is British, Pakistanis protested the publishing of his book outside the American Center in Islamabad in 1989. AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Alam says things were different in 2008. Pakistan had just gotten rid of President Pervez Musharraf (L) and had voted in a democratic government. AFP/Getty Images
The front pages of Pakistan's leading newspapers showed the country's belief that Obama's election victory meant America was changing for the better. AFP/Getty Images/FILE
But today, Alam says, Obama has disappointed, and Pakistan remains politically corrupt and without hope. Here, Pakistani children play outside the grand Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. AFP/Getty Images/FILE
People pray inside the Faisal Mosque in the capital. Alam says Pakistan remains "a state living on the edge of being labeled a failure, with a population that largely believes America is indeed the Satan." AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Alam says Pakistanis are also "quite resigned to the fact that the government in Islamabad" -- currently led by President Asif Ali Zardari -- "is always more loyal to the United States than its own people". AFP/Getty Images