For Pakistanis, India bigger threat than Taliban, Al Qaeda: Survey
By Arun Kumar Washington, June 29 (Agency)
Only one in five Pakistanis have a favourable view of India with almost six in ten considering it a bigger threat to their country than the Taliban, or Al Qaeda, according to a new survey made available here.
But as the survey of Pakistan by the Pew Research Centre's Global Attitudes Project notes 22 percent of Pakistanis having a favourable view of India is actually a slight improvement from 14 percent last year.
Pakistanis have consistently identified India as the top threat since the question was first asked in 2009, it noted. The percentage fearing India has increased by 11 points to 59 percent since then, while the percentage naming the Taliban has decreased by nine points.
Despite these negative sentiments, 62 percent of Pakistanis say it is important to improve relations with India, the survey found. And roughly two-thirds support more bilateral trade and further talks to try to reduce tensions between the two nations.
Most Indians also want better relations, more trade, and further talks between the two nations, Pew reported.
Still, Indian attitudes toward Pakistan remain largely negative. Roughly six-in-ten Indians (59 percent) express an unfavourable opinion of Pakistan, although this is down slightly from 65 percent in 2011.
India is not the only country, however, where negative views of Pakistan prevail, the survey found.
Majorities or pluralities give Pakistan a negative rating in six of the seven other countries where this question was asked, including China, Japan, and three predominantly Muslim nations - Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia.
Pakistanis and Indians agree that Kashmir should be a priority for their countries. Roughly eight-in-ten Pakistanis and about six-in-ten Indians say it is very important to resolve the dispute over Kashmir.
The survey also found that following a year of tensions between their country and the United States, Pakistanis continue to hold highly unfavourable views of the US and offer bleak assessments of the relationship between the two nations.
Roughly three-in-four Pakistanis (74 percent) consider the US an enemy, up from 69 percent last year and 64 percent three years ago. And President Barack Obama is held in exceedingly low regard.
Indeed, among the 15 nations surveyed in both 2008 and 2012 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, Pakistan is the only country where ratings for Obama are no better than the ratings President George W. Bush received during his final year in office.
According to Pew Research Centre, the survey in Pakistan is part of the larger Spring 2012 Pew Global Attitudes survey conducted in 21 countries under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
Results for the survey in Pakistan are based on 1,206 face-to-face interviews of adults conducted March 28 to April 13, 2012. The sample is disproportionally urban, but the data are weighted to reflect the actual urban/rural distribution in Pakistan, Pew said.