Though terror groups continue to strike in their country, a majority of Pakistanis still consider India as a major threat, view US as an enemy and are far less concerned about the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
While Pakistanis express serious concerns about the US, they have also deep worries about neighbour and long-time rival India than extremist groups within Pakistan, according to the prestigious Pew Research Centre opinion poll carried out inside Pakistan.
“When asked which is the greatest threat to their country – India, the Taliban or Al Qaeda – slightly more than half of Pakistanis (53 per cent) choose India, compared with 23 per cent for the Taliban and just 3 per cent for Al Qaeda,” it said.
However, despite the deep-seated tensions between India and Pakistan, most Pakistanis want better ties with India. Roughly seven-in-ten (72 per cent) said it is important for relations with India to improve and about three-quarters support increased trade with India and further talks between the two rivals, it said.
Inspite of pumping in billions of dollars in economic and military aid, the US image in Pakistan was at its lowest ever among the 22 nations included in the poll. Fifty-nine per cent of the respondents described US as an enemy and only eight per cent trusted US President Barack Obama.
The Pakistanis saw little threat from the Taliban and Al Qaeda and only 25 per cent of the people said it would be bad for Islamabad if the Taliban takes over again Afghanistan.
While 18 per cent said it would be good for Pakistan 57 per cent were not concerned. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley conceded that there is a huge trust deficit between the US and Pakistan.
“We understand – and the secretary (of state) in her recent trip and also in her trip last October – understand that there’s a deficit in trust in our relationship. There are those in Pakistan who recall and sense that they were abandoned by the US and the international community, going back 20 years or more,” he said.