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Three-fourth of Pakistanis consider US enemy: survey

June 27, 2012 22:58 IST

As many as 74 per cent of people of Pakistan consider the United States as their enemy, a figure which is higher than the previous years and the approval rating of US President Barack Obama is exceedingly low in this regard, a new survey released on Wednesday said.

Following a year of tensions between their country and the US, Pakistanis continue to hold highly unfavorable views of the US and offer bleak assessments of the relationship between the two nations, the Pew Research center concluded following the survey it conducted in Pakistan.

"As many as 74 per cent of Pakistanis consider the US an enemy, up from 69 per cent last year and 64 per cent three years ago. And President Obama is held in exceedingly low regard," it said.

Additionally, over the last few years, Pakistanis have become less willing to work with the US on efforts to combat extremist groups, the report noted.

"While 50 per cent still want the US to provide financial and humanitarian aid to areas where extremists operate, this is down from 72 per cent in 2009," it said.

According to the report, Pakistanis continue to express considerable discontent with conditions in their own country.

About nine-in-ten (87 per cent) are dissatisfied with he country's direction and 89 per cent describe the national economic situation as bad.

For this survey, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1,206 Pakistanis between March 28 and April 13. The sample covers approximately 82 per cent of the Pakistani population.

Roughly four-in-ten believe that American economic and military aid is actually having a negative impact on their country, while only about one-in-ten think the impact is positive, it said.

Pew said, overall, concerns about extremism have ebbed since 2009, when the Pakistan military was battling Taliban- affiliated groups in the Swat Valley area near Islamabad.

Then, fully 69 per cent were concerned that extremists might take control of Pakistan, compared with 52 per cent on Wednesday.

When Pakistanis are asked more specifically about the Afghan Taliban and Tehrik-i-Taliban (also known as the TTP or Pakistan Taliban), opinions are again, on balance, negative, as they were in both 2010 and 2011, the survey results said.

Views are somewhat more mixed, however, regarding Lashkar-e-Tayiba, a radical group active in Kashmir and widely blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Roughly one-in-five Pakistanis (22 per cent) have a favorable view of Lashkar-e-Taiba, while 37 per cent give it a negative rating and 41 per cent offer no opinion.

Meanwhile, a solid majority (64 per cent) offers no opinion about the Haqqani network, a group associated with the Taliban that is active on both sides of the Pakistan- Afghanistan border, but is largely believed to be based in the FATA region of Pakistan.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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