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A new survey has revealed that only 37% Pakistanis backed the war Pakistan’s army is fighting against the Taliban on its border with Afghanistan.
The support of Pakistanis for its army’s war against extremism is waning, illustrating the uphill battle facing the U.S. as it tries to get Pakistan to ratchet up military pressure on the Taliban, according to data from a new opinion poll.
The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, in a survey of over 3,000 respondents in Pakistan, found that only 37% backed the war Pakistan’s army is fighting against the Taliban on its border with Afghanistan.
That score is 16 percentage points lower than two years ago and captures the bind Pakistan’s military is in.
Pakistan has lost almost 3,000 soldiers fighting the Taliban. The U.S. is urging Pakistan to pour even more troops into fight in a bid to up the pressure on the Taliban on both sides of the border, allowing U.S. troops to begin sizable troop draw-downs from Afghanistan.
Yet Pakistanis overwhelmingly see their greatest enemies as the U.S. and India, making the war a hard sell at home.
The Pew poll found only 12% of respondents held a positive view of the U.S. Most Pakistanis view Washington as an enemy. Only 14% approved of the killing of Osama bin Laden in a secret U.S. raid last month on his villa in a Pakistan garrison town.
A hard core of Islamists in the country –12% according to the survey — continue to harbor favorable views of al Qaeda and the Taliban.
India is still regarded as Enemy Number One. Three-in-four Pakistanis express an unfavorable opinion of India, up from 50% five years ago. Almost two-thirds say India is the biggest threat to their country, more than the Taliban or al Qaeda.
The pollsters carried out two surveys: one in April and another in May after the raid that killed bin Laden to measure any changes of opinion.
The raid appears to have had little effect on views, only hardening pre-existing concerns about the U.S., which did not inform Pakistan before it killed bin Laden.
The poll did show a slight dent in enthusiasm for Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who many in Pakistan blame for failing to stop the secret raid. 52% of respondents gave him a favorable rating in the second survey, down from 57% before the raid.
The army, though, remains popular, with 79% of people saying it has a good influence on the country.
By contrast, only 11% of Pakistanis said they had a favorable impression of President Asif Ali Zardari, down from 20% last year.
Via: India Real Time