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Pakistan thinks India bigger threat than Taliban or Al Qaeda

india Updated: Jul 31, 2010 02:12 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Torn apart by terror attacks within its borders, three in four Pakistanis still think India is their biggest threat, not the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

One in four sees the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), the group behind 26/11, favourably. Terror itself appears to worry Pakistanis less than before. They are more positively inclined towards terror outfits than a year ago.

These are some of the findings of a survey by Washington-based Pew Research Centre.

Over half, 53 per cent, consider India a “very serious threat” and another 21 per cent consider it a “somewhat serious threat”. The numbers for Al Qaeda and Taliban are far lower: 21 and 38 per cent and 34 and 54 per cent, respectively.

The survey also demonstrates a hardening of attitudes, as it points out that “the percentage of Pakistanis naming India rather than the Taliban or Al Qaeda as the biggest threat facing their country has increased somewhat since last year.

Fewer than half (48 per cent) thought India was the biggest threat in 2009.” On the other hand, Pakistanis think they face less of a threat from either the Al Qaeda or Taliban as against last year.

The highest numbers in this context come from Punjab province, the base of the LeT, where 84 per cent consider India a serious threat. A greater percentage of Pakistanis hold a favourable view of the LeT than of Al Qaeda or Taliban, though more Pakistanis now view these two terror outfits favourably than they did last year.

The report shows that despite the US pouring money into Pakistan, Pakistanis consider the US the enemy. Just eight per cent are confident that US President Barack Obama will do the right thing with regard to world affairs; 18 per cent believe Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will. Last year, confidence in the US President was five per cent higher.

The survey sample included face-to-face interviews with 2,000 adults in April. PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan were left out.