As Pakistan prepares for national elections, the country’s public mood is exceedingly grim. Roughly nine-in-ten Pakistanis believe the country is on the wrong track, and about eight-in-ten say the economy is in poor shape, according to a new survey of Pakistan by the Pew Research Center.
Meanwhile, concerns about the extremist groups have increased. More than nine-in-ten Pakistanis describe terrorism as a very big problem, and about half now say the Taliban is a very serious threat to their country.
For the first time since the Pew Research Center began polling on these issues, the Taliban is essentially considered as a big threat to Pakistan as longtime rival India.While worries about the Taliban are growing, there is almost no desire to see the United States extend its fight against the group in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Two-in-three Pakistanis say it is a good thing that the US plans to remove most of its troops from Afghanistan by 2014. At the same time, Washington’s use of drones to target extremists in Pakistan is widely unpopular.
Overall, America’s image remains extremely negative in Pakistan: Only 11% give the US a favorable rating, and a similarly low number (10%) express confidence in President Barack Obama. Today, most Pakistanis (64%) see the US as more of an enemy than partner.
Meanwhile, fewer than one-in-ten Pakistanis say US economic assistance is having a beneficial effect on their country.
For the full survey, go to pewglobal.org/2013/05/07/on-eve-of-elections-a-dismal-public-mood-in-pakistan. This survey is available at pewresearch.org.