15 August 2009

What Is Pakistan Thinking?

Numbers are in from the 2009 Pew Global Attitudes survey of Pakistan. Pew interviewers sat down with 1,254 adults in Pakistan between May 22 and June 9, 2009. Most respondents came from urban areas, but some of the most troubled/unstable areas - including the FATA - were not surveyed. The area covered by the sample represents approximately 90% of the adult population.

Pakistanis are worried and unhappy about their own government, about the threat from Islamic extremists, and about American intervention. The following - in my opinion - are some of the highlights:

What are Pakistanis Worried About?

  • 79% are concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan
  • 69% worry that extremist groups could take control of their country
  • 69% believe India poses a very serious threat to Pakistan, while only 57% regard the Taliban and 41% regard al Qaeda in that way.
  • 93% say crime is a very big problem in Pakistan
  • 91% say terrorism is a very big problem in Pakistan
  • 76% say the economy is a very big problem in Pakistan
  • 74% say illegal drugs are a very big problem in Pakistan
  • 74% say the Kashmir issue is a very big problem in Pakistan
  • 71% say corrupt political leaders are a very big problem, (up from 64% in 2007 and 58% in 2002)

Who Do Pakistanis Like and Dislike?

  • 70% rate the Taliban unfavorably (up from 33% last year), only 10% view it favorably
  • 61% rate al Qaeda unfavorably (up from 34% last year), only 9% view it favorably
  • 47% have little or no confidence in Usma bin Laden to do the right thing regarding world affairs (up from 28% last year), and 18% have at least some confidence in the al Qaeda leader (down from 34% last year)
  • 16% have a favorable view of the U.S.
  • 64% regard the U.S. as an enemy, while only 9% describe it as a partner
  • 84% have a favorable view of China, and 80% consider China a partner

What Are Some of Pakistan's Gripes With the U.S.?

  • 22% of Pakistanis think the U.S. takes their interests into account when making foreign policy decisions (nearly unchanged from 21% in 2007)
  • Most (54%) Pakistanis believe the U.S. is siding with India over Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir

What Are Pakistani Sentiments About the UAV Missle Strikes?

  • 62% of those who have heard of the UAV missile strikes targeting extremist leaders say they are a very bad thing, and another 33% say they are a bad thing.
  • 58% say the UAV attacks are not necessary to protect their country from extremists, while 34% believe they are necessary.
  • 93% of those who have heard of the UAV missile strikes say they kill too many innocent people

What Do Pakistanis think About US Counterterroism Efforts in the Region?

  • 56% oppose U.S.-led efforts to fight terrorism
  • 72% want the U.S. and NATO to remove their military troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible
  • 16% approve of Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan
  • 72% say they would support U.S. financial and humanitarian aid to areas where extremist groups operate
  • 63% support the idea of the U.S. providing intelligence and logistical support to Pakistani troops who are combating extremist groups
How Do Pakistanis Feel About Suicide Bombings?

  • 87% believe suicide bombings are never justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies - representing stronger opposition than in almost any other major Muslim country

How Do Pakistanis Feel About Punishment and Enforcement of Social/Religious Rules?

  • 78% support death penalty for those who leave Islam
  • 80% support whippings and cutting off hands for crimes like theft and robbery
  • 83% favor stoning for adulterers