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Hopes in new year depressed

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: Unlike their neighbours, Pakistanis look forward to the coming year with despair, according to a worldwide survey by the Gallup International Association, a body different from Washington-based Gallup Inc.

Nearly three times more Pakistanis think that 2011 will be “a year of difficulty” for them than those who think it will bring economic prosperity. Against that 24 per cent of the respondents in India and Afghanistan had ‘Net Hope’ in the year, the survey released by the Pakistani associate Dr Ijaz Shafi Gilani here on Wednesday said.

However, the survey cautioned that “Hope Scores are volatile and can make sharp jump in short years”. In previous years, India generally scored lower than Pakistan on such measures, it noted. Even now the per capita income in the two countries is not far apart – $3,260 in India and $2,710 in Pakistan. “But when it comes to Net Hope the gap is much bigger, +24 per cent compared with -21 per cent respectively.

“Our society as well as government seem to have a tough task ahead of them in 2011,” remarked Dr Gilani.

About Afghanistan’s Net Hope score of +24 per cent for the year, and Iraq’s +17 per cent, the survey said “it is conceivable that popular opinion in both the countries is beginning to see a roadmap of American withdrawal”.

While in Pakistan’s case it might be lingering uncertainty and the devastation caused by floods that “created a mood of economic pessimism,” the survey sa

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