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Bad, bad, America! 


Things have been very different at home ever since the September 11 attacks. While the Pakistani government has opted to support the United States since, the people seem to feel very different even today. These observations were highlighted by the various surveys that have been conducted by Gallup Pakistan over the past few years.
An extensive survey was carried out during President Bush’s visit to Pakistan last year. In 2006, 66% of the people questioned stated that they disliked President Bush as compared to 11% who claimed to like him. 23% did not give a definite answer. 29% of the people also felt that this visit would not be beneficial for Pakistan, 21% thought that it would be fruitful and 48% were of the view that it would have no significant impact on the country.
Back then, a lot of people also felt that the US pressurized the state into undertaking measures that it normally would not have carried out. When questioned about the initiation of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Israel, 19% considered it to be Pakistan’s own decision and 48% believed that it had happened because of US pressure. Similarly, 50% of the people strongly felt that Pakistan would not have established relations with Israel had there been no pressure from the States. 47% of those questioned were not happy with Pakistan’s decision as opposed to 15% who were content with it and 38% who said that they did not know.
Neither were the people happy with the establishment of close ties between India and the US and they held the US responsible for this situation. When asked about this issue in 2006, 30% of the people stated that the close relations between India and the States would deteriorate Pakistan-US relations, 47% said that there would be no difference and 21% thought that this would improve Pakistan-US relations.
Several questions pertaining to the September 11 attacks were also put forward to the respondents in 2006. 37% of the respondents were of the view that these attacks had been orchestrated by US groups. Only 14% viewed the United Stated as a victim in these attacks while 54% considered the US to be the transgressor. A vast majority, standing at 77%, were convinced that these attacks had brought problems for the Muslims worldwide, 6% said that they did not know and 17% thought that they had been beneficial for the Muslims. Only 6% of the Pakistani people thought of the US government and the US people as good.
Perhaps most of the people feel this resentment towards the United States because they believe that it interferes too much in matters which should be handled by the government itself. In 2006, after the revelation of handing over of Al-Qaeda members to the States by Pakistan in President Musharraf’s book, 38% of the people expressed their disapproval of the action. 38% were not sure and 23% thought that the Pakistan had done the right thing.
This attitude had not changed much in 2007. In early 2007, 37% of the Pakistani’s indicated their suspicions that the US was involved in the increased number of suicide bombings all over the country. 64% also asserted that they did not think that the US was at all interested in establishing peace in South Asia. Comparatively, 14% thought that it very serious about doing so and 21% felt that it was somewhat interested in doing so.
In April 2007, 44% of the respondents questioned said that Pakistan should no longer support the US in the war against terrorism as compared to 26% who felt that the country should continue its support. 30% said that they did not know. 25% of those questioned also believed that Pakistan-US relations had deteriorated over the past few years, 39% thought that these relations had improved and 36% stated that they did not know.
These surveys and polls were conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of Gallup International, on a sample of over 1100 respondents in urban areas of all four provinces of Pakistan. This sample was statistically selected across all ages, income groups and educational levels. The error for a sample of this kind is estimated to be +/- 5% at a 95% confidence level.