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It has never been easy being a Pakistani. Pick a terrorist act committed anywhere in the world and chances are it has Pakistani fingerprints all over it. In many places, the word ‘Pakistani’ is a four-letter word.
So it must be a nasty kick in the guts for the Pakistanis to learn that their only allies, the Chinese, as well as the majority populations of several Muslim countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon, see them as a bunch of baddies.
A survey of 21 countries released on June 27, 2012 by the United States-based Pew Research Center suggests that Pakistan is not only a universally disliked country but the Pakistanis themselves have learnt nothing from their history, continuing to support the very actors who are responsible for their country’s negative image.
It is a measure of Pakistan’s penchant for exporting terrorists, counterfeit currency and drugs that India has constructed a 2043 km long steel fence across its border with its wayward western neighbour. The floodlit fence is so bright it can be seen from space as a bright orange line snaking from the Arabian Sea to Kashmir.
Now Iran is building a 700-km steel and concrete security fence along its border with Pakistan “to prevent border crossing by terrorists and drug traffickers”. When complete it will make Pakistan the most fenced-in country in the world.
In four of the five predominantly Muslim nations covered by the American survey, over half give Pakistan negative ratings. Jordan (57 percent), Lebanon (56 percent), Tunisia (54 percent) and Egypt (53 percent) had an unfavourable opinion of Pakistan. The only exception is Turkey, where attitudes are divided (43 percent negative and 37 percent favourable).
In East Asia, 52 percent of Chinese see Pakistan unfavourably, as do 59 percent in Japan and 59 percent in India. The Chinese response is not surprising as Pakistan-trained Uighur Muslims have launched terror strikes in China. Japan, a nation historically distrustful of foreigners, decided not to take chances and deported more than 15,000 Pakistanis after 9/11.