India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads for over half-a-century now, resulting in four wars, countless skirmishes, tenuous negotiations, occasional displays of trust and everything in between.
Despite the endless cycle of aggression and finger-pointing, there has been a fascinating change in how the average Pakistani has come to view India. Compared to 30-odd years ago, fewer Pakistani’s expect India to use a nuclear weapon—and more want the vexed Kashmir issue revolved without conflict.
But the distrust still persists.
These eight charts, with data from Gallup Pakistan, a Pakistani research organisation, capture the evolution.
The number of respondents Gallup Pakistan polled in 1979 and 1981 isn’t entirely clear but in its 2014 questionnaire on how the Kashmir issue should be resolved, the survey (PDF) took responses from 2514 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of Pakistan.
In a series of other polls conducted in 2014, Gallup Pakistan also surveyed how Pakistani’s feel about India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi—and his invitation to Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, for attending his inauguration in May 2014.
While there may have been wide support for Sharif’s visit to India, Pakistanis remain clear that Kashmir is the biggest point of conflict between the two countries—but many also believe that Pakistan’s tactic of internationalising the issue isn’t going to make things better.
Yet, India remains the most negatively viewed country among Pakistanis.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.