By Waqas Banoori / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A British Council survey published last week found Pakistani youth disgruntled with the government, politicians and institutions of the state, while beginning to prefer Islamic law and military rule over democracy.

This is bad news.

Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in the war on terror. It has hunted al-Qaida-type militants within its borders for the past decade, most of whom were imported from various Islamic countries as part of the Cold War-era jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

But before that, the Pakistani army played a major role in installing the Taliban government in Afghanistan in the 1990s as a regional security buffer. Then came 9/11, after which the United States forced the country into a U-turn, leading it to fight the same militants it had supported. As a result, Pakistan has suffered many more casualties than the United States — losing more than 40,000 civilians and military personnel and suffering economic losses estimated at $35 billion.

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