Pakistan survey: Taliban lack sympathy in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkwa, FATA, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan

ISLAMABAD: A majority of Pakistanis don’t approve of Islamabad’s decision to join the US-led war on terror but, at the same time, they don’t believe that the Taliban are fighting for Islam, according to a survey carried out by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (Pips).

Findings of the “Radicalisation in Pakistan” survey released on Tuesday show that 63.6 per cent of the respondents were against joining the war on terror, and 46.3pc were of the opinion that the Taliban were not fighting for Islam.

Even among those who sounded sympathetic to the militant organisation, 39.7pc condemned its acts of violence, such as attacks on girls’ schools, cinemas and CD shops. But about 22pc of them did not know how to respond to such acts.

According to the survey report, Taliban has sympathisers mostly in Balochistan (49.4pc) and Punjab (30.1pc) who believe that they are fighting for Islam.

Surprisingly, there are not many Taliban sympathisers in Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Only 22pc respondents in Fata and 25.3pc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa believe the Taliban are fighting for Islam.

However, 45.7pc of the respondents in Fata did not respond to the question.

The report reveals that Taliban do not enjoy much support in Sindh, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The respondents appeared concerned about the condition of Muslims and 77.7pc thought that they lagged behind other nations. Most of them (31.2pc) were of the opinion that this is because they had deviated from Islam. Only 18.1pc maintained that it was due to their backwardness in the fields of science and technology.

Another significant finding is that a large number of people (46.8pc) want religio-political parties given a chance to rule the country, despite the fact that the electoral performance of these parties were not “impressive’ in October 2002 when analysts attributed whatever success they achieved to the strong anti-American sentiments in the country.

The respondents also expressed interesting views on Jihad.

Very few (2.7pc) were of the view that Muslims had failed to progress in the world because they had lost their passion to fight against their enemies. About 28pc people believed that Jihad should be waged against cruelty and not to spread Islam to every corner of the world as five per cent of the respondents believed.

A large number of the respondents (20.4pc) were concerned about religious differences in the country. They blamed these disagreements for sectarianism and religious extremism.

However, a large number of people (21.6pc) did not take the disagreements seriously and said that these had been preordained and prophesied. The survey clearly captures growing religiosity among the masses.

Not surprisingly, 65pc of the respondents said a person who did not pray five times a day could not become a better Muslim. Nearly 59pc of them said the struggle for implementation of Sharia was also Jihad.

However, about 81pc of the respondents considered female education as “extremely necessary” and only a small percentage (12.5) thought it was “not very important”.

Nearly 23pc of the people surveyed said they did not listen to music, and (15.8pc) of them said it was because of religious reasons.

Interestingly, 51pc of the total sample endorsed Junaid Jamshaid’s decision to quit singing.

The respondents were from all urban and rural areas in the four provinces, Fata, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir (excluding military restricted areas).

The survey population was selected through probability/random sampling. Most of the people (53.4 and 14.8pc, respectively) belonged to urban areas and small towns. But a significant proportion (29.9pc) came from the rural community. A large majority of the respondents were either in intermediate (29.3pc) or pursuing a graduation or master’s degree (37.5pc).

Only 8.3pc of the people were not literate and 2.2pc had received only madressah education.

Interestingly, the general perception about the wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir is at variance with the recent militant discourse.,-says-survey-960



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