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PEW Survey Results

24 August, 2005

By Khalid khokar


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PEW Research Center (a US nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the trends shaping the world) has conducted a survey of International attitudes on terrorism and has released its new findings.  From the perspective of global war on terrorism, the report revealed that the support for suicide bombing and Osama bin Laden has been dramatically reduced since 2002 in Muslim countries allied with the United States.  In Indonesia, Turkey and Morocco, 15 percent or less of the population back suicide bombers, and in Lebanon, the number has almost halved, to 39 percent of those polled.  Meanwhile, confidence in Osama bin Laden has also plunged in Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon, the support for democracy is rising throughout the Islamic world, Pew found.  But, startlingly, the survey showed increase in the popularity in Pakistan; - of the man who masterminded the mass murders of Sept. 11.  "Pakistan has seen increases in its population's already substantial backing for Osama (more than 50 percent support him, meaning about 75 million people".  The Pew quoted.
The report smacks of biasness and lacks objectivity in measuring the valid and reliable attitudes of the people of Pakistan.  Pakistan is emerging as a tolerant and moderate Muslim state.  Majority of Pakistanis are moderate and appreciate the thesis of enlightened moderation propounded by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.  However, very few are extremists sitting on the fringe of the bordering area.  So, therefore, it is misconstrued by western media that the imprint of every major act of terrorism invariably passes through Pakistan.  Pakistan consistently denies giving the militants any type of moral, diplomatic and political support.  Pakistan condemns terrorism in its all forms and manifestations.  Already, Pakistan has handed over as many as 700 al Qaeda operatives into US custody including some high value targets in the al Qaeda leadership such as Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, Abu Zubaydah, and recently Abu Faraj al-Libbi.  About 70,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed on the bordering areas along side Afghanistan to contain Al-Qaeda element on the Western front.  Pakistan Army coupled with the security forces had fought vigorously against foreign terrorists, who had taken shelter in the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), losing nearly 230 officers and men.  Most recently, Pakistan security forces have rounded up about 600 suspected militants and Islamic clerics in a week-long crackdown that followed the July 7 London attacks.  Of those arrested, 295 belonged to militant groups banned by President Pervez Musharraf in the past three years.  The remaining 300 detainees included clerics, mosque prayer leaders and others taken into custody for inciting anti-Western and sectarian hatred through sermons and provocative literature.
President General Pervez Musharraf's resolve to confront terrorism and extremism, is not adequately picked up by the western media especially survey organizations, rather they are dependent on the information of few NGOs already biased to the governmental efforts.  The President has outlined a number of steps he intends to take, like setting of a December deadline for the registration of madrassas.  Registration and careful monitoring may lead to some controls on funding and links with militant organizations.  One thing that sparks controversy over Pakistan's selfless effort to curb terrorism is the dichotomous statements between the government and the ruling party.  The President criticizes madrassas, the minister for religious affairs and the PML chief give them a clean chit.  This indicates a sense of confusion at the highest levels.  Some of it may be due to a difference of opinion between those who favour appeasement of religious parties as a way to neutralize them and those who want stronger action.  It only gives wrong signals to the western societies - who often expect more from Pakistan on the war on terror.  The President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has put a stop to the tide of hate-filled messages advocated by seminaries.  Progress on Madrassa reform is difficult and dangerous, as raids on Madaris were pitting people against people, therefore, it may take a while.
Despite all positive efforts, it is regrettable the foreign media and key opinion-makers has refused to dislodge its venomous stance against the Government.  Pakistan has made positive and substantive contribution in the fight against terrorism.  It has paid the heavy price and has come a long way in rooting out the scourge of terrorism.  Various research agencies must take a stock of the aspiration of the majority of the people of Pakistan who believe in democracy and civil liberties.  Islam plays a greater role in politics and it is believed that's a good thing.  Cautiousness is the right attitude to take toward the Pew findings.  Nevertheless, we have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.  There is a lot of work left to be done.

Reader Comments:

Mr Khokar are you sugesting Pew is biased against Pakistan?But its not biased against Turkey, Lebanon, Indonesia, Morocco and rest of the muslim world? Why the hell should it decide to get 'prejudiced' when it comes to Pakistan? Could it be that its findings are true? I think so. Just look at the articles on Paktribune, most are directed against the West.Many of writers seem to take pleasure in peeling the hypocracy of the West. OBL hardly gets any negative attention. Considering that Pakistan is in a mess, every day some innocent is tortured to death by Police but all our writers seem to be concerned about is death of Charles Mennez in London. We have a Mennenz happening in Pakistan every day, which of course non of our writers seem to think worth talking about.
How is the poor oppressed in Pakistan? Yet everybody is busy talking about Western oppression. The elite have the entire country intoxicated with the wrongs of West - After all that covers up whats being done to 10s of millions in Pakistan every day. Do we have justice in Pakistan? No, so should we not be sorting that out then babbling about whats happened in London or Washington, after all the millions of poor in our villages lead miserable lives which are not going to change one bit despite what happens in London or USA.
Rabid articles against the West are not going to change anything inside Pakistan. The principle inside Pakistan all poor and the weak know is 'Might is right' and then we have the galls to expect the West to drop its 'might is right'?

N. Khan, Pakistan - 24 August, 2005

Interesting article

Washington, DC: Surprise has been expressed at the lack of reaction in the Muslim world at the impending demolition of the house of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) by the Saudi authorities.
An op-ed article in Toronto Star, Canada's widely-circulated daily, by Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim activist and broadcaster, finds it incomprehensible that while the demolition of the Babri Mosque by Hindu zealots at Ayodhya continues to remain an emotive issue with Muslims, what the Saudi authorities plan to do has evoked no protest at all.
Fatah writes, “What makes this demolition worse is the fact that the home of the Prophet is to make way for a parking lot, two 50-storey hotel towers and seven 35-storey apartment blocks; a project known as the Jabal Omar Scheme, all within a stone's throw of the Grand Mosque. Yet despite this outrage, not a single Muslim country, no ayatollah, no mufti, no king, not even a Muslim Canadian imam has dared utter a word in protest. Such is the power of Saudi influence on the Muslim narrative.”
The writer wonders if the lack of a response is because Muslims have become so overwhelmed by the power of the Saudi riyal that they have lost all courage and self-respect. Or is it because they feel a need to cover up Muslim-on-Muslim violence, Muslim-on-Muslim terror or Muslim-on-Muslim oppression? He notes that one man who is standing up to the demolition plan is Saudi architect Dr Sami Angawi, who is leading “a one-man campaign.” to save the sacred and historic edifice. He told a London newspaper, “The house where the Prophet received the word of God is gone and nobody cares ... this is the end of history in Mecca and Medina and the end of their future.”
According to Fatah, “The cultural massacre of Islamic heritage sites is not a new phenomenon. It is said that in the last two decades, 95 per cent of Mecca's 1,000-year-old buildings have been demolished. In the early 1920s, the Saudis bulldozed and leveled a graveyard in Medina that housed the graves of the family and companions of Muhammad. Today, the religious zealots in Saudi Arabia are not alone.
”Commercial developers have joined hands with them and are making hundreds of millions in profits as they build ugly, but lucrative high-rises that are shadowing the Grand Mosque known as the Kaaba. Today Saudi petrodollars have the ability to silence even its most vocal critics, but when all is said and done, history will render a harsh judgment on those who try to wipe out its footprints and steal the heritage of all humanity.”




ashah, Pakistan - 29 August, 2005

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