Pakistanis Want Larger Role for Both Islam and Democracy

Mon Jan 7, 2008 10:10am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Majority Reject 'Talibanization' and Favor Reform of Madrassas 

Growing Perception that US Threatens Islam 


WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- An in-depth survey of Pakistani
public opinion reveals majority support for a moderate and democratic Islamic
state, though a small but significant minority shows sympathy for Islamist
militant groups.

Most Pakistanis want Islam to play a larger role in Pakistani society. 
However, a majority also favors a more democratic political system, rejects
'Talibanization," and supports recent government efforts to reform the
madrassah system by focusing more on science and mathematics.  Majorities have
little sympathy for Islamist military groups and most would like to see the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas integrated into Pakistan.

The survey also found that Pakistani attitudes toward the United States are
negative and that there is a growing perception that the United States is
hostile toward Islam.  

The survey was conducted from Sept. 12-18, just before President Pervez
Musharraf declared a six-week state of emergency and before the assassination
of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  The sample included 907 Pakistani
urban adults, selected using multi-stage probability sampling, who were
interviewed at home in 19 cities.  The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percent.  

It was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org (http://www.worldpublicopinion.org)
in collaboration with, and with financial support from, the U.S. Institute of
Peace (http://www.usip.org). 

Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org comments, "While Pakistan is
racked by conflict between leaders and groups vying for power, this poll
indicates that most Pakistanis largely agree on what kind of state they want
and on how they want the government to deal with the many challenges it
faces."

C. Christine Fair, senior research fellow of the US Institute of Peace (now at
RAND) observes, "With Pakistan as perhaps the most important country in the
war on terrorism, the good news is that majorities of Pakistanis view most
militant groups in Pakistan as a threat. The bad news is that many Pakistanis
view the U.S. with great suspicion. "

A briefing on the poll findings and implications will take place at the US
Institute of Peace, Washington DC, on January 7 from 2:00 - 4:00pm.


SOURCE  WorldPublicOpinion.org

Steven Kull of WorldPublicOpinion.org, +1-202-232-7500; or C. Christine Fair
of the U.S. Institute of Peace, cell: +1-202-460-9295
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