July 2, 2009

NIHILISM IS SELDOM AN EASY SELL:

'What can they do except kill people?': Poll shows Pakistanis have turned against Taliban, Al Qaeda (The Associated Press, July 1st 2009)

The survey showed that 81%of Pakistanis believe the activities of the Taliban and other Muslim extremists were a "critical threat" to the country, up from the 34% polled on the same question in September 2007. Eighty-two percent said Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda was also a critical threat, exactly twice as many who thought so two years ago.

The poll was carried out by Socio-Economic Development Consultants in Islamabad on behalf of WorldPublicOpinion.org. It questioned 1,000 people across Pakistan from May 17 to 28 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The results mirror anecdotal accounts of a shift in the public mood in recent months, as well as among government leaders, politicians and army officers.

The Taliban's violation of a peace deal in Swat, a widely circulated video showing a militant allegedly beating a women in public and an uptick in suicide attacks around the country over the last year have contributed to the shift in public opinion.

Political analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais said he thought the anti-Taliban sentiment was "irreversible."

"Some people had this feeling that Taliban were good people and very religious and they have good intentions and they're nationalist," he said. "But today the sentiment against the Taliban is very strong because they are a disruptive force. They don't present an alternative to the modern nation-state. They don't have any vision for the economy.

"Can the Taliban generate electricity? Can they give you cheaper oil? What can they do except kill people?"

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 2, 2009 7:40 AM
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