67 per cent support military operation in terrorist-infested Pak tribal region: Opinion poll

Peshawar, Dec 17 (ANI): The public support for military operations against terrorists in Pakistan's Swat region has increased dramatically over the last year, a new opinion poll suggests.

"In 2009 only 16.8% respondents supported the Army/security force operations in Swat, but this year 66.8% of the respondents supported the operation," the opinion poll- Understanding FATA- conducted by the Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP) has revealed.

"Apparently, the success of the Swat military offensive and the repatriation of over 2 million IDPs to Swat moulded their opinion in favour of the military offensive," it added.

41% of the respondents identified 'terrorist attacks' as the main threat to life, the report said, noting that the people were able to distinguish between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban.

"The reasons for the causes and sources of the Taliban are very illuminating and they are too complex to summarize here except to say that two-thirds of the respondents, 64.2%, have unfavourable opinions about Pakistan Taliban while only 36.2% believe that Afghan Taliban are terrorists, said the CAMP report.

"The idea that the Afghan Taliban are Islamic heroes fighting Western occupation in Afghanistan has dropped from 40.35% in 2009 to 20.2% in 2010 poll," it added.

Surprisingly, in the 2010 poll, half of the respondents did not know about Al Qaeda, and out of those who knew, an overwhelming majority of 72.58%, had an unfavourable opinion about the terrorist organisation.

"A contrast that gives pause to ponder is that more than 85% of the respondents have an opinion about the US and the UK, but respectively, 68.5% and 56.6% of the respondents have an unfavourable opinion about US and UK policies," the report added.

When asked whether Afghan refugees' should return to Afghanistan, an overwhelming 89.1% said that they should, which is an "upward change in sentiments since 2008."

On the justification of US drone attacks, the 2010 data showed that 58.8% of the respondents believed that such attacks are 'never justified'.

"24.4% of the respondents opined in a qualified manner that sometimes these attacks are justified if they are properly targeted and excessive civilian casualties are avoided. Only 4.4% believe that such drone attacks are 'always justified'," the CAMP report said.

"However, when examined by Agency, the variation of the 'never' category ranges from 99.3% in North Waziristan to 12.9% in Kurram," the report added. (ANI)

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