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Increasing Terrorism  

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The law and order situation in the country has always been a subject of particular interest for the public for it affects the people’s lives directly. Gallup Pakistan, therefore, always tries to include questions pertaining to law and order in its regular surveys and polls.
In February 2007, respondents were questioned about the rate of terrorism in the country. The majority of the people, standing at 60%, were of the view that terrorism had increased in the country in the past few years, 10% said that it had decreased and 29% were of the opinion that there had been no change. When questioned about the efforts that the government had directed towards controlling this terrorism, 7% said that the government had been very successful, 33% considered the government to be somewhat triumphant, 59% believed that the government had not been successful at all and 1% said that they did not know. 14% of those questioned also believed that the law and order situation in the country had improved over the past few years, 43% asserted that it had deteriorated and 42% said that there had been no change.
These questions were also asked in 2006. In 2006, 71% of the respondents stated that the rate of terrorism had increased in country, 8% believed that it had declined and 20% were unsure. Also, 10% thought that the law and order situation in the country had improved, 56% believed that it had worsened, 26% said that there had been no change and 8% said that they did not know. When asked specifically about the month of Moharram, which always brings violence and bloodshed with it, 57% of the people said that the law and order situation had been better in the last Moharram as compared to the previous years. On the other hand, 12% felt that it had worsened, 29% stated that there had been no change and 2% were uncertain.
Comparatively, in 2005, 58% of the people were of the view that the rate of terrorism had increased in the country. 18% disagreed with this view and said that terrorism had decreased and 24% said that there had been no change.
The respondents are also questioned after significant terrorist attacks in the country. This helps Gallup in not only assessing the current situation more accurately but also in capturing the changes in the attitudes of the people.
For instance, the people were surveyed after the suicide bombing at an Eid Millad-Un-Nabi gathering at Karachi in early 2006. 91% of the people were aware of this incident as compared o only 5% who had not heard or read about it. 19% of the respondents held US agencies responsible for this incident, 7% blamed Israel, 35% believed that other foreign agencies were responsible and 12% blamed India. Another 12% held religious groups liable while 2% believed that Al-Qaeda was in involved in this incident. 10%, however, said that they did not know. 52% of the people also believed that the groups/organizations responsible for these attacks were the ones who had carried out similar acts of terrorism in the city in the past as well. 20%, on the other hand, contradicted this notion.
Another important recent incident was the bomb blasts that occurred in the capital at Bari Imam in 2006. As far as this event is concerned, 41% of the people held foreign agencies responsible, 11% blamed the government itself and 20% believed that the religious groups were somehow involved. 28% said that they did not know.
These figures are a clear indicator of the lack of confidence that the general public has in the current government’s ability to control terrorist activities in the country. The people are so shaken that some of them have even contemplated the possibility of the government being involved in these acts itself. Not only is the current situation deplorable but sadly, there seems to have been no improvement whatsoever in the past few years. It is no wonder that most people fear for their safety.
These surveys and polls were conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of Gallup International, on a sample of over 1100 respondents in urban areas of all four provinces of Pakistan. This sample was statistically selected across all ages, income groups and educational levels. The error for a sample of this kind is estimated to be +/- 5% at a 95% confidence level.

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