Islam, Militancy and Politics in Pakistan: Insights from a National Sample

Terrorism and Political Violence, Forthcoming

38 Pages Posted: 27 May 2010

See all articles by C. Christine Fair

C. Christine Fair

Georgetown University

Jacob N. Shapiro

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: May 25, 2010

Abstract

We use data from an innovative nationally representative survey of 6,000 Pakistanis in April 2009 to study beliefs about political Islam, Sharia, the legitimacy and efficacy of jihad, and attitudes towards specific militant organizations. These issues are the forefront of US policy towards Pakistan. Four results shed new light on the politics of militancy and Islamic identity in Pakistan. First there is no relationship between measures of personal religiosity and the likelihood a respondent expresses highly sectarian sentiments. Second, militarized jihad is widely seen as legitimate in Pakistan but there are substantial regional differences in the acceptance of militarized jihad. Third, attitudes towards militant groups vary dramatically across groups, particularly when it comes to the efficacy of their actions. Fourth while Pakistanis express massive levels of support for Sharia law this is driven by its perceived connection with good governance, not by sympathy with the goals of militant groups claiming to implement it.

Keywords: militancy in Pakistan, politics of militancy, Pakistani religious identity

Suggested Citation

Fair, C. Christine and Shapiro, Jacob N. and Malhotra, Neil A., Islam, Militancy and Politics in Pakistan: Insights from a National Sample (May 25, 2010). Terrorism and Political Violence, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1615764

C. Christine Fair (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Jacob N. Shapiro

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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