The roots of militancy: Explaining support for political violence in Pakistan

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Content: The Roots of Militancy: Explaining Support for Political Violence in Pakistan
C. Christine Fair Georgetown University
Neil Malhotra Stanford University
Jacob N. Shapiro Princeton University
This version December 28, 2009 Abstract Combating militant violence--particularly within South Asia and the Middle East--stands at the top of the international security agenda. Despite the extensive literature on the determinants of political attitudes, little is known about who supports militant organizations and why. To address this gap we conducted a 6000-person, nationally-representative survey of Pakistanis that measures affect towards four important militant organizations. We apply a novel measurement strategy to mitigate social desirability bias and item non-response, which plagued previous surveys due to the sensitive nature of militancy. Our study reveals key patterns of support for militancy. First, Pakistanis exhibit negative affect toward all four militant organizations, with those from areas where groups have been most active disliking them the most. Second, personal religiosity does not predict support, although views about what constitutes jihad do. Third, wealthy Pakistanis and those who support core democratic rights are more supportive of militant organizations than others. Longstanding arguments tying support for violent political organizations to individuals' economic prospects or attitudes towards democracy--and the subsequent policy recommendations--may require substantial revision.
Introduction Combating militant violence--particularly within South Asia and the Middle East--stands at the top of the international security agenda. Despite the extensive literature on the determinants of political attitudes, surprisingly little is known about who supports militant organizations and why. Given the massive suffering violent non-state political organizations cause and their prominence in driving international politics, this is a striking gap in the literature. The dearth of empirical studies on this topic is especially striking in light of the fact that political scientists have developed and tested a range of arguments about factors that influence reactionary or violent political attitudes more generally. These arguments can be usefully categorized according to the independent variable thought to drive political attitudes. Five variables stand out in this literature and related policy discourse: (1) religiosity, with more religious people expected to be less supportive of destructive political attitudes in general but more supportive of groups using religious justifications for violence (Putnam 2000; Jefferis 2010); (2) education, with more educated individuals hypothesized to be more tolerant and therefore less supportive of groups employing violent tactics (Stouffer 1955; McCloskey and Brill 1983); (3) income, with poorer people expected to be more supportive of violent politics or more likely to participate in violent groups (see Sambanis 2004 for a thorough review); (4) democratic values, with those valuing democracy expected to be less supportive of militant groups (e.g. Almond and Verba 1963; Kirwin and Cho 2009); and (5) anti-Americanism, with people holding negative views of the United States hypothesized to be more supportive of certain forms of violence (Tessler and Robbins 2007). As with most any kind of political behavior, there are conflicting findings about the influence of each of these variables in different contexts. Given the manifest importance of the political violence and lack of clarity in the extant literature, it is rather striking that political scientists have not extensively studied the politics of militant organizations. To address this lacuna, we designed and conducted an original, 6,000person nationally-representative survey of Pakistani adults that measures affect towards four specific militant organizations. We apply a novel measurement strategy to mitigate social desirability bias and item nonresponse, which plagued previous surveys due to the sensitive nature of militancy in the region. Our 1
"Endorsement Experiment" (detailed below) overcomes these issues.1 Asking respondents directly whether they support militant organizations has numerous problems in places suffering from political violence. First, it is often unsafe for enumerators and respondents to discuss such issues. Second, item non-response rates to such sensitive questions are often quite high given that respondents fear that providing the "wrong" answer will threaten their own and their family's safety. Third, responses to direct questions are subject to social desirability bias. In other words, they are a combination of respondents' true attitudes and what they believe to be the socially appropriate response. Our empirical strategy overcomes these issues by employing an endorsement experiment. As described in more detail below, we measure differences in support for various policies unrelated to militancy between two experimental groups--those told only about the policy and those told a militant organization supports it. The difference between the two conditions reveals how much policy support decreases as a consequence of being associated with a militant group, and therefore is an indirect measure of support for militancy. However, unlike a direct measure, non-response and social desirability is less of a concern since respondents are reacting to the policy and not to the group itself. By using a novel design that asks respondents about multiple policy issues and randomizes the pairing of issue with group, we can identify effects for multiple groups that are unlikely to be biased by the details of any specific policy. Our survey breaks new ground in other important respects. Ours is the first survey of Pakistan that is representative of both urban and rural Pakistanis and is designed to permit reliable inferences about variation in political attitudes across the four provinces of Pakistan. This allows us to evaluate how important the local politics of organizations are in predicting support. As it turns out, they are essential, and previous surveys that have only examined urban areas or non-representatively sampled various regions have been missing an important part of the picture. Using this survey instrument we can identify a number of key facts about support for four groups plaguing Pakistan and the international community: militants fighting in Kashmir, the Afghan Taliban, al- 1 Work that suffers from these issues includes Shapiro and Fair (2010); Fair, Ramsay, and Kull (2008); (February 2009); the Pew Global Attitudes Surveys (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008); and (July 2009). 2
Qa'ida, and the sectarian militias in Pakistan. First, Pakistanis exhibit negative affect toward all four militant organizations. However, there is striking variation in attitudes towards militant groups across Pakistan, with those from areas where groups have been most active disliking them the most. Second, personal religiosity does not predict attitudes towards militants groups but views about what constitutes jihad do. Third, wealthy Pakistanis and those who support core democratic rights are more supportive of militant organizations than others. While these results may seem counterintuitive given existing theories which give pride-of-place to big trends such as relative deprivation (Gurr 1970) or ethnic and religious cleavages (Huntington 1996), they make a great deal of sense once one takes into account the particular politics of Pakistani militant organizations and their operating patterns. The key point for understanding militancy in Pakistan is that the specific political circumstances of violent organizations matter a great deal and patterns of support cannot be understood without taking them into account. More generally, arguments tying support for violent political organizations to individuals' economic prospects or attitudes towards democracy--and the subsequent suggestions for policy--may require substantial revision. The remainder of this paper proceeds as follows. Section 1 provides background on Pakistani militant organizations to motivate the empirical analysis. Section 2 outlines two sets of hypotheses about the politics of militancy in Pakistan: (1) those based on the conventional wisdom and existing political science literature; and (2) those based on a more nuanced view of the political dynamics in the region. Section 3 describes our survey and experimental design in greater detail. Section 4 presents our core results. The fifth and final section discusses the implications of our findings for addressing the problem of militancy in Pakistan. 1. Pakistan's Militant Landscape: Groups and Goals2 In this section, we provide a background of the landscape of political violence in Pakistan as well as overviews of the four major militant organizations in the country. We do so in order to acquaint the reader 2 For more detailed discussions of Pakistani militant organizations see [AUTHORS' PREVIOUS WORK]. 3
with the local political climate before delving into the analytical results. Pakistan has used militant groups to prosecute its foreign policies in Afghanistan, Kashmir and the rest of India for decades. This pattern began in the early weeks of Pakistan's independence when a "tribal lashkar" (militia drawn from the tribal areas) moved to take Kashmir with support from the Pakistan army (Swami 2007; Nawaz 2008). Pakistan began using Afghan militant groups to shape events in Afghanistan in 1974 and, with the support of the United States and others, developed an extensive infrastructure to produce Sunni Islamist militants ("mujahideen") to wage a guerilla war ("jihad") after the Soviet invasion in 1979 (Rubin 2002; Hussain 2005). From 1990, Pakistan intensified its covert operations relying upon Islamist militants in Kashmir and elsewhere (Evans 2000; Rashid 2008; Ganguly 2008). From 1994 on, Pakistan's involvement with militants fighting in Afghanistan became even deeper as the Taliban extended their control over Afghanistan. Some Taliban received direct support from the Pakistani government and business interests, while others had lived for years in refugee camps in Pakistan and thus shared strong ties with Pakistan (Rashid 2000). After 2001 Pakistan officially distanced itself from a wide range of militant organizations but took few concrete actions to sever ties with them or to delegitimize them in the minds of average Pakistanis (Jamal 2009) Consistent with this history, the militant landscape in Pakistan is extremely complex and populated by groups that vary in their sectarian commitments, targeting choices, theatre of operations, ethnicity of operatives, and political objectives. To understand patterns of popular support for these groups, a fairly nuanced picture of Pakistani militant organizations is in order. Table 1 provides an overview, describing the different groups we asked about, the specific organizations falling into those groups, their espoused goals, and where they operate. The remainder of the section provides more detailed background on the groups. [INSERT TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE.] Militants Fighting in Kashmir There are several organizations Pakistanis group under the title of "Kashmiri tanzeems" (Kashmiri groups). These organizations can be usefully categorized according to the Sunni interpretive tradition they follow. 4
Deobandi Kashmir-oriented militant organizations include Jaish-e-Mohammad (JM) and Harkat-ulAnsar/Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUA/HUM) and their splinter groups. While they have traditionally focused upon Kashmir and their recruitment materials suggest a Kashmir-oriented mission, they now operate in India and in Afghanistan and have had close ties to al-Qa'ida and the Afghan Taliban. In recent years groups like JM have become intimately involved with the Pakistan Taliban, including the provision of suicide attackers for assaults on Pakistani targets. JM has also attacked international targets within Pakistan. These Deobandi "Kashmiri groups" have operational and personnel linkages with Deobandi anti-Shia groups as well as the Deobandi Islamist political party Jamiat-e-Ulema Islami (JUI). Jamaat-e-Islami oriented groups operating in Kashmir under the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) include Hizbol Mujahideen, al Badr, and related factions. These groups primarily recruit Kashmiris, operate mostly in Kashmir, and arose in Kashmir rather than being raised by Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Interservices Intelligence Directorate (ISI) (Tellis 2008). These groups remain focused on securing autonomy or independence for Kashmir, have not been involved with the Pakistan Taliban, and have not targeted the Pakistani state or international targets within Pakistan. There is one important Ahl-e-Hadith oriented group operating in Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which was formed in 1986 to fight in the Kunar province of Afghanistan (Sikand 2007; Zahab 2007). After 1990, LeT shifted operational focus to Indian-administered Kashmir. For much of the 1990s (with few exceptions), LeT operations were restricted to Indian-administered Kashmir. LeT conducted its first attack outside of Kashmir in 2000. In recent years LeT has attacked international targets in India as well as U.S. and allied forces fighting in Afghanistan even though it remains firmly under ISI control (Fair 2009). LeT has not targeted the Pakistani state nor has it pursued western targets within Pakistan. Afghan Taliban After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, various factions fought over the remnants of the country. Pakistan backed Hizb-e-Islami, led by a Pashtun named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in hopes that he could establish a stable, pro-Pakistan government that would accept the contested international border (the Durand 5
Line), deny India access to Afghanistan, and provide Pakistan advantageous access to Central Asia and its resources.3 By 1994 Pakistani leaders concluded Hekmatyar could not deliver on these goals and shifted its patronage to the newly-emergent Taliban. From 1994 to 2001, Pakistan provided military, diplomatic, and financial assistance to the Pashtun Taliban movement. The Taliban government provided some security but lacked international legitimacy and became an international pariah due to its alignment with al-Qa'ida, brutal mistreatment of women, and other outrages. Some of Pakistan's security elites increasingly saw the Taliban as a liability, especially after al Qa'ida organized the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania from Afghanistan. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks made it impossible for Islamabad to continue supporting the Taliban (Musharraf 2006). When the United States-led coalition routed the Taliban in late-2001 many fled to Pakistan's tribal areas to regroup. In 2005, the Afghan Taliban launched a renewed insurgent campaign run by leadership shuras in Quetta, Peshawar, and Karachi (Levin 2009, Katz 2009). The Afghan Taliban remain focused on ousting foreign forces, aid workers and other foreign civilians from Afghanistan, overthrowing the Karzai regime, and restoring their role in governing Afghanistan (Giustozzi 2007). Pakistan Taliban Since 2006 a cluster of militant groups whose activists describe themselves as "Pakistani Taliban" have developed in Pakistan. While we were unable to measure support for these groups due to the high level of political sensitivity surrounding them when our survey was fielded, understanding the differences between them and the Afghan Taliban is important for interpreting our results. The Pakistan Taliban became prominent in early 2006 as local militias established micro-emirates in large swathes of Pakistan's Pashtun areas. Popular characterization of all Pakistan Taliban as being part of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are incorrect, the term most accurately refers to a loose group of local 3 During the Soviet jihad, Pakistan backed seven Pakistan-based militant groups, six of which were Pashtun dominated. Burhanuddin Rabbani's Tajik-dominated Jamiat-i-Islami was the only non-Pashtun group supported by Pakistan (Rubin 2002). 6
militias espousing a particular view of shari'a law. The so-called Talibanization of the tribal areas began in North and South Waziristan, but quickly spread to parts of the other tribal agencies. Beginning in 2007 local Taliban also emerged in parts of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). Throughout the summer of 2007, militants associated with the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) battled elements of the Pakistani military and seized the Swat Valley in late October of that year. Violence in the valley continued with control passing between the government and the TNSM until a peace deal was reached in early-2009. The deal ceded sovereignty over Swat to the TNSM in the guise of government sanctioned imposition of sharia (Nizam-eAdil) in Swat and Malakand.4 The peace deal broke down shortly after its implementation and in early-May 2009 the Pakistani Army moved to retake Swat. This proved to be tremendously popular and presaged a series of operations against various Pakistan Taliban in the FATA which continues to the present. The goals of the militants grouped by Pakistanis as the "Pakistan Taliban" are focused on undermining the Pakistani state in select areas and establishing their own parallel governance structures organized around commanders' particular understanding of shari'a. At the time our survey was in the field these groups had conducted few operations outside of attacking police forces in the FATA and parts of the NWFP. This has unfortunately changed in subsequent months as TTP-affiliated militants have conducted attacks across Pakistan in response to government offensives against them in the FATA. Al Qa'ida The most important militant group operating in Pakistan to Western policy makers and politicians is alQa'ida, the group responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown summed up these concerns when he reported that "three quarters of the most serious plots investigated by the British authorities have links to al Qa'ida in Pakistan."5 Important al Qa'ida leaders remain in the FATA and many al Qa'ida operatives--Abu Zubaidah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, and others--have been arrested in Pakistani cities (Negroponte 2007; Kronstadt 2008). 4 There is very little scholarly literature on this phenomenon, with most coverage taking place in the popular press or security publications (Bakhtiar 2007; Ali Khan 2007, Tohid 2004; Gopal 2009). 5 Coates and Page (2008). 7
Al-Qa'ida operatives in Pakistan have targeted the Pakistani state and executed terrorist plots targeting the west and allies. The July 7, 2005, bombings in London have been linked to al-Qa'ida in Pakistan, for example, as have five foiled plots since 2004 (Sageman 2009). Importantly, few Pakistanis link al-Qa'ida to its most important actions. In a 2009 poll, for example, only 4 percent of Pakistanis said al-Qaida was responsible for the September 11 attacks while 29 percent blamed the United States, and 4 percent blamed Israel (Kull 2009). Many Pakistanis are also dubious about the existence of al-Qa'ida per se. All focus group participants in our pre-testing, however, understood what we were referring to when we explained that alQa'ida was "Osama Bin Laden's militia." Sectarian Tanzeems Pakistan is also home to a number of militant groups seeking to advance a sectarian agenda. These firqavarana tanzeems include the anti-Shi'a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).6 Both of these antiShi'a groups have ties to the legal Deobandi organization Jamiat-e-Ulema Islami (JUI) and are funded by wealthy Arab individuals and organizations. The Sunni sectarian groups grew to prominence in the 1980s and are now a well-established part of Pakistan's political landscape (Nasr 2000). In the past, Shi'a sectarian groups targeted Sunni Muslims, although these groups have largely disappeared. The anti-Shia groups all claim to be fighting for a Sunni Deobandi Pakistan by purging the country of Shia, whom they view as apostates.7 Their actions typically take the form of attacks on Shi'ite mosques and community gatherings and they have periodically attacked Christian targets as well. In reality, a great deal of the anti-Shia violence is motivated by class issues and urbanization. The large land-holding families in Pakistan have historically been Shia and have not treated their tenant farmers well. Thus a class agenda has been executed through a narrative of apostasy (Nasr 2000; Zaman 1988). This relationship is important for understanding the fact that while support for the other groups is highest among 6 Many of these groups have been proscribed numerous times only to re-emerge. Many now operate under new names. We use the names which are likely to be most familiar to readers. 7 While an exact accounting of Shia in Pakistan is impossible because the Pakistani census is not fielded in areas where Shia are populous (e.g. the Northern Areas), they are believed to comprise 20 percent of the population (CIA 2009). 8
those with high income, support for the sectarian tanzeem is not affected by income after controlling for other factors. 2. Explaining the Politics Militancy in Pakistan This section outlines two sets of hypotheses about the politics of militancy in Pakistan. We begin by quickly describing those based on the conventional wisdom and parts of the existing political science literature (H1H5). We then offer an alternative set of hypotheses based on a more nuanced view of the political dynamics in the region (H1A-H5A). Our goal in this section is to outline two competing sets of expectations that we can test in section four. The Existing Literature and Conventional Wisdom Scholars have identified several empirical regularities that imply various predictions about the politics of militancy. A syncretic reading of these with the policy literature on militancy points to a number of individual characteristics that should predict support for Pakistani militant groups. These can be summarized neatly in hypotheses about the effects of different independent variables. The role of religion in influencing political views is a fraught topic. Some argue religion is an important form of civic engagement, which is associated with constructive political attitudes (Putnam 2000). Others suggest that under some conditions religious sentiment can be used to effectively rally support for violent actions (Jefferis 2010). Thus the broad implication that more religiously-engaged Pakistanis would be less supportive of violent politics is complicated by the fact that many of most problematic political organizations in Pakistan rely on religious appeals. These conflicting possibilities lead to the following hypothesis: H1: Individual religiositymeasured by proxies for how seriously they take their faithwill have an ambiguous impact on support for specific militant organizations. 9
Turning to education we find less ambiguous implications from the literature. The key argument is that better educated individuals are more tolerant of social and political differences (Stouffer 1955; McCloskey and Brill-Scheuer 1983). The implication is clear; Pakistanis who have achieved higher levels of education should be less supportive of militant organizations that are, to say the least, intolerant of opposing viewpoints. This consensus is reflected in the policy literature and in the following hypothesis:8 H2: Educational attainment will be negatively correlated with support for violent political organizations. Arguments about the role of income and material well-being in generating political attitudes are among the most well-known and commonly cited from the field of political behavior. The hypothesis that poverty predicts support for violent political organizations is widespread in the policy literature but finds little support in rigorous empirical tests (Abadie 2006; Kreuger and Maleckova 2003).9 With respect to violence itself scholars have argued that levels of political violence are increasing in: short-term poverty (Miguel, Satayanth, and Serengeti 2004); dashed expectations for material gain (Gurr 1970); and income inequality (Sigelman and Simpson 1977; Muller 1985). An overly-simplified version of these findings is reflected in the following hypothesis which animates policy discourse in and about Pakistan (Aziz 2009): H3: Income will be negatively correlated with support for violent political organizations. One of the driving bodies of theory in American politics and in American foreign policy in the last 50 years has been the idea that greater support for core liberal democratic values leads to a rejection of destructive political activities (e.g. Almond and Verba 1963; Traub 2008; Kirwin and Cho 2009). The implication of this theory in Pakistan can be articulated in the following hypothesis: 8 Fair (2008) provides a summary of the policy literature and outlines the complications of applying this prediction in Pakistan given the nature of the secular curriculum. 9 For summaries of the policy literature see Authors (forthcoming) and Piazza and von Hippel (2009). 10
H4: Support for democratic values will be negatively correlated with support for violent political organizations. Finally, prominent arguments by academics and others have linked anti-Americanism explicitly to support for violent politics (Paz 2003; Tessler and Robbins 2007), or the production of political violence (Kreuger and Maleckova 2009). The direction of causality in these studies is not well-established and theoretical arguments suggest that regimes facing internal threats have strong incentives to foment hatred of others (Glaeser 2005), thereby potentially creating a spurious correlation between support for violent groups and anti-Americanism. While our research design does not allow us to distinguish the direction of causality, there is a clear hypothesis in the existing literature: H5: Negative views of the U.S. will be positively correlated with support for violent political organization. Each of these hypotheses should seem unremarkable at first glance. They are, after all, the distillation of a variety of well-established research traditions. Yet each presumes a certain homogeneity in the ways in which individuals evaluate different groups. That is an odd starting point for explaining attitudes towards political groups that, after all, spend a great deal of time and energy articulating specific goals. So what would a more nuanced set of hypotheses based on the political circumstances look like? The Politics of Militancy in the Pakistani Context Each of the four groups whose support we studied in our survey has a particular history and fit into a specific political context. While the hypotheses above provide a nice starting point for thinking about variation in support for these groups, taking that context into account leads us to a much more nuanced set of hypotheses. 11
With respect to H1, it helps to distinguish between the uses to which these organizations put religious justifications. All four groups claim a religious justification for their actions. We should therefore expect support for them to be increasing in jihadism, measured in our survey as acceptance of the principle of militarized jihadi by nonstate actors. Where a nuanced view diverges from H1 is in expectations on religious seriousness. Each of the four groups we study uses religion differently. The Kashmiri tanzeems articulate Islamist goals but they are, by and large, relatively mainstream ones: defend Muslims in Kashmir from oppression by Hindu India. The Afghan Taliban represent a more complicated case. Based upon the authors' experiences in Pakistan they are, by and large, perceived as crude rustics with little religious understanding. Many of their leaders' actions could easily by seen as offensive to religious Muslims, especially the 1996 incident when Mullah Omar donned a cloak said to belong to the Prophet Muhammad to rally soldiers fighting against other Muslims. Similarly the Taliban's use of Islam to justify recondite policies such as stoning women and denying them education are also likely offensive to a large portion of religiously serious Pakistanis. Al-Qa'ida adheres to the doctrine of takfir, claiming the right to accuse other Muslims of apostasy. Few religiously well-educated Pakistanis would agree with this doctrine, and since the doctrine has the corollary that all who do not agree with it are apostates (and hence subject to violent retribution) it is easy to see why the religiously serious would dislike al-Qa'ida. The sectarian tanzeem undertake actions that are problematic under some interpretive traditions but enjoy substantial support in others, leading to an ambiguous prediction about the relationship between religious seriousness and support. These observations lead to the following alternative to H1: H1A: Support for all four groups will be increasing in jihadism. Support for the Afghan Taliban and al-Qa'ida will be decreasing in religious seriousness. Note also that H1A suggests a more nuanced conception of the relationship between Islam and political violence. It is not simply that greater adherence to Islam per se leads to militancy, but rather a specific interpretation of religious doctrine. 12
Turning to H2 the key piece of context is that since the late-1980s militants fighting in Kashmir have been lauded in the curriculum taught in Pakistani government schools. Longer exposure to formal schooling will thus correlate very strongly with longer exposure to messages about how the Kashmiri tanzeem are defending beleaguered, oppressed Muslims. This observation leads naturally to an alternative to H2: H2A: Any negative effect of education on support will be substantially weaker for the Kashmiri tanzeems than for other groups. To understand where H3 might fail it is useful to put it in the context of prominent recent work in American politics on the relationship between income and political attitudes. Here scholars have shown that income's influence on partisan preferences in American politics is highly variable, with income mattering much more in poorer states (Gelman et. al. 2008, Bartels 2006). Gelman et. al. argue that the strong relationship between income and support for Republican presidential candidates in the South is driven by the fact that wealthy Southerners are much more socially conservative on average than the wealthy elsewhere in America, so there is no conflict between their economic interests and cultural attitudes as there are in other parts of the country. Similarly, the effect of income in Pakistan is highly contextual. For many years militant groups fighting in various places have been seen by Pakistani political elites as useful tools of statecraft. Since the mid-1990s, for example, Pakistan's security elites and media have upheld the importance of the Taliban as a "stabilizing force" in Afghanistan who fought back the ruthless and corrupt warlords that ravaged the country in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal. Their benign name, which translates to "Students," facilitated the popular imagery of the Taliban as a religiously-motivated movement interested in securing Social Justice for war-ravaged Afghans. As income correlates strongly with political status in Pakistan one might naturally expect those with higher incomes to view militant groups in a more positive light. There is one important exception though: the sectarian tanzeem. Many of these groups have long been advancing a class-based agenda under the guise of religious purity. This is made possible by the fact that 13
in many rural areas landowners are disproportionately Shia, and so executing a sectarian agenda has the neat side effect of addressing class disputes. The peculiar nature of the sectarian tanzeem relative to their more geopolitically-useful brethren leads to an alternative to H3: H3A: Support for militant groups will be greatest among high-income respondents for all groups except for the sectarian tanzeem. Understanding the relationship between democratic values and support for militancy is complex in Pakistan because to many Pakistanis some of the groups we studied are defending freedom and selfrepresentation against corrupt governments. This is obvious for the Kashmiri tanzeem but it turns out to be true for the Afghan Taliban as well. As Table 6 (described in detail below) shows the vast majority of our respondents believe the Afghan Taliban are more legitimate than the Karzai government, did more for the Afghan people, and are fighting an occupying power. Given those beliefs, what good supporter of democracy would not rally to the Afgan Taliban? We thus have a clear alternative to H4: H4A: Support for the Kashmiri tanzeems and Afghan Taliban will be increasing in support for democracy. Turning finally to the relationship between views towards the U.S. and support for militants we should note that of the four groups we asked about only one, al-Qa'ida, articulates a clearly anti-American platform, or at least justifies its actions with the argument that the United States is a harmful actor on the world stage. But this is the group that was least well-known by our respondents. For each of the four groups we asked respondents whether "their actions are helping their cause?" The mean "don't know" rate across the Kashmir tanzeems, Afghan Taliban, and sectarian tanzeems was 7 percent. For al-Qa'ida fully 17% of our sample said they did not know whether the organization's actions were helping its cause. This implies a low level of familiarity with the group's rhetoric. Combined with the fact that many of our enumerators (a very 14
educated group by Pakistani standards) were unclear before training on what al-Qa'ida is, a reasonable alternative to H5 is: H5A: Support for militant groups will be unaffected by attitudes towards the U.S. As a whole these alternative hypotheses take some of the nuance of Pakistani politics into account while incorporating the received wisdom from studies of other political settings. We know turn to a detailed description of our efforts to test them. 3. The Survey Many organizations have conducted surveys on Pakistani attitudes towards extremism since 2001, including Gallup, Zogby, The Pew Foundation, World Public (WPO), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and Terror Free Tomorrow among others. None of these surveys, however, provide leverage on the empirical questions we address. Three specific weaknesses stand out. First, respondent level-data are not available for most of the extant surveys. Gallup and Zogby are proprietary without any pre-purchase means to assess the quality of the data and limit access to top-line results. IRI and Terror Free Tomorrow do not release respondent-level data. Pew and WPO do provide access to respondent-level data but their samples are limited in important ways. Second, the existing surveys do not measure attitudes towards specific militant organizations with great precision. Some surveys ask directly about affect towards groups and get high don't know/no opinion rates in the range of 40% (Terror Free Tomorrow 2008; Pew 2009). Other surveys indirectly measure affect. For instance, they ask whether groups "operating in Pakistan are a problem" (IRI 2009) or pose "a threat to the vital interests of Pakistan" (WPO 2009). Although item non-response on such questions is lower, these indirect measures are subject to strong social desirability bias.10 As is well known, respondents in many survey settings anticipate the views of the enumerator and thus answer questions in particular ways (Krosnick 1999; 10 Item non-response rates for such indirect measures of support on IRI's 2009 survey varied between 1 and 31 percent. The overall survey response rate was 74%. 15
Marlowe and Crowne 1964, p. 109). These tendencies may be exacerbated on sensitive issues where fear and the desire to avoid embarrassment come into play. In the Pakistani setting respondents can determine significant information about class, ethnicity and sectarian orientation based on the name and accent of the enumerators. This makes social desirability concerns even stronger for surveys studying the politics of militancy in Pakistan, as respondents may be wary to signal pro-militant views to high-status enumerators. Equally important, responses to such indirect questions are also deeply ambiguous: one can be very supportive of an organization and still think its actions pose a threat to Pakistan's interests. Third, existing surveys are not designed to identify sub-national variation. Most either exclusively or disproportionately include urban respondents and all include too few respondents to make reliable inferences about sub-national variation in support, let alone identifying sub-national variation in the correlates of support. Our survey was designed to overcome these problems via two main strategies. First, we employ a sampling design that allows us to make reliable inferences for all four provinces of Pakistan. Second, we measure group support in a way that avoids high non-response rates and minimizes social desirability bias. 11 Working with our Pakistani partners, Socio-economic development Consultants (SEDCO), we drew a random sample of 6,000 adult Pakistani men and women from the four "normal" provinces of the country: Punjab, Sindh, the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan. The respondents were selected randomly within 500 primary sampling units (PSU), 332 in rural areas and 168 in urban ones (following the rural/urban breakdown in the Pakistan census) and we substantially oversampled in the smaller provinces, Balochistan and the NWFP. The face-to-face questionnaire was fielded by six mixed-gender teams between April 21, 2009 and May 25, 2009. We employed a three stage stratified sampling designed to be representative at the provincial level for both rural and urban areas.12 In the first stage the country was stratified into four provinces. We substantially 11 For full details see [Authors 2009]. 12 Our sample did not include the insurgency-raven Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) because the security environment was questionable, and we omitted the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir because they are not consistently surveyed by the Pakistan Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) in its household survey and so the data to generate a consistent sample frame do not exist. 16
oversampled in Balochistan and the NWFP to ensure we could generate valid provincial-level estimates in these sparsely populated provinces. In the second stage, the districts (second level of sub-national governance) within each province formed the strata and were selected at random following the Population Proportional Sampling (PPS) method using the most recent FBS population estimates. In the third stage, we randomly selected Union Councils (the third level of sub-national governance in urban areas) within each district. For urban PSU we then randomly selected one urban area within each selected Union Council as the Primary Sampling Unit (PSUs). For rural PSU, we randomly selected one village within each selected Union Council as the Primary Sampling Units (PSUs). We conducted interviews in 12 households per PSU. To identify households each PSU was divided into four hypothetical quarters and a starting point was selected in each quarter randomly. Households were then selected via the Right Hand Rule (RHR) and our enumerators used the Kish grid method to select respondents aged 18 and above. For quality control purposes, field supervisors back-checked either by phone or in-person 20 percent of each interviewer's questionnaires. SEDCO also provided us with a set of post-stratification survey weights, based on population figures from the 1998 census, the most recent one available. Following procedures outlined by Lee and Forthofer (2006), all analyses reported below were weighted and clustered to account for survey design effects. The overall response rate was over 90 percent, which rivals the extremely high response rates achieved by the United States Census Bureau. Table 2 reports the sample demographics. Full question wordings are provided in online Appendix A. All variables described below were coded to lie between 0 and 1, so that we can easily interpret a regression coefficient as representing a % change in the dependent variable associated with moving from the lowest possible value to the highest possible value of the independent variable. [INSERT TABLE 2 ABOUT HERE.] Measuring Support for Islamist Militant Organizations: The Endorsement Experiment 17
We used an endorsement experiment as an indirect means of measuring our dependent variable: support for specific Islamist militant organizations. The experiment involves assessing support for various real policies which are relatively well known but about which Pakistanis do not have strong feelings (as we learned during pretesting). The experiment works as follows: - Respondents are randomly assigned to treatment or control groups (one-half of the sample is assigned to each group). - Respondents in the control group were asked their level of support for four policies. Support for policies is measured on a five-point scale, recoded to lie between 0 and 1 for the analysis. - Respondents in the treatment group are asked identical questions but then are told that one of four groups supports the policy in question. Which group is associated with each of the four policies is randomized within the treatment group. - The difference in means between treatment and control groups in the sample provides a measure of affect towards the group, since the only difference between the treatment and control conditions is the group endorsement. Figure 1 provides a sample question, showing the treatment and control questions, and illustrates the randomization procedure in visual form. Online appendix A provides all questions measuring support. [INSERT FIGURE 1 ABOUT HERE.] The advantage of this approach is that the militant organization is not the primary object of evaluation; the policy is. We expected respondents to be more willing to share their opinions on uncontroversial policies rather than controversial groups. However, by embedding endorsements within the questions, we are able to indirectly ascertain support for militant organizations. We used this method to measure support for four groups: the Kashmiri tanzeems, the Afghan Taliban, al-Qa'ida, and the sectarian tanzeems. This required asking about four policy issues: polio vaccinations, reforming the frontier crimes regulation (the legal code governing the FATA), redefining the 18
Durand line (the border separating Pakistan from Afghanistan), and requiring madrassas to teach math and science. In our pre-testing most respondents knew about all four issues but did not have strong opinions on them, meaning a group's endorsement might affect their evaluation of the policy. This procedure would not work in the U.S., for example, if one asked about a policy such as banning abortion for which prior attitudes are strong. By randomizing which group is associated with which policy among the treatment group, we control for order effects and randomize the pairing of issue with group. This allows us to identify effects for multiple groups that are unlikely to be biased by the details of any specific policy. Since our enumerators were not able to bring computers into the field--doing so was both culturally inappropriate and physically risky--we developed a procedure that allowed our field team to conduct the randomization with printed survey forms. There were 25 experimental conditions: 1 control questionnaire form, and 4! = 24 possible treatment forms. We assigned the control form number 1 and the remaining forms numbers 2 to 25. Using a random number generator we randomized the order of these forms, repeating the control form 24 times. SEDCO's team then laid out the 48 boxes with these forms in randomized order and proceeded to staple them one-at-a-time onto the serialized base forms. This procedure effectively randomized across treatment and control as well as within treatment. We then randomly ordered the 500 PSU and assigned the serialized forms to PSU in order, so form 1 went to PSU 1, form 2 went to PSU 2, etc. This added another layer of randomization. We audited every survey form in 10% of PSUs before they went into the field and found that SEDCO carried out the randomization perfectly, as the randomization checks in online Appendix B attest. Measuring the Independent Variables As discussed previously, existing theories and policy debates point our attention to five key independent variables that could drive support for militant Islamist organizations: (1) religiosity, (2) education, (3) income, (4) support for democratic values, and (5) attitudes towards the United States. Religiosity. Of the five factors described above, religiosity is in many ways the most complex as it has at least two relevant components. The first is sympathy with extremist doctrines couched in the language of 19
Islamic theology, what we call jihadism. The second is the depth of personal religious sentiment, what we call religious seriousness. We measure jihadism by creating an additive index from questions that ask respondents their position on two debates within Islam: (1) whether "jihad" is a militarize struggle to protect the umma or a personal struggle for righteousness; and (2) whether jihad is the sole province of governments or if individuals can undertake it. Respondents who say jihad is strictly militarized and individuals can undertake it received a 1, respondents who said jihad involves personal struggle for righteousness and only governments can undertake it received a 0, and others received .5 (i.e. we averaged responses to the two items).13 We measure religious seriousness with a similar procedure. There are a host of Islamic interpretive traditions represented in Pakistan, akin to the different denominations of Christianity in the United States. Associating with a specific tradition signals a sign of religious seriousness in the Islamic community. We asked respondents to name the tradition they would want their children educated in and asked how often they attended dars-e-koran, or Koran study sessions. Respondents who could name a tradition and attended study sessions daily received a 1, respondents who could not name a tradition and attended less-than-daily received a 0, and all others received .5. Education and Income. Measuring education and income is much simpler. We created a higheducation dummy variable that takes 1 for respondents who have completed some education after high-school and 0 otherwise.14 We divide income into three levels and used dummy variables for each level to capture possible non-linearities in the relationship between attitudes and income. Respondents from households making less than 3,000 rupees per month (the bottom 10% of our sample) received a 1 on the variable lowincome. Respondents making more than 10,000 rupees per month (the top 40% of our sample) received a 1 on the variable highincome.15 Support for Democratic Values. To measure support for democratic values we created an index based on the extent to which six core principles were considered important features of society to respondents: property 13 In the absence of strong theoretical priors, there is uncertainty as to how exactly to translate survey responses to numerical scales. To remain conservative, we simply average across items in constructing various measures. The results are robust to alternative operationalizations. 14 This education cut point represents what is generally considered higher education in Pakistan (similar to college attendees in the United States). 15 We chose these income cut points because they generally conform to conceptions of lower-, middle-, and upper-class in Pakistan. 20
rights, free speech, independent courts, being governed by elected representatives, having civilian control over the military, and freedom of assembly. For each aspect of liberal democratic governance we asked respondents to rate on a five-point scale how important it was to live in a country where that right was respected. All respondents who stated it was "extremely important" for a given right were assigned a 1 for that right and then we simply created an additive index of their scores across the rights (rescaled to lie between 0 and 1) to create our measure democraticvalues. Anti-American Senitment. To measure anti-American sentiment we created an index that combines two attitudinal questions on (1) the impact the U.S. has had on world and (2) the impact the U.S. has had on Pakistani politics. Each question was measured using a five-point scale ranging from extremely positive to extremely negative. We then created the variable negativeus by adding these responses and scaled them to range from 0 to 1. Table 3 provides the descriptive statistics on these individual-level characteristics. [INSERT TABLE 3 ABOUT HERE.] Methods of Analysis Our measure of support for the militant organization is the treatment effect of the endorsement, or the difference in policy support between the control group and the treatment group. Recall that respondents in the control group reported their support level for all four policies without any endorsements. Respondents in the treatment group also reported their support for the four policies, but each policy was endorsed by one of the four militant organizations. The assignment of group to policy was randomized within the treatment group. Hence, for a given militant organization j, we compare the overall policy support (Pi) in the control group (i.e., the average support across all four policies) to overall policy support in the treatment group for those responses associated with group j (which will comprise all four policies as well but only approximately 21
one-fourth of the treatment group).16 We estimate the following regression via ordinary least squares (OLS) separately for each group, j: Pi = Ti +p + i (1) where Ti is a dummy variable indicating that respondent i is in the treatment condition, p are province fixed effects, and i represents random error. The coefficient estimate on represents overall support for group j. We re-estimate version of equation (1) for each of the four provinces, removing p. Some policies will exhibit greater treatment effects than others because prior attitudes are less wellformed. We use the variance of the responses in the control group to proxy looseness of pre-treatment attitudes. We weight each policy response by this variance. Hence, we place greater weight on policies where we expect there to be a greater likelihood that attitudes will be shifted in response to the endorsements. 17 To assess which individual-level characteristics drive support for militancy, we estimate the following regression specification via OLS: Pi = Ti + xi + Ti xi + p + Tip + i (2) where xi represents a vector of the five individual-level characteristics mentioned above.18 The parameters of interest are represented by the vector , or how the treatment effects vary by the individual-level characteristics. 4. Results Understanding the politics of militancy in Pakistan can inform both current policy debates and also speak to some basic questions in political science. By examining how the relationship between key independent 16 We only include respondents who provided responses to all four policy questions. 10.7% of respondents did not provide complete data. 17 The results are substantively similar without this weighting and so we report weighted results throughout as we believe they more accurately capture the impact of cues on attitudes. The weight vector w for the four policies (vaccination plan, FCR reforms, Durand line, curriculum reform) was: (.983, 1.15, 1.28, 1.18), meaning that the weight for the control group was the average of these four individual weights (1.15). The post-stratification weight was multiplied by w to produce the overall sampling weight. 18 In estimating equation (2), we lose an additional 5.0% of the sample who did not provide complete data on the individual-level characteristics. 22
variables and support differs across militant organizations we gain insight into why predictions about the politics of militancy derived from patterns observed in traditional politics fail in important respects here. In this setting we will see that where the results deviate from common expectations, they do so in ways that make complete sense once one takes the particular local politics of Pakistan into account. Support for Militancy in Pakistan At the most basic level this survey arguably provides the most valid measurement of how Pakistanis feel towards militant groups obtained thus far. Figure 2 reports our core results, showing the difference in support for policies between control and treatment groups for the entire country and then for each of the four provinces. [INSERT FIGURE 2 ABOUT HERE.] The striking result here is that Pakistanis are generally negative towards Islamist militant organizations. This negative affect is revealed by our measurement strategy and is a substantial improvement on the deeply ambiguous findings of previous surveys. A July 2009 survey by World Public, for example, found that 80% of respondents in the NWFP felt that al-Qa'ida's activities posed a "critical threat" to the "vital interests of Pakistan", yet 47% agreed that they "supported al-Qa'ida attacks on Americans and share its attitude towards the U.S." What one should make of such findings is unclear, there seems to be a deep inconsistency in these responses. In contrast, our finding that no group's endorsement had a positive effect on evaluation of policies is a striking demonstration that Pakistanis, on average, do not like the militant organizations operating in their country. Table 4 presents the estimates from equation (1) more formally. [INSERT TABLE 4 ABOUT HERE.] Table 4 further highlights the fact that there is substantial sub-national variation in support across the 23
four provinces of Pakistan. The starkest finding in this respect is that support for all four groups is strongly negative in the NWFP. This make sense in so far as all four groups have engaged in substantial violence in that area and so residents there have borne the consequences of their actions more than other Pakistanis. This finding is important because it tells us we cannot draw simple inferences about attitudes towards militants by observing patterns of attacks. Of the four groups we asked about the Afghan Taliban are the most active in the NWFP, yet respondents were 4% less likely to support a policy if told the Afghan Taliban supported it.19 In other words, where the Afghan Taliban operate most is where they are most disliked. Policy makers and analysts should take this as a cautionary note; observing militant activity in an area is not a sign that average people in an area support the militants. Three other interesting patterns in these data merit mentioning. First, residents of Punjab do not exhibit negative affect towards any of the groups we study. This may derive from the long history of the state raising and deploying "jihadi groups," most of which are based in the Punjab. Second, the province of Pakistan with the highest Shia population according to our sample, Balochistan, is the area where negative affect towards the anti-Shia sectarian tanzeems is greatest. Third, respondents in Sindh have negative affect toward the Kashmiri tanzeem or Afghan taliban. This is sensible in so far as a large proportion of the population of Sindh resides in Karachi which is both the most globalized city in the country and the city with the strongest ties to India, which has been targeted most heavily by the these two groups. Overall the sub-national variation in support for the groups we study is sensible given the local political dynamics. Moreover, the variation of support by region underscores not only the value of obtaining a sample that is representative for each province, but also the importance of regional political factors in driving support or opposition to militancy. Explaining Variance in Support Understanding variation in support for specific groups is complicated by the fact that many of the variables we expect to influence support move together. More educated people, who H2 predicted would be less 19 This is a substantively meaningful effect as the standard deviation of support across policies in the control group is approximately 8%. 24
supportive of groups, also tend to have higher incomes. Discerning the independent effect of factors like education thus requires a multivariate approach. This section provides just that. Table 5 reports the results of applying the approach outlined in section 3 to a model that controls for the possible cross-cutting effects of the independent variables: jihadism, religious seriousness, education, income categories, democratic values, views of the US, and provincial effects. These regressions are a severe test of the data. If after controlling for all these factors we still identify meaningful difference-in-difference estimates, we can be quite confident the effects are real.20 [INSERT TABLE 5 ABOUT HERE.] Across all four groups the coefficient on the interaction between group cue and jihadism is positive and statistically significant, indicating support for H1A. The coefficient estimates range between .03 and .06, meaning that support for militant groups is 3-6% higher among jihadists than other Pakistanis. Religious seriousness negatively predicts support for the Afghan Taliban and al-Qa'ida. Those who have a secular affiliation and who are regular attendees of dars on average exhibit 3% less support for these two groups than Pakistanis who are less religiously serious. Our interpretation of this result is that these groups utilize an interpretation of Islam that is an anathema to those who take their religion seriously. An alternative possibility is that religious civic engagement has positive spillovers in terms of building Social Capital (Putnam 2000). Whatever the mechanism, it is clear that religiosity has a complex effect on support for militancy. It is not adherence to Islam per se that drives support, but rather a specific fundamentalist, textual reading of the Koran. Higher levels of education produce less support for the Afghan Taliban and sectarian tanzeem but no have no effect on support for the Kashmir Tanzeem or al-Qa'ida, providing some support for H2. The result on the Kashmir Tanzeem is in line with H2A. We expected that long-term exposure to the Pakistani education system would have an ambiguous effect with respect to the Kashmir Tanzeem as the tolerance 20 These results remain substantively unchanged if we also include field team fixed effects to control for any team-induced mean shifts in measurement of support for policies. 25
inducing effects of education conflict with the ideology being pushed. Low income respondents are no more supportive of any militant group than are middle income individuals, meaning that we soundly reject H3. However, as H3A predicted, high income respondents are substantially more supportive of all militant groups except for the sectarian tanzeem. This pattern makes perfect sense in light of a decades-long history in which Pakistani elites have viewed militant organizations as valuable tools of state policy (Jamal 2009; Swami 2008; Coll 2004). The only Pakistani group that Pakistani elites do not favor are the sectarian tanzeem, some of whom are executing what is fundamentally a redistributive class agenda under the guise of religious purity (Nasr 2000; Zaman 1988). Not coincidentally, our high income respondents did not have positive affect towards the sectarian tanzeem. Respondents placing high importance on democratic values were more supportive of the Kashmir tanzeem and Afghan Taliban, thereby refuting H4. Table 6 provides the context for this finding by summarizing our respondents' views towards the Afghan Taliban and the United States. [INSERT TABLE 6 ABOUT HERE.] There are some fascinating patterns revealed in Table 6. First, Pakistanis simply think the Kashmir Tanzeem are fighting for justice (81%), democracy (73%), and to protect Muslims (85%). Second, Pakistanis clearly think the Afghan Taliban are fighting on the side of right, if not for democracy per se. 60% think they are the more legitimate government for Afghanistan, 58% think they did a better job of helping the Afghan people, 72% think they are fighting to liberate Afghanistan. Third, 83% of Pakistanis think U.S. is occupying Afghanistan, and over 63% think the U.S. has had an extremely negative influence on the world and on Pakistani politics. Given these patterns, H4A's prediction that there would be a positive impact of democracy on support for militancy makes perfect sense. Pakistanis view the Kashmir tanzeem as fighting for the rights of the beleaguered Kashmiri muslims and our respondents clearly believe the Afghan Taliban are fighting an illegitimate occupier-supported government. Neither al-Qa'ida nor the sectarian tanzeem are executing a pro- 26
democratic agenda and so the null result on belief in democracy and support for them is sensible. Finally, respondents with negative views of the U.S. were actually less supportive of militants than others (though not at statistically significant levels), meaning that we reject H5. H5A, however, is supported in that there is no effect of anti-U.S. sentiment on support for any group. We thus find no evidence that after controlling for regional differences in support and a vector of socio-economic variables that antiAmericanism plays any role in driving support for militant groups in Pakistan. Across all five hypotheses then we see clear deviations from the first set theoretically-driven expectations, but those deviations make sense when we take the particular politics of Pakistan into account. 5. Conclusion In order to better understand the politics of militancy in Pakistan and to shed light on larger theories about political attitudes we designed and conducted a 6,000-person nationally representative survey of Pakistani adults, measuring affect towards four specific militant organizations. We applied a novel measurement strategy within a groundbreaking survey to mitigate social desirability bias and non-response given the sensitive nature of militancy in the region. Our endorsement experiment overcomes several issues that have plagued past efforts to use surveys to study the politics of militancy. Our approach yields a number of interesting findings. Most generally, broad-brush theories about the impact of individual-level characteristics on political attitudes perform poorly at predicting support for specific organizations. This makes sense given that these groups put tremendous amounts of energy into articulating their particular goals and so it would be odd if the specific politics of each group were not critical. The broader theoretical implication is that models of political attitudes towards militant organizations may need to move in the nuanced direction that models of attitudes in normal politics are heading. Turning to specific findings, there are four clear implications from this study. The first implication is that the impact of education on political attitudes depends critically on the content of that education. This may seem like a truism but its consequences are often neglected. Many states, including prominently Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority, endorse curricula that encompass irredentist claims and intolerant attitudes. 27
Aid and development projects that give such states greater capacity to educate their citizenry may very well lead to larger populations with politically destructive views, negating any tolerance-enhancing impact of education. The second implication is that improving individual material outcomes may not unambiguously impact political attitudes, particularly because the poorest respondents were not found to support these groups very strongly. Studies of the relationship between political and economic development should shed the empirically untenable notion that rising standards of living and constructive political attitudes correlate at the individual level. Instead, our findings should encourage an already robust focus on the role of institutions instead of attitudes as key determinants of economic and political growth (Acemoglu et al. 2001). Additionally, it should be noted that income in not randomly assigned in society. Future research should attempt to exogenously vary opportunities for the disadvantaged to see if increasing income decreases support for political violence, something we are pursuing in ongoing work. The third implication is that religion can be a force for order or for disorder; it is the details of doctrine that matter. The roots of religious militancy lay not in the extent of personal devotion, but in the content of organizational doctrine. Those who are sympathetic with views supporting violent mobilization in the name of religion are naturally more supportive of violent groups. Those who value a personal connection to the spiritual are not. The fourth implication is that spreading democratic values will not necessarily reduce support for violent politics. This should be no surprise to those familiar with America's own history; the Revolutionary War, after all, was fought in the name of democratic ideals and saw no shortage of terrorism and irregular violence (Edgar 2001). The fact that the relationship between political values and support for specific organizations depends on what cause those organizations are advancing bears repeating, however, in light of policy arguments that view the spread of democratic values as contributing inevitably to a more peaceful and orderly world. So long as people in Pakistan and elsewhere view violent political organizations as fighting to protect oppressed and occupied populations, there is little reason to think that enhancing respect for democracy will reduce political violence. From a policy perspective, the implications of this study are extremely hopeful. If background 28
individual characteristics like income and religiosity explained support for militancy, then policy efforts to reduce support for violent political organizations would be quixotic at best. Changing levels of education in any society is a decades-long process and there is little reliable knowledge on how to help large developing countries like Pakistan to advance economically. Politics however, can change very quickly. The striking variation across groups in both levels of support and the predictors of support should lend a hopeful note to efforts to reduce support for violent political organizations. Changing the politics of militancy is eminently feasible as the rapid declines in the fortunes of the Pakistan Taliban since April 2009 illustrate. The focus on U.S. and Pakistani efforts to combat militancy should therefore focus on the political and leave the business of societal change to the long arc of history. 29
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Figure 1: Illustration of The Endorsement Experiment Control [POLICY DESCRIPTION]. How much do you support such a plan? Treatment [POLICY DESCRIPTION]. [GROUP NAME] have voiced support for this program. How much do you support such a plan? Randomization Procedure 37
Figure 2: Support for Militant Groups by Region *p<.10 (two-tailed) 38
Table 1: Summary of Militant Groups Operating in and From Pakistan
Militant Group Kashmir Tanzeem Afghan Taliban Pakistan Taliban Al-Qa'ida
Specific Organizations - Jaish-e-Mohamed - Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen - Harkat-il-Jihad-Islam (JUJI) - Hizbul Mujahedeen - al Badr - Lashkar-e-Taiba N/A - Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) - Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-eMohammadi (TNSM) N/A
Regional Activities - Attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir. - Has operated in Afghanistan. - Has targeted Pakistani government and international targets in Pakistan. - Attacks in Indian administered Kashmir. - Attacks in Indian administered Kashmir - Attacks in India against government and commercial targets. - Wages insurgency in Afghanistan - Enjoys safe havens in Pakistan, especially `Quetta Shura. - Some elements have ties to Pakistani military - Targeting the Pakistani state - Restricted violence to FATA before June 2009 - Some commanders mobilize fighters in Afghanistan - Facilitated attacks worldwide - Has planned international attacks from Pakistan
Sectarian Tanzeem
- Sipha-e-Sahaba-Pakistan - Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
- Anti-Shia attacks, heaviest in Sindh - Some support to Pakistan Taliban
Stated Goals - Wrest Kashmir from India - Assist Afghan Taliban - Wrest Kashmir from India. - Wrest Kashmir from India. - Foster Hindu-Muslims discord in India - Target the "Hindu-JewishChristian" alliance - Overthrow government of Afghanistan - Oust foreign civilian and military forces - Undermine Pakistan government, establish local parallel governments as selfstyled sharia, engage in other criminal activities - Undermine Pakistan government - Conduct international terror attacks - Cleanse Pakistan of apostate Shi'a - Establish Pakistan as a Sunni state - Assist Afghan and Pakistan Taliban
Table 2: Sample Demographics
Gender Male Female
53.1% 46.9
Urban/Rural Urban Rural
32.5% 67.5
Province Punjab Sindh NWFP Balochistan
55.6% 24.3 13.9 6.3
Religious Sect Sunni Shi'ite
96.1% 3.9
Age 18-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
22.9% 18.7 29.1 17.5 7.8 4.1
Education Illiterate Primary Middle Matriculant Intermediate Graduate Professional
32.2% 13.1 14.9 19.3 12.3 6.4 1.9
Monthly Income
Less than 3000 PKR
3,000-10,000 PKR
10,001-15,000 PKR
15,001-25,000 PKR
More than 25,000 PKR 2.2
Note: N=6000 for all variables except
monthly income (N=5779). Data weighted and adjusted for sampling design.
Table 3: Support for Militant Groups by Region
Group Cue
Kashmir Tanzeem -.011+ (.006)
Afghan Taliban -.015* (.006)
Al Qaeda -.010+ (.005)
Sectarian Tanzeem -.007 (.005)
Full Sample (n=5358)
Constant R2
.82*** (.01) .04
.83*** (.01) .04
.82*** (.01) .03
.82*** (.01) .03
Group Cue
.000 (.009)
-.003 (.009)
-.004 (.008)
.005 (.008)
Punjab (n=2207)
Constant R2 Group Cue
.82*** (.10) .00 -.017+ (.010)
.82*** (.10) .00 -.024* (.011)
.82*** (.10) .00 -.009 (.009)
.82*** (.10) .00 -.007 (.008)
Sindh (n=1373)
Constant R2
.75*** (.01) .00
.75*** (.01) .00
.75*** (.01) .00
.75*** (.01) .00
Group Cue
-.037** (.012)
-.041** (.012)
-.021+ (.011)
-.024+ (.012)
NWFP (n=992)
Constant R2
.81*** (.01) .01
.81*** (.01) .01
.81*** (.01) .00
.81*** (.01) .00
Group Cue
-.017 (.017)
-.026 (.018)
-.030* (.014)
-.038* (.015)
Balochistan (n=786)
.73*** (.02)
.73*** (.02)
.73*** (.02)
.73*** (.02)
***p<.001; **p<.01; *p<.05; +p<.10 (two-tailed)
Note: Data weighted and adjusted for sampling design. Region fixed effects included but not reported for "Full
Sample" regressions.
Table 4: Descriptive Statistics on Individual-Level Characteristics
Jihadism Religious Seriousness Education High Income Low Income Democratic Values Negative View of U.S. Note: N=5092
Mean .33 .28 .21 .34 .10 .52 .84
Standard Dev. .31 .31 .41 .47 .30 .33 .22
Maximum 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Minimum 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Table 5: Support for Militant Groups by Individual-Level Characteristics
Group Cue Jihadism Religious Seriousness Education High Income Middle Income Democratic Values Negative View of U.S. Sindh NWFP Balochistan Jihadism x Group Cue Religious Seriousness x Group Cue Education x Group Cue High Income x Group Cue Low Income x Group Cue Democratic Values x Group Cue
Kashmir Tanzeem -.02 (.03) -.07*** (.01) .02 (.01) .03** (.01) -.06*** (.01) .00 (.01) .13*** (.01) .06** (.02) -.05*** (.01) .03* (.01) -.04* (.02) .03+ (.02) .00 (.02) -.02 (.02) .04** (.01) .01 (.02) .04* (.02)
Afghan Taliban -.01 (.03) -.07*** (.01) .02 (.01) .03** (.01) -.06*** (.01) .00 (.01) .13*** (.01) .06** (.02) -.05*** (.01) .03* (.01) -.04* (.02) .06** (.02) -.03+ (.02) -.05** (.02) .04** (.01) .00 (.02) .04* (.02)
Al Qaeda -.02 (.03) -.07*** (.01) .02 (.01) .03** (.01) -.06*** (.01) .00 (.01) .13*** (.01) .06** (.02) -.05*** (.01) .03* (.01) -.04* (.02) .04* (.02) -.03* (.02) .01 (.01) .03* (.01) .02 (.02) .02 (.02)
Negative View of U.S. x Group Cue
Sindh x Group Cue
NWFP x Group Cue
Balochistan x Group Cue Constant
.00 (.02) .73*** (.02)
***p<.001; **p<.01; *p<.05; +p<.10 (two-tailed)
Note: N=5092. Data weighted and adjusted for sampling design.
-.04 (.03) .00 (.02) -.03* (.02) -.01 (.02) .73*** (.02) .11
-.02 (.03) .00 (.01) -.02 (.01) -.02 (.02) .73*** (.02) .10
Sectarian Tanzeem .02 (.03) -.07*** (.01) .02 (.01) .03** (.01) -.06*** (.01) .00 (.01) .13*** (.01) .06** (.02) -.05*** (.01) .03* (.01) -.04* (.02) .03* (.02) -.02 (.02) -.03* (.01) .01 (.01) .01 (.02) .03 (.02) -.04 (.03) .00 (.01) -.03+ (.01) -.04* (.02) .73*** (.02) .11
Table 6: Attitudes toward Pakistan Taliban, Afghan Taliban, and the United States Government
Views on Kashmir Tanzeem
Percent agreeing with statement that: Justice is their objective Democracy is their objective Protecting Muslims is their objective N
81.1% 72.5 84.5 6000
Views on Afghan Taliban
Which government has a more legitimate claim to ruling Afghanistan? Current Karzai government Former Taliban Government N
40.4% 59.6 4544
Which government did a better job of helping the Afghan people? Current Karzai government Former Taliban Government N
42.5% 57.5 4475
Here are two statements people make about the Afghan Taliban. Please tell us which you agree with more. The Afghan Taliban are trying to liberate Afghanistan from the United States and other foreign powers. The Afghan Taliban are rebelling against the government of Afghanistan. N
72.3% 27.7 5159
Views on United States Government
Do you think the United States is occupying Afghanistan? Yes No N
82.9% 17.1 6000
Please tell us about the U.S. government's influence on the world. Is it...? Extremely positive Somewhat positive Neither positive nor negative Somewhat negative Extremely negative N
1.3% 6.0 8.7 20.9 63.1 5859
Please tell us about the U.S. government's influence on Pakistan's politics. Is it...? Extremely positive Somewhat positive Neither positive nor negative Somewhat negative Extremely negative N Note: Data weighted and adjusted for sampling design.
1.4% 6.0 9.8 18.2 64.5 5874
Online Appendix A: Question Wordings Policies for Endorsement Experiment The World Health Organizations recently announced a plan to introduced universal Polio vaccination across Pakistan. How much do you support such a plan? A great deal A lot A moderate amount A little Not at all The newly-elected national government has proposed reforming the Frontier Crimes Regulation and making tribal areas equal to other provinces of the country. How much do you support such a plan? A great deal A lot A moderate amount A little Not at all Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan have explored using peace jirgas to resolve their disputes for example the location of the boundary [Durand line/Sarhad]. How much do you support such a plan? A great deal A lot A moderate amount A little Not at all In recent years the government of Pakistan has proposed curriculum reform for madaris to minimize sectarian discord. How much do you support such a plan? A great deal A lot A moderate amount A little Not at all Religious Seriousness If a child in your house were to study hafz-e-Quran or nazira, what kind of madrassa or school would you like them to attend? 1
Jamaat-e-Islami Ahl-e-hadith Deobandi Barlevi Shi'ite Ahle-sunnat Do you attend dars-e-Quran? Yes No How many times do you go to dars-e-Quran per week on average? Jihadism Some people say jihad is a personal struggle for righteousness. Others say jihad is protecting the Muslim Ummah through war. What do you think? Jihad is solely a personal struggle for righteousness. Jihad is both a personal struggle for righteousness and protecting the Muslim Ummah through war. Jihad is solely protecting the Muslim Ummah through war. Some people say only a Muslim state/government can use military force to protect a Muslim country or Ummah in the name of jihad. Others say individuals and non-state organizations can use military force in the name of jihad. What do you think? Only states/governments should use military force in the name of jihad. Both states/governments and individuals should use military force in the name of jihad. Only individuals should use military force in the name of jihad. Neither can use military force in the name of jihad. Democratic Values How important is it for you to live in a country that is governed by representatives elected by the people? Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not important at all How important is it for you to live in a country where the decisions of the courts are independent from influence by political and military authorities? 2
Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not important at all How important is it that individuals be able to express their political views, even though other people may not agree with them? Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not important at all How important is it that individuals be able to meet with others to work on political issues? Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not important at all How important is it that individual property rights be secure? This means the state cannot take away their things without proper court proceedings? Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not important at all The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan says civilians should control the military. This means the military cannot take action without orders from civilian leaders. In your opinion, how much control should civilians have over the military? Complete control A lot of control A moderate amount of control A little control No control at all Attitudes toward Pakistan Taliban, Afghan Taliban, and the United States Government We're now going to ask you about a number of different groups. For each group, please answer 3
to the best of your ability. The first group is "Pakistani militant groups fighting in Kashmir" What do you think is the group's objectives? Please tell us all that apply. Justice Democracy Protecting muslims Ridding the Muslim umma of people who have moved away from their religion Freeing Occupied Kashmir Which government had a more legitimate claim to ruling Afghanistan: the current Karzai government or the former Taliban government? The current Karzai government The former Taliban government Which government performed better: the current Karzai government or the former Taliban government? The current Karzai government The former Taliban government Here are two statements people make about the Afghan Taliban. Please tell us which you agree with more: The Afghan Taliban are trying to liberate Afghanistan from the United States and other foreign powers. The Afghan Taliban are rebelling against the government of Afghanistan. Do you think the United States is occupying Afghanistan? Yes No Negative Views of United States Please tell us about the U.S. government's influence on the world, if it is: extremely positive, somewhat positive, neither positive nor negative, somewhat negative, or extremely negative? Extremely positive Somewhat positive Neither positive nor negative Somewhat negative Extremely negative Please tell us about the U.S. government's influence on Pakistan's politics, if it is: extremely positive, somewhat positive, neither positive nor negative, somewhat negative, or extremely 4
negative? Extremely positive Somewhat positive Neither positive nor negative Somewhat negative Extremely negative Demographics Are you Sunni or Shi'ite? Sunni Shi'ite Non-Muslim [WRITTEN IN BY INTERVIEWER IF NON-MUSLIM] What is your age in years? What was the highest class you completed? Primary Middle Matriculant Intermediate (F.A/F.Sc) Graduate (B.A/B.Sc.) Professionals (M.S.C., M.A., Ph.D. or other professional degree) Illiterate What is the approximate monthly income in your household? Less than 3000 rupees 3000 to 10,000 rupees 10,001 to 15,000 rupees 15,001 to 25,000 rupees More than 25,000 rupees 5
Online Appendix B: Randomization Checks
Gender Male Female F: p=.99
Control 53.1% 46.9
Treatment 53.1% 46.9
Urban/Rural Urban Rural F: p=.78
32.6% 67.4
32.3% 67.7
Province Punjab Sindh NWFP Balochistan F: p=.72
55.8% 24.4 13.5 6.3
55.3% 24.1 14.3 6.2
Religious Sect Sunni Shi'ite F: p=.51
96.3% 3.7
96.0% 4.0
Age 18-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+ F: p=.63
23.2% 19.3 28.2 17.5 7.9 3.9
22.5% 18.2 29.9 17.4 7.6 4.3
Education Illiterate Primary Middle Matriculant Intermediate Graduate Professional F: p=.21
32.4% 13.7 13.8 19.6 12.8 6.1 1.7
31.9% 12.6 15.9 19.0 11.9 6.7 2.1
Monthly Income
Less than 3000 PKR
3,000-10,000 PKR
10,001-15,000 PKR
15,001-25,000 PKR
More than 25,000 PKR
F: p=.31
Note: N=6000 for all variables except monthly income (N=5779).
Data weighted and adjusted for sampling design.

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