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August 13, 2012

37pc Baloch favour independence: UK survey

August 13, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A Gallup survey for the UK international official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, revealed that the support for an independent Balochistan is not popular even amongst a majority of the Baloch population.
The survey reveals that among the Baloch, 37 percent favour independence whereas among the Pashtun population only 12 percent favour that option. The results of the survey have not been made public.
The vast majority, according to the survey, opposes the idea of an independent Balochistan. However, 67 percent of the people of Balochistan, including Baloch and Pashtuns, support greater provincial autonomy.
The survey says that 79 percent of the Baloch population and 53 percent of Pashtuns support the idea that the people of Balochistan should have greater control over their political affairs.Balochistan, which is generally a combination of Baloch and Pashtun tribes, through this survey reflects Pashtuns’ tilt to national mainstream as against the recent years increased tendency of Balochi separatism.
The survey also covers the situation in Fata and shows that 41% of the people of Pakistan see Fata as less peaceful than before. As to who enjoys greatest influence in Fata, 29% think military, 20% believe local, 13% see federal government, 12% think US while 26% say others i.e. Taliban, political parties, NGOs and Afghan Taliban.
About the perception of militancy, the survey said that militancy continues to be perceived as high threat in Pakistani society but the perceived causes of terrorism have shifted from militants to other factors like access to weapons, poverty, poor governance and rule of law.
According to the survey, 31% think that poor governance is the reason for terrorism and militancy, whereas 23% hold terrorists responsible for the same. 17% think poverty produces terrorists, while 11% believe that weak rule of law is the cause of terrorism and the same percentage sees this problem because of the availability of

On the foreign policy front, the survey shows that the balance has shifted from Taliban to Nato for creating hurdles for better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
To a question as what is the most significant difficulty between Pakistan and Afghanistan, 34% said the difficulty is Nato while 27% shifted the blame on Taliban. In 2011, greater number of people saw Taliban as the difficulty but in 2012 Nato emerged as the major villain.
The survey shows that 65% of the people support Pakistan’s role as peacemaker in Afghanistan.
The survey also reveals that the image of Afghan Taliban continues to be negative but is improving as 30% see them as a terrorist group, 26% take them as Islamic fighters, 24% think they are ignorant of Islamic values and 16% think they are a political group. Last year 31% saw them as terrorists, 22% saw them as Islamic fighters and 12% took them as a political group. Similarly though still small (19%) but rising number of Pakistanis see Taliban as the next power in Afghanistan.
The survey also reveals that 90% Pakistanis oppose drone attacks while only 3% support them.
About India, 73% believe that the Indian government is bad. However, 62% think that the relations between Pakistan and India are improving as against 42% in 2011 and 23% in 2010.
The survey says that desire to normalise relations with India makes dramatic shift.
The survey also covers the image of UK and DFID in Pakistan. It says that the image of UK is positive and has improved also in Pakistan.

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