Islamabad: A majority of urban Pakistanis
believe that the person killed by US special forces during a
raid in the garrison city of Abbottabad on Monday was not
Osama bin Laden, according to a survey.
The online survey, conducted by global opinion
pollster YouGov and Polis at Cambridge University, revealed
that a staggering 66 per cent of Pakistanis think the person
killed by US Navy SEALs in a compound about 80 km from
Islamabad was not bin Laden.
YouGov said the survey focussed on more educated
respondents in the cities of Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.
"The fact that this survey excluded rural and less educated
demographic groups actually makes the results more striking,"
the organisers of the poll said.
The survey further revealed that 48 per cent of
Pakistanis think bin Laden was not a true Muslim leader, 35
per cent believe he was a mass murderer compared with 42 per
cent who disagreed, and 35 per cent believe he had declared
war on Pakistan compared with 45 per cent who disagreed.
About half the respondents said they did not believe
there were ties between the Inter-Services Intelligence agency
and al Qaeda.
The poll further showed that 75 per cent of
respondents disapproved of the US raid against bin Laden on
Pakistani soil, less than 25 per cent believe bin Laden had
authorised the 9/11 terror attacks in the US and 74 per cent
believe the US government considers that it is at war with the
Muslim world and did not respect Islam.
Sixty-one per cent of respondents either have sympathy
for the Taliban or believe they represent views that should be
respected, compared with only 21 per cent who flatly oppose
them. However, a majority contended that the Pakistan
government should use every means at its disposal to push the
Taliban out of the country and keep them out.
"Put another way, Pakistanis broadly sympathise with
the Taliban`s right to exist and have political influence. But
similar numbers also want them out of Pakistan," YouGov said.
A majority of respondents also challenged Western
depictions of a weakened al Qaeda, with 86 per cent saying
they expect violence by extremist groups to remain constant or
increase in Pakistan following recent events in Abbottabad,
while 82 per cent predicted similar outcomes for Afghanistan.
Over 50 per cent thought celebrations in the US
following the announcement of the death of bin Laden would
incite further violence against the US. A majority also
supported the expansion of Pakistan`s nuclear arsenal, with 81
per cent voting in favour of it.
The survey was conducted online during May 4-5 with a
sample size of 1,039 Pakistani residents.