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Democratic Values and Support for Militancy: Evidence from a National Survey of Pakistan
PRINCETON UNIV NJ WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
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A long tradition of research into political culture argues that greater support for core liberal values leads to a rejection of destructive political activities and reduced support for violent politics. Many contemporary analysts of security policy contend that a lack of democratic values in the Middle East promotes the development of violent political organizations. Unfortunately, there have been few direct tests of the hypothesis that individual rejection of democratic values correlates with support for militant organizations. We conducted such a test in Pakistan using an original 6,000-person survey that is representative of adults in each of Pakistans four main provinces Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkwa KPK, and Balochistan. Our survey is the first to measure affect towards a range of specific militant organizations in one country, the first to measure beliefs about the importance of core democratic values, and the first to be representative of rural and urban regions for each province of Pakistan. We found that support for a set of liberal democratic values -- property rights, free speech, independent courts, the ability of citizens to elect representatives, a separation of civilian and military power, and freedom of assembly -- is positively related to support for militancy. Consistent with the principle of azadi freedom or self-determination in Urdu, these results are driven by respondents who believe that Muslim rights and sovereignty are being violated in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Our results challenge the conventional wisdom and contribute to theoretical debates on the influence of civic culture on political stability and violence.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE