Pakistanis’ views on ISIS showcase worrying trend

In a recently released research by the Pew Research Center, out of 11 Muslim majority countries, Pakistan seems to be the only one where a majority offered no definite opinion of ISIS. In 11 Muslim majority countries including Jordan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Lebanon, the majority held strong opinions against ISIS with a very small minority in some cases showing support for ISIS and similarly small numbers expressing no opinion about the militant group. However, in Pakistan, 62% of the individuals revealed that they did not hold a definite opinion about ISIS while 9% even showed support for the group.

There has been growing concern over the presence of ISIS in Pakistan, which has been aggravated by instances of locals showing support for the militant organization. Graffiti supporting ISIS has been seen in numerous cities of the country since the emergence of the group.

Graffiti supporting the banned group and welcoming the group’s presence in Pakistan aren’t uncommon in remote areas of the country.

However, major cities of the country have also seen positive sentiments of the citizens towards the group. The following picture is an image showing ‘ISIS’ written in spray paint in the city of Karachi:

It is pertinent to mention the role that seminaries have played in the promotion of ISIS. Lal Masjid clerif Abdul Aziz has famously – or notoriously – announced his support for ISIS, while the students of Jamia Hafsa even released a video showing support for ISIS prior to the December 16 APS attack

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