A year after Osama bin Laden was captured from Abbottabad in a unilateral American raid, the country has witnessed a rise in anti-US sentiments, but also a simultaneous drop in support for al Qaeda and its leader.
The Abbottabad raid did not have a major impact on the incidence of terrorism in Pakistan but definitely increased anti-United States sentiment amongst the public, said an intelligence official while speaking to The Express Tribune.
Anti-US sentiments may not be rampant amongst the population, since there are no credible statistics to prove either way, but a remarkable rise in anti-US rhetoric by right-wing groups was witnessed post-bin Laden raid, the intelligence official said.
He was seconded by defence analyst Brigadier (retd) Farooq Hameed Khan, who has also served at the defence section of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.
There is no palpable rise in extremism since the bin Laden raid but there has been a substantial increase in anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, Khan said while talking to The Express Tribune.
The US did not release any photograph or video of the Abbottabad raid which raises question about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad at the time of the operation, he added.
Meanwhile, the Abbottabad commission has yet to complete its report on the incident.
The nation anxiously awaits the report and hopes it will help answer the questions people have about this highly-secretive operation, Khan added.
A year after the death of its leader, al Qaeda is widely unpopular among Muslim publics.
A new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted March 19 to April 13, 2012, finds majorities – and mostly large majorities – expressing negative views of al Qaeda in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon. The chart above illustrated the findings.
Support for bin Laden, however, had waned considerably among Muslims around the world even before his death.
21% of Pakistanis expressed confidence in bin Laden to do the right thing in world affairs in 2011, down from a high of 52% in 2005.
Confidence in bin Laden amongst Muslims also saw a decline in Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, the survey findings reveal. (With additional input from news desk)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.