ATP Poll Results: Biggest Threats for Pakistan

Posted on March 28, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll
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Adil Najam

The results to our most recent ATP Poll – on the biggest threats facing Pakistan’s future – may be the most surprising results to have come out of any ATP Poll ever.

As in any poll one can quibble about which categories should or should not have been chosen. If, as some have suggested, we combine the category on “corruption and bad governance” (150 votes, 21%) with the category on “incompetent political leaders” (143 votes, 20%) then our own politicians, bureaucracy and establishment becomes the biggest threat (combined 293 votes, 41%). But even with that so, nearly as many people voted for what is now the top answer – religious extremism and violence is the biggest threat to Pakistan (286 votes, 40%). There is, indeed, a strong recognition of the internal wars being fought in and against Pakistan today!

Although 711 is a decent sized sample, this is a blog poll and should not be taken any more seriously than that because the sample is self-selected and non-scientific.

However, the real surprise here is not what people voted for, but what they did not vote for. For example, despite all the rhetoric and chest-beating one hears, only 40 votes (5%) felt that “USA and the West” are Pakistan’s biggest threat. Even more surprisingly, only 21 votes (3%) felt that India – the supposed arch-nemesis of Pakistan – is the main threat facing Pakistan today. With 19 and 18 votes (3% each) the categories of “Economic and resource challenges” including poverty and “Ethnic and Provincial fault-lines” make up the bottom.

So, what is happening here. Why did “India” or “The West” not get more votes even though the discourse most often talks about them? What does it say that the largest threats identified – more than 80 percent of the total vote – is in three categories that are all internally driven? Have new threats increased in size, or have old ones receded in impact? Thoughts, dear readers?

35 responses to “ATP Poll Results: Biggest Threats for Pakistan”

  1. world citizen says:




  2. Hamza says:

    The self-selection bias, i.e., the largely well educated readership of this blog is responsible for the rational results of the poll. For a more accurate depiction of the “Pakistani street”, and the consequences of thirty years of zia-ul-haq inspired propaganda, i would recommend you read

    As i write this post, some 12 hours after the Lahore policy training center attack, most of the posters on that website are blaming the cia, raw, and various other foreign agencies for all our problems. Despite the results of your poll, I would argue that the delusion that is prevalent among many of our country men is quite strong.

  3. zakoota says:

    This poll results show how powerful media can be in changing minds of common people. Its funny rather sad to see that majority of people dont use their minds to extract the REAL factors and people behind terrorist activities in Pakistan and are just blaming on western thought that religious extremism is a danger to Pakistan’s future!

  4. faisal says:

    A few days ago I would have said Mullahs and Wakils.

  5. Owes Ahmed says:

    The answers would be different if they were taken on the street. They would have to views of more Jahil people also though internet alone does not make you intelligent but it helps

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