Its more than 200 pages, based on in-depth interviews, provides the best data on attitudes in this off-limits area that is at the heart of the militancy now affecting Pakistan. This is the fifth year of publication and Naveed Shinwari rightly congratulates the 50 enumerators who interviewed 4,000 people for this latest survey. As well as the raw data, 18 focus groups were held to gather qualitative opinions from the men and women of FATA.
The key findings are:
- Compared to the last survey there is a decline in optimism within FATA, with more than two-thirds feeling that Pakistan is going in the wrong direction.
- Concern about deteriorating law and order is perceived as Pakistan's biggest problem (66%), followed by inflaton (14.4%), bad governance (14.3%) and bomb blasts (8.4%).
- FATA's biggest problems are education and health services, followed by law and order. Fear of Talibanisation has fallen from 15% in 2010 to zero.
- Just 43% felt safe, well down on previous levels.
- Bizarrely, people believed that the USA, India or Israel were primarily responsible for suicide bombings in FATA, rather than the actual culprit, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
- Less than half of FATA residents (42.6%) felt that Islamic extremism was a threat to Pakistan, down from 66% previously.
- Almost two-thirds of those asked thought that drone attacks were never justified, with only 1.7% saying they were always justified.
- Significantly, considering that the Pakistani government has recently allowed political parties to organise in FATA for the first time, support for this measure has fallen dramatically from 59.7% to just 33% over the last year.
- Two-thirds of those asked were unfavourable to the TTP, and even support for the Afghanistan Taliban has dropped dramatically from 40% to 23.5%. Most people wanted foreign fighters to leave, by force if necessary.