Analysis of Attitudes towards Terrorist Groups

06 Apr 2018

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Pakistan has lost at least 50,943 lives to terrorism just since January 1, 2003, according to the SATP data base , including 18,373 civilians, 26,992 terrorists, and 5,578 SF personnel. Terrorism is one of the major problems of Pakistan which is effecting and causing all other problems. Its effecting, economy, tourism, sports almost all the social and economic factors of the country and most of all its causing constant death fear in people. Especially the young generation likes university students.

Tehrik i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a major organization which is responsible for almost all of the major terror attacks in Pakistan. They accepted the responsibilities of those attacks and also openly declare war against Pakistani government." We will target security forces, government installations, political leaders and police," Asmatullah Shaheen, head of the shura and caretaker leader of the TTP, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. (DAWN, 19 April, 2014). "All areas will come under attack but Punjab will come first," TTP spokesperson Shaheen said. (CNN ,8 november 2013).

Tharek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is an umbrella organization of many different Islamic militant groups based in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) near Afghanistan border. Most Taliban groups unite under the TTP (Yusufzai & Rahimullah 2008) about 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud in December 2007 to form the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.(Bajoria , Jayshree. 2008) Implication of their interpretation of shraia by power , stand against NATO forces in Afghanistan and resistance against Pakistani state was there main objectives. (Bajoria & Jayshree 2008, Abbasperson & Hassan 2009). They are responsible for major attacks for example Manawa police academy, GOR, PAF base, and killing of 23 FC personals, attack on Malala Yousafzai and many more.

In Pakistan there is positive as well as negative attitude toward TTP, Eagly and Chaiken,(1998), define attitude as "evaluating a particular event or person with favor or disfavor". Someone’s past and present can formed his attitude. (Alport &Gordon,1935). People can also have unclear attitude toward something or situation they can express positive or negative attitude toward same situation at different times (Wood.W ,2000)

Jung's define attitude as "psychological readiness of a person to react or act in specific way" (Jung, 1921,1971). Attitudes have two forms conscious and unconscious. Jung defined several attitudes within this broad definition.

Rational attitude: further divide into felling psychological functions with its attitude, and thinking with its attitude.

Irrational attitude: further divide into intuition psychological functions with its attitude and sensing with its attitude. “There is just a typical sensation, feeling, thinking and intuitive attitude” (Jung, 1921,1971).

Attitude toward Taliban can be explained as individual response toward Taliban or the situations created by them. Regarding to the situation we have two kind of opinion toward them:

1: positive attitude: people who have soft corner for Taliban and think they have some reasonable logic for their acts. And there views basically base on the slogan "one man's terrorism is another man's freedom fight". Ameer, Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan, Sirajul Haq, has said that if the government did not want more bloodshed, it should give serious consideration to the Taliban's demands.(sirajul haq, 18 March 2014) .Jamaat-e-Islami leader Munawar Hassan gave a statement in which he portrayed Hakimullah Mehsud as “martyr” but refused to gave the status of “martyred’’ to the soldiers who fought Pakistan's war( The News, 13 November 2013).

2: Negative attitude: people who think that Taliban are constant threat and there elimination from the country is must. ANP's (Awami National Party) spokesperson Mian Iftekhar Hussain , says that “those political parties who are supporting army for military action against TTP are the main targets for Taliban" (tribune, 7th may 2013), TTP several times targeted political offices of Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Quami Movement ( express Tirbune , may 7, 2013) These parties are in favor of the military action against TTP. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari openly declared war against TTP (DAWN, 28th December 2013). On social networking site Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tweeted: "Shahidullah Shahid said that constitution of Pakistan is not Islamic. He undoubtedly can’t read. The reality is TTP has nothing Islamic in it."(The News, 21 February 2014). "Taliban are stone age they are ruthless and ignorant people’’,said Altaf Hussain MQM leader (Tribune 14 October 2012)) Altaf Hussain's also stated that supporting Taiban’s is against Islam. And some top religious scholars of Pakistan agreed with his statement .Mufti Naeem, Allam Tahir Ashrafi, Sahibzada Hamid Raza agreed that his statement is according to shariat. Mufti Naeem said that shedding blood of innocent people is totally against the teaching of Islam. . Allama Tahir Ashrafi stated that how those groups could be supported who killed innocent people and destroyed religious places. Sahibzada Hamid Raza appreciated Altaf Hussain’s statement and said it is according to the preachings of Islam.( Royal News, 26th February 2014).Pakistan people party leader Rehamn Malik stated "even if 15 members out of 2000 members of TTP are against Pakistan , then for me they all are anti-Pakistan (express Tribune, 17 march 2014).

TTP's declaration of war against Pakistan, there terror attacks , kidnapping and killing of armed forces, as well as common people are causing terrorism catastrophizing and death anxiety among Pakistani people.

Terrorism is design to demoralize its targets by violating the basic assumption that one is safe ( Gurwitch , Sitterle , young & prefferbaum , 2002 ). Terrorism is a form of unsaid conformation that often targets civilian population as well as, or as substitute of, the military. Terror attacks carried out by small groups and they don’t need direct engagement like in war, attacks happened without warning , terrorist act within the society ,they can use rumors of possible disasters and upsetting events as effectively as real acts of horror (Pine, Costello & Masten,2005).

Terrorism is a strategies of violence designed to promote desire outcome by instilling fear in the public at large (Bassiouni, 1981, as cited in Moghaddam &Marsella, 2004). Public intimidation is a key element that distinguishes terrorist violence form other form of violence. Unlike the customary violence in which victims are personally targeted, in terrorism the victims are incidental to terrorists' intended aims, and the violence is used mainly as a way to provoke social conditions designed to further broader aims (Moghaddam & Marsella, 2004).

Terrorist attacks have psychological effects on general community and on their victims. The feelings of safety and security decreased , threat of life and level of stress increased which cause the change in the behavior , all these elements been noted in communities who have been victims of terrorism ( Schuster, 2001 , Huddy,2002 & Bleich, 2003) There are numerous characteristics of terrorism that increase the severity and magnitude of psychological effects. First terrorist attacks take place without warning which create disturbance in the social and personal life of people. Terrorist attacks are more shocking for individuals. Areas that are supposed to be safe suddenly became unsafe. Feelings of insecurity may develop among people (Dziegielewski & Summer,2002) Carr (2002) define terrorism as "the name modification of war which is held against civilizations to shatter their will to support their leaders or policies that are the against of such violence and find it objectionable" (Moghaddam & Marsella, 2004).

In terrorism, terrorist work in small groups working from within a society give them advantage to use rumors of possible disasters and upsetting events as effectively as real acts of horror (Pine, Costello, & Masten, 2005).

Terrorist attacks have psychological effects on general community as well as on their victims. It increases stress levels and feelings of safety and security reduced. Level of fear of threat and visible changes in behaviors have been noted in communities who have been victimized by terrorism (Huddy, 2002). There are numerous characteristics of terrorism that increase the severity and magnitude of psychological effects. First terrorist attacks take place without warning which negatively effect on the social and personal life of people. Terrorist attacks are more shocking for individuals. Areas that are supposed safe become suddenly unsafe and person starts feeling insecure. Feelings of insecurity may develop among people (Gurwitch, Sitterle, Young, & Pfefferbaum, 2002).

There are various definitions for the term "Catastrophizing", Chavez and Brown (1987) define catastrophizing as the magnification of worry or negative thinking about specific negative life events. In terrorism catastrophizing the negative life event would be terror attacks .Spanos, Radtke-Bodorik, and Ferguson (1979) debate that thinking pattern which involves catastrophizing always focus on negative life events it is a very basic mental process which can lead toward different forms of psychological disturbances like anxiety and depression(Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979;Garnefski, Teerds, Kraaij, Legerstee, & Van den Kommer, 2004). Beck's(1976, 1979) cognitive model assumes that catastrophizing is one specific cognitive style that underlies anticipatory anxiety this model of psychopathology addresses how people develop patterned and generally consistent thought processes based on their experiences. Specific patterns of cognitive disorganization (also known as cognitive distortions) have been shown to predispose one to various forms of psychopathology (Beck AT, 1979).The literature on cognitive distortions has shown that "catastrophizing" is a primary, and underlying cognitive process fueling disorders of mood and anxiety( Brown TA, Antony MM, & Barlow ,1992)

A research study showed that the terrorism catastrophizing is significant predictor of change in human behavior and also cab lead toward the psychological disturbance like , depression, anxiety, physiological stress and fear or death among survivors of terror attacks (SinclairLoCicero, 2007). Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies’s (PIPS) research shows that intense panic because of terrorism can cause dysfunctional behaviors, which commonly spread complications are stress, depression and death anxiety(Pakistan Security Report, 2009).

Fear of death or Death anxiety can be defined as unavoidable intense feelings of dying, death, or what will happens after death. Death is defined as the state of non-being, the termination of biological life' (Bond 1994,p4) Robert lagon (2004) divide death anxiety three forms:

1: Predatory death anxiety: is the oldest form of death anxiety, which is caused by the fear of being harmed. (Langs, R,2004) its origin linked with the unicellular organism’s techniques of adaptive resources , the receptors of unicellular react and protect if case of external threat . Response mechanism makes sure the survival in case of physical or chemical forms of attack. In humans when an individual find himself in danger predatory death anxiety evoked which help him to fight or flight decision , mobilized his recourses to fight against threat or attempt to escape (Castano et al ,2011)

2: Existential Death Anxiety: is basic conscious awareness of the reality about the end of the life or death. This is one of the most powerful forms of anxiety. Humans have unique capability of language, which is the basic reason of this kind of anxiety, communication and behavioral change created the roots of existential death anxiety. Humans deal with it through denial which is effected through a wide range of psychological and physical mechanisms.

3: Predator Death Anxiety: this form of death anxiety evoked when a human physically or psychologically harm another liven being. Unconscious guilt arouse in predator anxiety which lead toward and motivate different decision and actions to punish himself or harm himself these self-destructive actions works unconsciously. (Lagon.R, 2004).

Terror Management Theory also explain death anxiety, it revolves around an individual's fear of death Originally generated from the work of Ernest Becker (1962, 1973, 1975), this theory hypothesizes that a person's death Anxiety is motivation for his or her behavior (Sowards, Moniz, & Harris,1991). Humans experience death anxiety because, unlike other species, there is Awareness of one's own mortality, and yet they strive for self preservation. This knowledge of the inevitability of death can lead to death anxiety or a deep sense of terror. (Harmon-Jones et al.)And this fear of death can change the attitude or opinion of people. Research proves that when fear of death or mortality salience are triggered, even outside of conscious awareness ,people started to become more fearful, intolerant of change, more prejudiced, more socially reserved , start showing there support toward leaders who share there worldview, more fundamentalist and become more intolerant toward those who threatened to change their worldview (Pyszczynski, T., S. Solomon, and J. Greenberg, 2003) Terrorism in Pakistan is mainly caused by TTP for example Manawa Police academy attack, GOR attack, navy base camp attacks and many more. They accepted the responsibility and openly declared war against the state of Pakistan.These acts are causing death anxiety and terrorism catastrophizing which in result changing the attitude of people toward Taliban.

Theoretical frame work: Terror Management Theory: The theory was originally proposed by Jeff Greenbrug, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczsnky. Terror Management Theory (TMT) proposes that mortality salience motives all human behaviors. Theory explains how people react under the threat of terrorism. It proposes that after major terror hits like 9/11, the realization of one’s eventual death general in public. As the terror attacks keep occurring around the world and people focuses more on these threats fear of death increase. (Pyszczynski, T., S. Solomon, and J. Greenberg,2003). Research proves that when fear of death or mortality salience are triggered, even outside of conscious awareness ,people started to become more fearful, intolerant of change, more prejudiced, more socially reserved , start showing their support toward leaders who share there worldview, more fundamentalist and become more intolerant toward those who threatened to change their worldview .( Pyszczynski, T., S. Solomon, and J.Greenberg,2003). In current situation TTP is the threat for the students, they are causing life threatening situation in reaction student are experiencing death anxiety and they may want to eliminate the threat completely.

Objectives of the study:

  • To investigate the attitude of students toward Taliban.
  • To investigate the relationship between attitude toward Taliban (negative and positive) and terrorism catastrophizing.
  • To investigate the relationship between attitude towards Taliban (negative/positive) and death anxiety.
  • To investigate gender differences among the level of terrorism catastrophizing and death anxiety

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