Nineteen percent of Pakistanis have 'positive' views toward Al Qaeda, according to a BBC poll released Sunday.
"Look around you," he says, surveying the crowded middle-class bazaar. "If a bomb went off here, where these innocent people are standing, can you imagine how bad it would be?"
Though unequivocal in his view that terrorists are kaffirs (unbelievers), Asghar also has no doubt where the root cause of the recent increase in suicide bombings and other deadly attacks lies: the United States and its military incursions into Pakistan's tribal zones.
In living rooms, tea shops, and TV studios, a debate is raging in the wake of last week's Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing between those who see terrorist acts in Pakistan's towns and cities as "reactive measures" for cross-border strikes by the US into Pakistan's tribal areas and those who believe militants must be strongly condemned for their actions.
"The killing of innocents is forbidden in Islam. Both the Taliban and the Americans are guilty of wrongdoing," says Raza Shahzad, an engineering master's student at Punjab University. But, he adds, "If my home and family was obliterated by a US strike, it might also drive me to take up arms. You can understand it."
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