Most in-depth analysis has found little evidence of a direct link between poverty and terrorism in Pakistan, arguing instead that terrorism should be seen as a response to political conditions and long-standing feelings of indignity, and frustration at lack of opportunity. Other commentators, however, argue that while this may explain the motivations of the Islamist leadership or elite, poverty and illiteracy may still be important motivating factors for recruits at the lower levels of radical organisations. In any event the situation is likely to vary greatly between countries and these hypotheses should be tested at the country and, sub-national level.
The research for this query uncovered no evidence on the impact of international aid programmes on radicalisation. Instead, this report includes material on several development initiatives aimed at addressing radicalisation in Pakistan and more general material on how international development initiatives may be calibrated to address radicalisation.