Pak Affairs

66 pc Pakistanis have favourable view about PM Gillani

ISLAMABAD: Two thirds of the respondents about 66 % in a national survey gave very favourable or favourable view about the new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Another 29% rated him as ‘fair’ indicating moderate approval. Only 7% rated him poorly, the survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan said.

In popular opinion the jury is still out about the expected longevity of the new parliament. Forty percent (40%) say there is a high chance of its completing its term, and a nearly equal number of 40% say the chances are moderate, while the remaining 18% believe the chances that the new parliament will complete its five year tenure without being dismissed are either slim or none at all. Obviously a section of public opinion is strongly influenced by what happened during the last twenty years when one after another popularly elected parliament was prematurely dismissed without completing its tenure, the survey further said.

Slightly under half of the population at 45%, believes that the two major coalition partners in the new government, namely PPP and PML-N will pull it together amicably. But a significant section of the population, 31%, believes that the coalition is likely to fall apart soon. The remaining 36% said they were unable to make a judgment in this matter.

Despite widespread sense of national reconciliation on several issues which previously divided the nation, views are still spilt on the desirability of PPP- MQM coalition in Sindh. More than one third, 37%, of the respondents in a nation-wide survey were favourable about the Reconciliation agreement between Asif Zardari and MQM, when he visited its Karachi headquarter. However almost an equal number of 35% looked upon it unfavourably.

The remaining 28% said they were unable to give a view. When asked specifically about the desirability of a coalition government of PPP and MQM in the Sindh province, views fell in the same pattern: 35% were favourable to forming a coalition government of the two, but 43% were opposed to it saying that ‘PPP should form a government on its own’. The remaining 22% did not give a view.

Apparently a variety of new political events have not changed popular views on the year long judicial crisis of Pakistan. When asked: Do you support or oppose the view that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry should be reinstated as Chief Justice of Pakistan, 81% favoured his reinstatement while 17% opposed and 2% did not give a view. The spilt of opinion on this issue was nearly the same before the elections in November last year when Justice Chaudhry was dismissed.

The latest public opinion survey shows the rather inflexible spilt of views on both the judicial crisis and the Presidency of General Pervez Musharraf. The respondents were asked: Now that the new parliament has been formed should President Pervez Musharraf continue as President, resign or be confronted with an impeachment. Given these three options, 26% favoured his continuation, 51% favoured resignation while 22% supported a possible move to remove the President through impeachment. The remaining 1% did not give a view. When compared with views on Musharraf’s continuation or otherwise, such spilt of opinion was roughly the same even prior to the National Assembly elections held in February 2008.

In contrast to the inflexibility of popular opinion on judicial crisis and Pervez Musharraf’s Presidency, views regarding the direction of the country have upsurged quite remarkably since the February elections. Before the elections, barely 15% believed the country was headed in the right direction. This figure rose to 40% soon after the elections and according to the latest Gallup Pakistan poll completed in early April, six weeks after the elections, 54% say the country is headed in the right direction. Despite the rising confidence in the way things are moving the doubters are also numerous. Thus 43% say the country is not headed in the right direction. The remaining 3% did not give a view.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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