Survey: Religious leader and President of Pakistan get lowest rating

By Rana Fawad
Posted July 02, 2009

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WASHINGTON: Guess who emerged the least popular in Pakistan’s leadership contest: a religious leader and President of Pakistan.

According to the’s recent survey findings released yesterday, Maulana Sufi Muhammad of TNSM (a religious party) was favored by only 18 percent of Pakistanis. He is not far behind from the head of the state: President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari got 32 percent favorable opinions.

Another political leader and head of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), Nawaz Sharif got 87 percent favorable opinion, Iftikhar Chaudhry (Chief Justice Pakistan Supreme Court) was favored by 82 percent people, and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani got 80 percent.

Majority of the Pakistanis, 81 percent, has negative opinion of the Taliban and religious militants and support the government action against them. In 2007, only 34 percent had negative opinion about them.

This was revealed by the during the release of its survey ‘Pakistani Public Opinion on the Swat Conflict, Afghanistan, and the U.S.’ at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Wednesday.

The is project managed by the program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Stephen J. Weber, Chief Operating Officer WPO, moderated the discussion.

Clay Ramsay, Research Director, Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and and C. Christine Fair, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; Assistant Professor, Georgetown University, presented the findings of the survey. Dr. Fair also collaborated on the development of the survey.

Dr. Stephen Cohen, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies and author (most recently) of Four Crises and a Peace Process: American Engagement in South Asia (2007) and The Idea of Pakistan (2004), also took part in the discussion.

The survey was carried out from May 17 to 28, 2009 by the Social Economic Development Consultants (SEDCO), Islamabad, Pakistan. Questions were asked face-to-face in respondents’ home. The pool of respondents consisted of 1,000 persons across 100 primary sampling units.

According to the survey findings, 71 percent Pakistanis believe that the Taliban will not accept the same Shari’a courts they (the Taliban) are demanding if those courts are empowered to try Taliban members as well.

Seventy-five percent people said a full takeover of the country by the Taliban will be very bad or somewhat bad.

As for the questions, who will do the better job in providing effective and timely justice, preventing corruption, and helping the poor, the majority said the Pakistani government would do a better job.

Seventy-five percent respondents of the survey said shari’a allows women to work whereas 10 percent said the Taliban allowed women to work.

Similarly, 83 percent people believe shari’a allows girls to attend school whereas only 12 percent think Taliban allow girls to get education.

However, NATO mission in Afghanistan, U.S. government and President Obama got unfavorable opinion.

Eighty-eight percent think the U.S. government wants to weaken and divide the Islamic world and 90 percent believe Obama intends to do the same.

Eighty-two percent people are of the opinion that al Qaeda is a threat to Pakistan’s interests whereas 74 percent think that al Qaeda should not be allowed to operate training camps in Pakistan.

Part 1

World Public Opinion Survey on Pakistan Released – Part 1 from Rana Fawad on Vimeo.