Vast majority of Pakistanis dissatisfied: Poll

Published: May 7, 2013

Vast majority of Pakistanis are dissatisfied with their country's direction.

WASHINGTON: The vast majority of Pakistanis are unhappy with their country’s direction and a growing number see the domestic Taliban as a threat, said a survey released Tuesday ahead of elections.

The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 91 per cent of Pakistanis were dissatisfied with the direction of the country and that a mere 14 per cent saw President Asif Ali Zardari favorably.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, seen as a front-runner in Saturday’s election, was viewed favorably by 66 per cent of Pakistanis and 60 per cent held positive views of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan.

However, the poll was taken in March, when Pakistan was just starting the campaign for what could be the country’s first democratic transition of power. Pew conducted 1,201 in-person interviews across Pakistan.

The poll found overwhelming alarm at crime and terrorism. Forty-nine per cent described the Taliban as a “very serious threat” to Pakistan, for the first time nearly equaling those who said the same about historic rival India.

Despite concerns about the Taliban, the vast majority opposed US drone attacks against militants, saying they killed too many civilians. Two-thirds welcomed US plans to pull troops out of neighboring Afghanistan next year.

Unlike in much of the world, Pakistani opinions of the United States have grown only more negative since President Barack Obama succeeded George W Bush, with only 11 per cent saying they had a positive image of the country.

A majority said that US assistance to Pakistan — including a $7.5 billion civilian aid package unveiled in 2009 in hopes of improving the relationship – had no or even a negative impact.

Despite wide pessimism about the country’s direction, 79 per cent of Pakistanis praised the impact of the military — long a key power center — and smaller majorities voiced confidence in religious leaders, the media and the courts.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • J
    May 7, 2013 - 10:46PM

    Wow 60% for Imran Khan in March…. Where we were busy in our party election…. now it will be 99%…..Imran Khan next prime minister


  • mkz
    May 7, 2013 - 10:48PM

    “A majority said that US assistance to Pakistan — including a $7.5 billion civilian aid package unveiled in 2009 in hopes of improving the relationship – had no or even a negative impact.”

    They really need to understand its because of the CIA, drones, and puppeteering Pakistani politics and politicians.


  • ashar
    May 7, 2013 - 11:00PM

    All we need is fair and free elections. Most of the Pakistanis believe including me that if fair elections are held the result would be in favour of Pakistan no matter what they are. Basically we are fed up of engineered elections.


  • Salman
    May 8, 2013 - 12:00AM

    ET stop being biased reporting old news to favour PMLN


  • confused
    May 8, 2013 - 12:17AM

    Unless the survey was carried out in Raiwind, I don’t see any place in Pakistan where Nawaz is viewed favorably by 66 percent of the people. Even Zardari’s 14% is too high.

    Terrorism is Pakistan’s issue number 1 and there should be no negotiations, rather a full force military operation is required. The extremists, who unfortunately survive the drone attacks, head south towards Peshawar, Quetta or Karachi and run havoc. Punjabis don’t feel this yet but if there is no full frontal battle against this mindset you guys will also feel it at some point.


  • Tahir
    May 8, 2013 - 12:41AM

    As per article 62 he can not become PM; and ECP has allowed him to contest polls is a flagrant violation of the constitution. This view is supported by DR Tahir Qadri as well


  • May 8, 2013 - 12:58AM

    If you don’t like ET why don’t you start your own website? No one is stopping you. You can then fill it with praises of Imran Khan.


  • Sexton Blake
    May 8, 2013 - 1:57AM

    I would have thought that most people, in the world, were apprehensive, scared and seriously concerned about the US/Zionist partnership, and their continuing illegal activities. A few US dollars for thousands of dead innocent people is a cheap price to pay. After all the US has paid out several trillion dollars in dumb wars, because less than 3,000 people died in 9/11


  • Syed A. Mateen
    May 8, 2013 - 2:07AM

    The term of the National and Provincial Assemblies have expired at a time when Pakistan is a total chaos, as far as law and order situation is concerned.

    The suicide attacks, bomb blasts and ongoing target killings have left the innocent people in the hands of terrorists.

    This is not a congenial environment to hold general election.


  • Raj - USA
    May 8, 2013 - 2:57AM

    I really admire the Pakistanis for being so much enthusiastic in participating in elections even though they are facing so many problems and threats on a daily basis.


  • A2Z
    May 8, 2013 - 3:13AM

    You are nobody and similalry Tahir ul Qadri is nothing.


  • Bubba
    May 8, 2013 - 3:26AM

    Despite wide pessimism about the country’s direction, 79 per cent of Pakistanis praised the impact of the military — long a key power center

    Somehow the people of Pakistan don’t hold the military responsible for the fact that half the nation is under the control of militants or that these militants seem free to bomb/terrorize anywhere they want.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz Ahmed
    May 8, 2013 - 6:48AM

    @Raj – USA:

    Only enthusiastic because people think Imran Khan will bring some change. If Imran Khan does not get votes to form the govt. then there will be disappointment as usual.


  • Sexton Blake
    May 8, 2013 - 7:22AM

    Dear Bubba,
    You appear to be ignoring the salient fact that the US, which reputedly has the most powerful military in the world, cannot control a few poorly equipped hill-billies who appear free to kill US/NATO troops at will anywhere in Afghanistan, and this includes large US bases. Additionally, the US use drones to kill innocent people, because they cannot handle the so called militants, and perhaps this is the reason why Pakistani people do not trust the US.


  • Kazim Muneer
    May 8, 2013 - 1:19PM

    @Raj – USA: Resilience!


  • Kazim Muneer
    May 8, 2013 - 1:21PM

    @Sexton Blake: Watch Oliver Stone’s Documentary “The Untold History of United States”, which was aired early this year. Eye-opener really!


  • May 10, 2013 - 6:37PM

    Pakistanis have to realize that you cannot run a country with excessive interference. The interim PM passed orders banning high heels.Problem is violence which can be eliminated by liberalizing the economy so that people get busy,


  • May 10, 2013 - 6:40PM

    The problem in Pakistan is violence. If we liberalize the economy people will get busy and stop chasing fantasies.


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