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Pew survey declares Imran Khan most popular leader

02 July, 2012

KARACHI: A globally reputed research organisation declared Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan as the most popular leader of the country, said a press release issued here recently.

The statement further stated that the declaration is based on the results of a comprehensive survey conducted under the Global Attitudes Project of Pew Research Centre.

According to the survey, seven out of ten Pakistanis have offered a favourable opinion regarding the PTI leader. Favourable ratings of Khan have increased by a remarkable 18 percent points over the last two years.

The survey also states that Khan enjoys incomparable popularity amongst young Pakistanis. The survey is suggestive of people's discontent with the proponents and beneficiaries of the political status quo.

Widespread disgruntlement is evident from the fast eroding popularity of leaders of two main stream political forces. Only 14 percent view Zardari favourably, down significantly from 64 percent in 2008. On the other hand popularity of friendly opposition leader Mian Nawaz Sharif has dropped significantly from 79 percent in 2009 to 62 percent today.

Details of public opinions on the most critical issues explain rise in the popularity of PTI and its leader Khan. Results suggest that nearly all (97 percent) of the people aware of drone strikes consider them negative. "Those who are familiar with the drone campaign also overwhelmingly believe the attacks kill too many innocent people (94 percent). Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) say they are not necessary to defend Pakistan from extremist organisations."

Thus Khan's longstanding stance against the war on terror and the drone strikes in particular is one which is representative of the sentiments of an overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan.

Furthermore, Pakistanis continue to express considerable discontent with the state of affairs in their own country. About nine-in-ten (87 percent) are dissatisfied with the country's direction. Similarly, 89 percent describe the national economic situation as bad. Crime and a lack of jobs top the list of national concerns, with nine-in-ten citing these issues as very big problems for Pakistan. Terrorism is also a major concern and a vast majority (86 percent) agrees.

Roughly three-quarters of Pakistanis are very concerned about corrupt political leaders (78 percent) and illegal drugs (76 percent). Widespread public concern on these issues is reflective of the extent of disgruntlement on governance at different levels.

End.

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