On the eve of General Elections in Pakistan, two independent surveys conducted to assess the moods of the people indicate the descending popularity of Gen (Retd) Parvez Musharraf and ascending popularity of Pakistan Political Party.(PPP)
The polls were conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow (TFT), a U.S. Organization which has Mr.John Mccain on its Advisory Board and the International Republican Institute (IRI). Both have its roots in U.S.A.
The chief findings of IRI were;
(a) The two Opposition Parties in Pakistan, viz., PPP and PML(N) were on top in that order where as the PML(Q) which ruled Pakistan from 2002 to 2007 along with Musharraf was way behind. The two main Opposition Parties together got a backing of 72% of the respondents. 75% of the respondents wanted Mr.Musharraf to step down immediately.
(b) The PPP has made substantial gains subsequent to the unfortunate assassination of Ms.Benazir Bhutto. This is reflected in the feelings of a vast majority of the respondents. As many as 93% of them felt that her gruesome death had weakened the Pakistan State as a Federation;but when it comes to the question of who should lead the PPP, the preference was towards the Vice-Chairman of the PPP, Mr.Makhdoom Amin Fahim, rather than Mr.Zardari, husband of Ms.Benazir. An overwhelming 75% wanted Mr.Fahim to be the candidate for the P.M. 23% favored Mr.Nawaz Shereiff while only 8% wanted Musharraf.
The chief results of TFT were:
(a) 24% of the respondents approved Osama Bin Laden, 18% supported Al-Queda and 19% supported Taliban.
(b) 36% favored PPP, 25.3% PML(N) and only 12% said they would vote for PML(Q).
(c) 70% favored Mr.Musharraf quitting immediately.
FAR AND AGAINST:
While the regime of Musharraf has raised its voice against the poll, Mr.Zardari welcomed the poll results. An unnamed Government Spokesman termed the surveys as an unfortunate attempt to distort the realities and misled the voters prior to the election. According to him, the polls were based on unrepresentative samples and requested agencies to exercise judgment before publishing the results which are biased.
On the other hand, Mr.Zardari welcomed the results stating that nothing except a massive rigging of the elections would halt the popularity of the PPP. Adding that People of Pakistan favored forces of change, he warned that the regime should read the writing on the wall and desist from rigging the elections. If they ignore this and indulge in such an exercise, the people of Pakistan would take to the streets and the basis for this observation by him was that 50% of the respondents had said that they would take to the streets if elections were rigged.