Osama Bin Laden, it turns out.
A poll by Terror Free Tomorrow (via Chapati Mystery) reveals just how much America’s strategy of shoring up Gen Musharraf as a FATWAT has failed. Bin Laden is more popular Gen Musharraf, a majority of people supports Taleban (38%) and local jihadi groups (37-49%) and more people think implementing a strict sharia law is more important (41%) than defeating al-Qaeda and the Taleban (18%).
There’s more. Fifty-three percent of Pakistanis think free elections, media and judiciary is important. Little wonder than that 72% of all Pakistanis now disapprove of the United States. The singular effect of the Bush administration’s shoring up of Musharraf has been to push the pro-democracy segments into the same anti-American space as the Islamists.
On the other hand 84% and 90% of Pakistanis had favourable opinions of China and Saudi Arabia (this was before the Nawaz Sharif drama) respectively.
Interestingly, about 66% of the respondents were evenly split between being having somewhat favourable and somewhat unfavourable opinions of India. But at the extremes, more than twice as many Pakistanis had a very unfavourable opinion towards India (13.9%) compared to very a very favourable one (6.3%). And 50% of respondents felt that resolving Kashmir was an important priority (next only to having democracy). And if Osama ruled the hearts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (15.1%) came second to President Bush (8.8%) plumbed the depths of unpopularity.
Related Post: Nita Writer takes a look at the Pew Global Attitudes poll and finds that Asian countries have a poor attitude towards their neighbours. The reason may have to do (and this is just a guess) with bigger powers being seen in a negative light by the citizens of the smaller power.