Who’s Pakistan’s most popular leader today?

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.

5 thoughts on “Who’s Pakistan’s most popular leader today?”

  1. Thanks for the link.
    I wanted to add something. I agree that “bigger powers are being seen in a negative light by the citizens of the smaller power” and I think this is true with respect to mostly neighbors as it is neighbors who feel threatened. Ofcourse Pakistan feels threatened even by the USA and we know why!

Comments are closed.