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 on 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 Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician 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 percent 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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Comments (1)

YOUSUF HUSSAIN
May 8, 2013 9:15 am

Please do not make the survey, I know how these survey are make,when IJI made these types of survey were made,and that PPP has got only one national Assemly seat from Punjab and that was unacceptable to the peoples but survey indicate manipulation of election results.PPP vote is solid vote and that vote not needs your survey. Recently the Transparecy had made the survey in which he mentioned that Shabaz sharif did good job in punjab and all project were carryout according to procedures and that report was prepare by Mr.Saif-ur-Rehman,if you can not give correct figures,do not waste money and time , give this money for charity.

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