Agence France-Presse reports on IRI Pakistan Poll

Majority in Pakistan wants Musharraf out: poll
Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Most Pakistanis want to see President Pervez Musharraf out of power, according to the first poll released since the general declared a state of emergency last month, US media said Thursday.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said he should resign immediately, according to the New York Times which cited a poll by the International Republican Institute, a conservative-leaning civic group based in Washington.

A full 70 percent judged that his government does not deserve re-election and two-thirds “expressed anger at the current state of affairs, desired change and were anti-Musharraf,” the institute said.

The results also appeared to show widespread discontent with the US-backed proposal of a power-sharing arrangement between Musharraf and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, with 60 percent opposing the idea.

A majority (58 percent) indicated they would prefer to see in power an opposition alliance composed of key anti-Musharraf figures including former premiers Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Only one-third were “supportive of President Musharraf and were positive about the condition of the country,” while 56 percent said the army should stay out of civilian government, it said.

Pakistan is holding its parliamentary elections on January 8 and Musharraf has promised to lift on Saturday a state of emergency imposed on November 3 which cracked down on opponents, rights activists, lawyers and the media.

Musharraf has already been re-elected to a second presidential term last month, but he could be prosecuted over the state of emergency if he does not secure a two-thirds majority of lawmakers.

The newspaper said it had obtained the poll results from the institute ahead of its official release later Thursday.

The IRI said it surveyed a random sample of 3,520 people across Pakistan, and the poll carried a margin of error of plus or minus 1.69 percentage points.

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