Deadly bombings will not trigger sympathy wave for Bhutto: Survey

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New Delhi, Oct 27 (UNI) Days after the botched murderous assault on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, most Pakistanis do not support her deal with President Pervez Musharraf and feel there is no perceptible sympathy wave in her favour, reveals a survey.

Conducted by Outlook-Gallup opinion poll in four Pakistani cities -- Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi -- the survey also revealed that an overwhelming number of Pakistanis think Gen Musharraf should either retire from public life or at least resign as Army Chief.

Majority of the respondents also felt that their country is headed in the wrong direction.

Ms Bhutto's cavalcade was targeted by bombers on October 19. She survived the deadly blasts, but over 130 people perished in the midnight carnage in Lahore.

Asked whether the failed assassination attempt on Ms Bhutto, who returned to the country after eight years in exile, would enhance her political fortunes, 58 per cent replied in the negative; 53 per cent said they were opposed to the Musharraf-Benazir deal, as against 35 per cent supporting it.

Further, 57 per cent thought that Ms Bhutto and her husband Asif Zardari were guilty of laundering slush funds to foreign banks.

Quizzed about the options Gen Musharraf should opt for, 50 per cent thought he should retire from public life; another 35 per cent wanted him to resign as the Army Chief but continue as President; and only 10 per cent preferred his continuing in both offices.

Despite Gen Musharraf's insistence that his presence is important to curb terrorism, 52 per cent rated democracy as the best antidote to the scourge and only 10 per cent thought that Army rule could be effective.

The survey pointed out that only ten per cent thought that equal partnership between the Army and democratically-elected civilian government could help.

While the majority of respondents showed their clamour for democracy, an overwhelming 82 per cent thought Pakistan was headed in the wrong direction. And it was not because of terrorism, for 69 per cent thought restoration of democracy was pakistan's most pressing need, as against 30 per cent who rated curbing of militancy as the country's priority number one.

Asked who among the leaders is best suited for Pakistan, 28 per cent in Karachi, 25 per cent in Lahore and 23 per cent in Rawalpindi-Islamabad backed Ms Bhutto; nine per cent in Kararchi, 49 per cent in Lahore and 35 per cent in Rawalpindi-Islamabad favoured Mr Nawaz Sharif; and 31 per cent in Karachi, seven per cent in Lahore and 14 per cent in Rawalpindi-Islamabad supported Gen Musharraf.

When asked which alliance they would vote for if an election were to be held tomorrow, 38 per cent in Karachi, 26 per cent in Lahore and 28 per cent in Rawalpindi-Islamabad mentioned a Benazir-led alliance.

For a Sharif-led alliance, it was 57 per cent in Lahore, 37 per cent in Rawalpindi-Islamabad, and only 14 per cent in Karachi.

Surprisingly, 32 per cent in Karachi and 25 per cent in Rawalpindi-Islamabad said they would vote neither.

UNI

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