Islamabad, Jan 22 :Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf intends to use his trip to Europe To display his resolve in fighting terrorism and to talk of investment opportunities, in his country, his aides have said.
According to the New York Times, however, there is a view that suggests that Musharraf's strength as a ruler over the past eight years - national stability and security, with an army capable of withstanding the insurgency, and a flourishing economy - are being severely challenged.
In a public opinion poll by Gallup Pakistan this month, 68 percent of some 1,300 respondents who were asked in random, face-to-face interviews whether Musharraf should resign or stay, and most said he should go.
Politicians backing Musharraf say that his popularity among all classes of Pakistanis has plummeted to its lowest point yet, damaged by missteps starting nearly a year ago when he fired the Supreme Court Chief Justice.
They said he was hurt further by his imposition of six weeks of emergency rule late in the year, and by the arrests of thousands of critics, most of them now freed.
Support for Musharraf within the army, which is considered Pakistan's most important institution and is also under growing pressure from the ongoing insurgency in Pakistan's tribal areas, but the army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, is not expected to abandon him in the short term, diplomats in Islamabad said.
Overall, Musharraf faces opposition led by the elite of society - doctors, engineers, lawyers - a challenge different from the traditional opposition in Pakistan, which comes from the streets,, said Ijaz Shafi Gilani, chairman of Gallup Pakistan.
Major business leaders, though, still support Musharraf, a result of the strong economic growth that has benefited them, if not the average Pakistani, said Wamiq Zuberi, chief editor of The Business Recorder.
Analysts also contend that Bhutto's assassination on December 27 has caused widespread resentment of Musharraf, and that many Pakistanis blame the government for her death.
The Daily Times, a major Pakistani newspaper, suggested in an editorial that it is time for Musharraf to make his exit.