Pakistanis want Mush to resign, believe polls would be fair

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London, Feb 14: A majority of Pakistanis see President Pervez Musharraf as an "obstacle" to stability in the country while many believe that the February 18 elections would be free and fair.

A survey conducted by BBC World Service poll suggested support for the former military ruler has declined dramatically and a significant percentage of those polled view his re-election as "invalid". The findings were in consonance with the poll conducted earlier this week by a US-based non-profit organisation International Republican Institute, which predicted that days ahead of the crucial elections in the country support for the President was at bottom low.

Ever since the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December, there has been a backlash against Gen (retd) Musharraf and a corresponding wave of sympathy for opposition parties, specially Bhutto's PPP.

Also, the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his confrontation with the judiciary has made a dent in popular support for Gen Musharraf. A nationally representative sample of 1,476 Pakistani adults were polled for the survey from 27 to 28 January on behalf of BBC Urdu.

Most of them thought that the new National Assembly should reinstate Justice Chaudhry. Only 15 per cent of people asked said they approved of the job President Musharraf was doing, while 72 disapproved. Three-quarters of the people asked said they would like him to resign.

UNI

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