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We don't want Mush, most Pakistanis say in a poll

Reuters
Feb 15, 2008 at 04:45pm IST

Washington: Almost two-thirds of Pakistanis say the prompt resignation of President Pervez Musharraf would improve security, while less than a third view his November election as valid, a BBC poll said on Wednesday.

The BBC World Service/Gallup Pakistan poll, conducted in late January, also found 63 percent of Pakistanis said the National Assembly should reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court following the February 18 general election.

Musharraf's sacking of Chaudhry last March touched off months of political tensions in the nuclear-armed South Asian state that analysts said has weakened Musharraf, a US ally in fighting Islamic extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

GENERAL OPINION: BBC's poll found 64 % Pakistanis think security would improve if Musharraf resigns.

The survey, in which 1,476 citizens across Pakistan were interviewed in their homes, showed that 64 percent said stability and security in Pakistan would improve "if President Musharraf were to resign now," the pollsters said. Just 25 percent said the departure of Musharraf, Pakistan's ruler since a 1999 bloodless coup, would make things worse, they said.

Musharraf, an army general, was elected president in November. But just 29 percent of those polled regard that election as valid while 49 percent say it is invalid, the pollsters said.

Pakistanis were divided on whether the February 18 general elections, meant to complete a transition to civilian rule in Pakistan, would be free and fair.

The pollsters said 11 percent said they were "very confident" next week's vote would be free and fair, 33 percent called themselves "somewhat confident," while 27 percent said they were "not very confident" and 19 percent said they were not at all confident in the fairness of the contests. The survey did not cite a margin of error.

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