Pakistanis prefer instability to dictatorship: Survey

May 13th, 2009 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif Islamabad, May 13 (IANS) An overwhelming number of Pakistanis prefer the instability and insecurity of a democratically-elected government to stability and prosperity under a military dictatorship, a new survey has found.
Seventy-three percent of those surveyed by the International Republican Institute (IRI) said the army should have no role in a civilian government while 20 percent favoured a military dictatorship.

At the same time, 65 percent of the respondents favoured an army takeover “in emergencies when the government becomes too corrupt” or if it fails to govern.

Twenty-five percent said the army did not have the right to replace a civilian setup, while 5 percent said the military “can interfere whenever it wants”.

Some 53 percent said civilian leaders should have some control over the military, 19 percent favoured total control and 21 percent said there should no civilian control of the armed forces.

The randomly selected sample consisted of 3,500 adult men and women from 216 rural and 134 urban locations in 51 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. The margin of error does not exceed plus/minus 1.66 percent in 19 out of 20 cases, IRI said.

IRI has conducted surveys in Pakistan since 2002. The goal of the programme is to gauge public opinion and to use this information in IRI’s work with Pakistan’s political parties.

The survey also showed that 75 percent of the respondents favoured former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against a mere 17 percent who voted for President Asif Ali Zardari.

These two apart, among the choices respondents had were Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, radical Taliban-backed cleric Sufi Mohammad and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitulah Mehsud.

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