According to a poll conducted by the U.S -based International Republican Institute (IRI), about 54.2 percent of the people of Pakistan approve of the way President General Pervez Musharraf is doing his job.
By any internationally recognized standards, this is a very healthy position to be in. In a country where over 70% vote bank is acknowledged to be divided between popular political parties of various shades and creeds, to enjoy the support of over 50% of the masses, after an incumbency of over seven years, is no mean distinction.
If this poll is accepted as genuine, and truly reflective of the ground realities, and if it is presumed that no major shift has occurred in the public opinion after March 7, 2007 when this poll was concluded, President Pervez Musharraf has very credible reasons to call it a day as far as his Generalship is concerned, and transform the weight of his Presidency from the power of his uniform to the power of his popularity.
Important in this context is going to be the amount of ‘trust’ President Musharraf may himself like to invest in the credibility of this poll. Probably he too, like most of the people of Pakistan may not be aware of how, where and through which mechanism this poll was conducted. Secondly the purpose and the intentions behind publicizing the findings of this poll can at best be regarded as mysterious and unknown. Thirdly and most importantly, this poll is said to have been completed two days before the present judicial crisis was ignited (with the administration’s failed bid to get rid of the Judiciary’s top boss, the easiest and simplest possible way). Meaning there by that the poll does not take into account the possible fallout of the CJP – issue.
Most leaders of the ruling alliance may want to make the President believe that the judicial crisis triggered by the ‘9/3’ action has, far from having a negative effect on his popularity, has actually endeared him to the hearts of the masses (brutalized less by the callousness of the Administration than by the apathy of the Judiciary!)
But in this respect some pollster will have to stand up and tell the President:
“All our endeavours in the direction of gauging your popularity sir, indicate that those who want to depend upon the power of your uniform for their survival, are infinitely more unpopular than your own good self. Your popularity may infact shoot up if you simply stop listening to their advice.”