On Aug. 14, thousands of protestors headed toward Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad, led by the country’s opposition political leader Imran Khan and cleric Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and demanding the present Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.
The two leaders and their followers have sat in protest in the capital for more than two weeks now waiting for their demands to be met.
Pew’s research brings forward the following:
1- 64 percent of Pakistanis have a favorable opinion of the Prime Minister. That’s only 2 percent less than the 66 percent he got before last year’s elections.
2- Imran Khan’s ratings have slipped by 17 percent points over the past two years.
3- The country’s military got a stunningly high rating. A whopping 87 percent say the military has a good influence on the nation. In 2013, it got a 79 percent favorable opinion from the masses.
4- Lastly, the public mood is more positive than it has been in recent years. While people in Pakistan may not be entirely happy with things in their country, there is a 17 percent rise as the percentage grows from 8 percent in 2013 to 25 percent this year.
The survey also shows a satisfaction with the economy. The percentage saying the country’s economical conditions have improved more than doubled since last year- from 17 percent to 37 percent. About 36 percent showed expectations of the economy improving in the next 12 months.
The survey actually just reflects the following:
1- The current government has support from other political parties, especially in the country’s largest province, Punjab. Add to it the way the current protests are dealt with, and it really makes sense. No matter how allegedly corrupt the present government is, there has been no violence and no coercion on the thousands who are literally blocking the way to the Parliament House.
2- The politician leading the protests, Imran Khan, said to be the face of change, has let a lot of people down. He has not delivered much of what he promised. His recent debacle in the capital has also added to the downward slide of his popularity. He shows little progress and resorted to foul language and baseless claims and promises while his people sit on the streets day after day and night after night in sunshine and rain.
3- The role of the military, especially with respect to the operation against the militants and terrorists in the Northern areas of the country, which the common man generally supports. What’s more, had the military taken over the country during this time of political crises, as many expected it to, it would have seen a downward spiral in popularity; their refrain so far has strengthened their position.
What’s most ironic in all of this is how a man, Imran Khan, asking for the current prime minister to resign and promising to be the leader of positive change is so quickly losing ground.