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Only 2 in 10 Pakistanis have confidence in government

February 15, 2013 13:51 IST

Public confidence in the Pakistani national government, which is seen by Pakistanis as too cozy to the US government, has nosedived, reaching a low of 23 percent in March and October 2012, a new US Survey has found.

The Gallup Poll found that the public confidence was down from 54 per cent in December 2008, shortly after the democratically elected President Asif Ali Zardari's administration begun.

The trust in civilian government in recent years was the highest in 2006, which was at 58 percent, dropped slightly to 54 percent in 2008, almost halved to 31 percent in 2010 and fell to 23 percent in 2012, Dawn News reports.

Conversely, confidence in the interventionist military, the organization that has ruled the nation for over half of its post-independence history, climbed to 88 percent in October 2012.

The confidence in the military stood at 84 percent in 2006, came down to 76 percent, the lowest in recent years, by the end of 2008, climbed to 80 percent by mid-2012 and peaked to 88 percent in 2012.

According to the report, the surveyors predict that the upcoming elections in Pakistan in May will be of "seismic importance for the future direction of the country and for US-Pakistan relations".

The elections will mark the first time in the country's history that a civilian government peacefully transfers power to a new civilian government.

The surveyors said that 'the degree to which the US-conducted operations within Pakistan have weakened the political position of the existing Pakistani government is an open question.'

They added that Pakistanis have put their trust in the military, despite its 'meddlesome history in national governing affairs'.

They said that what these trends mean for the coming election is unclear, but they suggest that the next few months could be of vital importance for the stability of the Pakistani government and the US-Pakistani relationship, the report added.

The survey pointed out that President Barack Obama's first term was characterized by strained relations between Pakistan and the US.

Consequently, more than nine in 10 Pakistanis, 92 per cent, disapprove of US leadership and 4 percent approve, the lowest approval rating ever.

Pakistanis' approval of the leadership of their ostensible ally, the United States, has historically been quite low.

However, perceptions began to change, albeit modestly, through much of Obama's first term. As recently as May 2011, 27 percent of Pakistanis approved of US leadership, the apex of support.

Noticeably, approval declined after the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, an event that many Pakistanis viewed as a blatant disregard for Pakistani sovereignty.

Concurrently, the survey found that Pakistanis now more than at any other time in the past three years feel threatened by interaction with the West.

Source: ANI