Imran Khan dominates Gallup poll with 61% approval rating

A new survey reveals that PTI chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan is Pakistan’s most popular politician by far.

The results come at a crucial moment for Khan, who is pressing for elections and faces the threat of arrest just months after a failed assassination bid.

The poll, conducted by the authoritative Gallup Pakistan in the first three weeks of February, finds that 61 per cent of Pakistanis view Khan favourably, compared to just 36 per cent respectively for his chief rivals, the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the current foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Khan was removed from power last April in a vote of no confidence. Khan alleged US involvement in his removal, which he’s termed a “regime change” operation.

The majority 61% want Nawaz Sharif to return. 91% of PMLN voters also want him to return

Curiously, the Gallup Pakistan survey asked respondents whether they would support a new party made of “honest” politicians and “technocrats” — the type of political engineering advocated by the army from time to time. A slight majority — 53 per cent — said they would support such a setup.

The responses suggest many in Pakistan — including a majority in Khan’s base of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — are tiring of the country’s combative politics. But the economic policy choices any government would have to make require genuine public support — something an “apolitical setup” likely cannot sustain.

The danger for Pakistan in the months ahead is that its rulers could set the house on fire just to keep Khan out of power. As economic and security conditions in the country plummet, it seems as if they already have.

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