65 pc Pakistanis want Gilani to resign after his conviction

65 pc Pakistanis want Gilani to resign after his conviction

Sixty-five per cent of Pakistanis want Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to resign after his conviction of contempt by the Supreme Court, according to a poll conducted by a leading media group.

The poll conducted by Geo news channel said the apex court's verdict had resulted in mixed views among the people, with 36 per cent saying they were happy about it, 32 per cent expressing sadness and 31 per cent saying they were unsure.

Nearly 50 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of the court’s decision, while 38 per cent said they were opposed to it. Geo is part of the Jang group, which has been behind a campaign calling for the resignation of Gilani following his conviction of contempt last month for refusing to revive graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The court gave him a symbolic sentence of less than a minute. Gilani has refused to quit, saying only the Speaker of the National Assembly can disqualify him. The news channel said its "nationally representative poll" covered some 2,500 men and women. It did not say when or where the survey was conducted.

Geo contended that respondents who said they would have "rejoiced" if the apex court had ordered a stricter sentence of six months and put Gilani behind bars was 40 per cent.

Six per cent said they would have protested if the punishment was six months in prison. A section of respondents believed Zardari carried a "greater burden of guilt" in the graft cases – 28 per cent believed he is more to blame, compared with 17 per cent who blamed Gilani and 40 per cent who considered them equally guilty.

The Supreme Court enjoyed a high level of popular support, according to the poll. However, its popular support came at the cost of inviting controversy. Forty-five per cent said their positive view or appreciation of the Supreme Court had increased as a result of the conviction of the premier.

However, 26 per cent said their view of the court has been tarnished on the same grounds. While 61 per cent believed the court is performing a good job by taking up a range of public interest cases, 20 per cent believed it "oversteps its mandate".

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