LAHORE (The Thursday Times) — The return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan’s political arena has stirred optimism among the electorate, favoring his party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), ahead of the upcoming elections, according to a recent Gallup Pakistan poll conducted on October 22, 2023. The results unveiled a populace largely receptive to Sharif’s return, with many viewing him as a potential catalyst for political and economic stability.
The survey employed a phone-based methodology, engaging a diverse sample of 1,000 men and women spread across nearly 100 districts in four provinces, a day after Sharif’s address at Minar-e-Pakistan. The findings provide an insight into the nation’s political pulse, revealing a significant awareness and approval of Sharif’s return among the respondents.
Key takeaways from the poll include:
- A substantial 75% of adults were informed about Sharif’s return, underscoring the event’s wide public outreach.
- Sharif’s speech at Minar-e-Pakistan resonated with nearly a third of the adults surveyed, translating to an audience of about 40 million nationwide.
- An overwhelming 80% of those who heard the speech expressed a positive reception, reflecting a noteworthy approval of Sharif’s message.
- Half of the respondents perceived Sharif’s return as a positive development for Pakistan, reflecting a sense of hope amid prevailing challenges.
- Notably, 51% believed that Sharif’s presence would bolster PML-N’s chances in the forthcoming elections, depicting a shift in electoral inclinations.
- The sentiment for political unity was evident as 70% advocated for reconciliation and cooperation between Sharif and other political leaders, notably PTI Chief Imran Khan, to navigate the country through its current predicaments.
- The survey also hinted at a speculative political landscape with 40% suspecting Sharif’s return was orchestrated under a certain deal, although a significant 34% remained uncertain.
- Addressing the economic quandary, 30% of respondents saw Sharif as a capable leader to steer the nation out of the crisis, with Imran Khan following at 22%.
Moreover, the poll shed light on a significant concern, as 30% believed that no current political leader is equipped to alleviate the economic crisis, highlighting a prevalent skepticism amidst the economic turmoil. In the same vein, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto was seen as a potential crisis mitigator by a meager 4% of the respondents, indicating a somewhat narrowed political confidence.