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A big majority of Pakistanis backs economic policies of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government that has seen the country's economy rebound from stagnation, an American newspaper said Wednesday, citing a recent extensive public survey.

A look at the public sentiment in Pakistan in light of the annual Pew Research Center survey reveals that the "ongoing demonstrations are hardly reflective of the views of most Pakistanis," the paper noted.

The assessment comes in the wake of a report in The New York Times (NYT) that said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) march is using brash tactics, which may be harmful for democracy.

According to the Post, the annual Pew Research Center survey of Pakistan, released this summer, "finds that 64 percent of residents have a favorable view of Nawaz Sharif, a solid rating that has essentially remained constant since Sharif's returned to power last year."

The report says important to Prime Minister Sharif's bid to hold off the demonstrators are Pakistanis' positive views about the economy that have risen dramatically over the past year.

About four in ten residents now have confidence in Pakistan's economy, compared to just 17 percent who felt that way last year.

Moreover, Pew notes that 36 percent of residents are optimistic that the economy will improve over the next year, twice as many who felt that way compared to last year.

Prime Minister Sharif has made improving Pakistan's stagnant economy a top priority, the paper notes, adding he has authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects and sought international assistance to try to tackle the country's chronic energy shortages, the paper said.

"Pakistanis are more satisfied with the direction of their country than they have been in six years," notes Pew poll that involved 1,203 face-to-face interviews, and was conducted in late April and early May -- two months before Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek parties mobilized their supporters to march on Islamabad.

"But the poll suggests that Nawaz Sharif began the summer with far more public support than (PTI leader Imran) Khan, whose party finished third in last year's election but alleges that it was fraudulent."

(Courtesy: APP)


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