Conflict and Polling in Pakistan

In a new poll released on Friday by World Public Opinion, the PPP’s Benazir Bhutto enjoyed a narrow plurality of support among Pakistanis over both President Pervez Musharraf and exiled opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, while a majority supported both Bhutto and Sharif’s return to Pakistan to stand for election.

International Crisis Group has just released a report on the conflict between the Pakistani military and Baloch nationalists in resource-rich southwest Pakistan, stating that “instead of redressing Baloch political and economic grievances, the military is determined to impose state control through force” and by using Pashtun Islamist parties to counter the Baloch autonomy movement. The report states that “whether or not free and fair national and provincial elections are held later this year or in early 2008 will determine whether the conflict worsens.”