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The Chief Justice Crisis


The crisis which occurred over the Chief Justice issue shook the entire country. While the subject was still under heavy discussions and debates, Gallup Pakistan conducted surveys and polls to gauge the opinions of the masses.
The significance of the matter can be judged from the fact 82% of the people had heard about this issue and 58% had read about it.70% of Gallup’s respondents strongly believed that the Chief Justice issue had defamed the government and 58% were of the opinion that the courts had been dishonored by this action. 19% considered this action as necessary for justice and 23% stated that did not know.
Only 17% were of the view that the President had made the correct decision in this regard. In contrast, 56% considered this decision to be incorrect and 27% said that they did not know. These views were reflected in another question put forward in March 2007, in reply to which, 8% rated the President’s decision as very good, 20% considered it as good, 30% viewed it as average, 26% thought it was very bad and 15% believed that it was very bad.
Similarly, 55% of the people believed that the allegations that had been leveled against the Chief Justice were wrong while only 16% viewed them as correct. 29%, however, said that they did not know. 53% of the respondents also described the President’s decision as a misuse of power. Comparatively, 20% disagreed with this claim while 29% did not offer a definite response. On the other hand, when asked about the Chief Justice’s performance as judge, 38% described it as good, 41% said that it was average, 14% believed that it was bad and 7% said that they were uncertain.
The respondents were also questioned about the protests that were held by the opposition and the lawyers. 49% of those questioned felt that the legal community and the opposition was doing the right thing by conducting strikes and rallies while 25% viewed these protests as wrong. 26% did not offer an opinion. 8% of the people viewed the opposition parties’ performance in this regard as very good, 26% labeled it as very good, 40% described it as average, 15% said that it was bad and 9% asserted that it was very bad. 48% also supported the lawyers’ and judges’ decision to resign. 28% were not in favor of their resignation and once again, 25% of those questioned said that they did not know. While 27% of the respondents were confident about the government ability to control these protests, 45% were not so sure. 28% did not offer a definite response.
In the survey, 32% of the people predicted that the Chief Justice would win in this clash, 38% were of the opinion that the government would be successful and 30% said that they did not know. 57% also believed that if the government wins, it will be very disgraceful for the courts as compared to 13% of the respondents who did not think so. When questioned about the likely consequences of this event, 59% strongly felt that it would weaken the judiciary, 15% thought that it would become stronger and 24% predicted that there would be no change in the position and power of the judiciary.
These surveys and polls were conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of Gallup International, on a sample of over 1100 respondents in urban areas of all four provinces of Pakistan. This sample was statistically selected across all ages, income groups and educational levels. The error for a sample of this kind is estimated to be +/- 5% at a 95% confidence level.