Despite Looming Corruption Charges, Support for Imran Khan Remains Strong


Tracking Global Events | 25 May 2023

On May 9, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested on corruption charges. Protests broke out across the country, resulting in numerous deaths and hundreds injured as supporters attacked and set fire to buildings. Thousands of Khan’s supporters and key members of Khan’s political party were arrested. Khan was later released on bail after the Supreme Court ruled that his arrest was illegal. Premise deployed a survey to better understand Pakistani sentiment on the political environment, Khan’s arrest, and subsequent protests.


  • 59% of respondents support former Prime Minister Imran Khan
  • Although a majority of respondents support Khan, only 42% of people support the protests that followed after the arrest of Khan
  • Two-thirds (66%) of respondents agree or strongly agree that Imran Khan should be allowed to run for Prime Minister.
  • Not only is Khan popular as a former PM, but the current government does not enjoy a high level of support. Less than a third of respondents (31%) support the current government.
  • The current Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, is similarly unpopular. Only 28% of Contributors surveyed support Sharif.
  • When asked how things are going for Pakistan overall, nearly two-thirds of Contributors (64%) responded, “Pakistan is going in the wrong direction.”
  • 50% of respondents are very concerned about political unrest, with an additional 28% somewhat concerned. Only 9% are not at all concerned.


Premise received 1000 responses across all provinces between May 22nd and 25th. The survey utilized a convenience sample, a type of nonprobability sampling that is hyper-efficient in dynamic events, involving the sample being drawn from the population ready to assist.

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