September 08; A substantial 71% of Pakistan’s population says that holding Local Government elections nationwide are somewhat to very important. Only 27% of the country’s population believes that holding these elections is not very important or not important at all.
On the other hand, 65% of Pakistanis believe that elected Local Governments are somewhat to very important in solving the problems faced by Pakistani Citizens. Only 32% Pakistanis asserted that elected Local Governments are not important in resolving the problems faced by citizens.
These public views are part of a Nationwide Public Opinion Poll by PILDAT on assessing citizens’ views on Quality of Democracy in Pakistan during the 1styear of after the May 2013 General Election.
The survey results are released from a two-part PILDAT survey covering separately Quality of Governance and Quality of Democracy. While the public opinion scores on Quality of Governance survey were released on September 02, 2014, the public opinion poll scores on Quality of Democracy are being released today. The two-part public opinion survey was commissioned by PILDAT upon the completion of the 1st year of National and Provincial Assemblies and Governments in office in May 2014 to gauge public opinion across the country on quality of governance and democracy. The nationwide poll was conducted during July 16, 2014 to August 6, 2014. The Nationwide Poll was conceived and commissioned by PILDAT and conducted by Gallup Pakistan.
Overall, Pakistani public remains confident and optimistic about the democratic system in the country. When asked to assess performance on 11 core quality of democracy indicators during the past one year, there emerged5 positive Net Performance Ratings (NPR) on the following indicators:
i. Trust in Favourite Political Party (+33%)
ii. Independence of Media (+16%)
iii. Overall Quality of Democracy (+13%)
iv. Effectiveness of the Supreme Court (+2%)
v. Effectiveness of the National Assembly (+2%)
Of particular significance is the public’s positive rating on the Overall Quality of Democracy Indicator. This holistic indicator measures the public’s level of satisfaction, as well as their assessment of how well democracy is functioning in the country. This positive NPR is reflective of the growing and deepening attachment that the people of Pakistan have begun forming with a democratic system of governance.
Notwithstanding this overall positivity in democratic assessment, the 6 out of the 11 Indicators assessed in this public opinion poll received negative indicators:
i. Effectiveness of the Bureaucracy (-21%)
ii. Respect for Human Rights (-16%)
iii. Sovereignty (-13%)
iv. Effectiveness of the Federal Cabinet (-8%)
v. Transfers of Powers at the Provincial Level (-8%), and
vi. Constitutional Supremacy on Civil-Military Relations: (-3%)
This summary report presents an analysis of the public opinion obtained on core indicators on quality of democracy. The respondents for the survey included 3065 citizens from rural and urban areas from all the four provinces of Pakistan. They represented a cross section of young and old, middle and high income. The fieldwork for the report was done face to face in respondents’ homes. The sample is also based on a cross-section of various age, income, education and language groups of the population. Error margin is estimated to be approximately +3-5% at 95% confidence level.
Provincial scores from Balochistan and KP are somewhat similar in their positive and negative ratings on Quality of Democracy questions. Overall, people from Balochistan and KP hold positive opinions of the quality of democratic functioning nationwide. Respondents from both provinces registered their highest NPR on Trust in Political Parties (+64% in Balochistan, and +61% in KP). This strong positive NPR is indicative of the robust trust that political parties in each province have been able to generate.
Similarly, people from Balochistan and KP were equally positive in their assessment of the Overall Quality of Democracy in the country; Balochistan, with the NPR of +54% in fact provides the most favourable opinion on quality of democracy, followed by +31% in KP. Interestingly, the positive NPR by the people of KP (+31%) for the overall quality of democracy in the country was higher than that of Punjab (+19%).
Sindh has emerged as politically the most pessimistic jurisdiction in the country. In this Quality of Democracy assessment, the people of Sindh have given negative NPRs to democracy indicators nationwide.
Punjab has emerged as the province with the highest number of positive NPRs for the democratic system in the country. The people of Punjab gave the current democratic system positive ratings on 9 out of 11 assessed indicators.
The people of Punjab gave the highest NPR to Trust in Political Parties (+32%). The only negative NPR from the province was recorded on Effectiveness of the Bureaucracy (-8%).
Public Opinion Overwhelmingly Supports Democracy
A substantial 67% of the country’s population believes that democratically elected governments constitute the best system for Pakistan. Crucially, the popular appetite for another Army rule in the country remains low as only 19% Pakistanis see another military rule as the best system for the country.
While 63% of all Pakistanis believe that the General Election held in May 2013 was somewhat to completely transparent and fair, 37% respondents see the May 2013 Election as somewhat rigged to completely rigged.
An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis, 85% believe that it is critical that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s functions need to be reformed and reconfigured. In comparison, 67% people felt the need for electoral reforms in a poll upon the conclusion of 100 days of National and Provincial Governments in September 2013. This indicates that the movement for electoral reforms has made significant impact during the past 9 months.