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Democracy comes first with folks, says survey

The line graph shows the nationwide approval rating for satisfaction with overall quality of democracy during the last three years while the bar graph shows province wise approval rating for democracy after the completion of the third year of federal and provincial governments.
The line graph shows the nationwide approval rating for satisfaction with overall quality of democracy during the last three years while the bar graph shows province wise approval rating for democracy after the completion of the third year of federal and provincial governments.

ISLAMABAD: A majority of Pakistanis are found to be complacent with the democratic system in Pakistan – with the highest satisfaction level in Balochistan and the lowest in Sindh.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat), 54pc of the total respondents were found to be “highly satisfied” or “satisfied” with the quality of democracy in the country.

The “Public opinion poll” on the “Quality of democracy in Pakistan” was conducted by Pildat on the completion of the third year of the federal and provincial governments (June 2015-May 2016) and released on the International Day of Democracy on Thursday.

The findings show that the respondents from Sindh seemed to be least satisfied with the overall quality of democracy, with only 32pc of them looking favourably upon it.


Satisfaction level highest in Balochistan, lowest in Sindh; 28pc feel military best suited to govern country


This was followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 58pc, Punjab 61pc and Balochistan at 66pc.

When contacted, a senior Pildat official told Dawn that the nationwide poll was conducted from August 18 to September 5 with a representative sample size of 3,610 citizens throughout Pakistan.

Giving the provincewise break-up, he said the sample comprised 1,730 respondents from Punjab, 710 from Sindh, 610 from Balochistan and 560 from KP.

The findings of previous such surveys showed that public satisfaction has been fairly consistent over the first three years of the currently elected governments on the overall quality of democracy.

However, the proportion of the respondents is showing a slight decline.

The proportion of respondents, who were satisfied with the existing democratic system at the end of the second year of the elected governments in May 2015, stood at 58pc and at 55pc at the end of the first year in May 2014.

Support for the overall quality of democracy at the end of the third year was greater amongst urban section of the population.

As many as 58pc of the respondents from urban areas were found to be satisfied with the democratic system compared to 47pc of respondents from the rural areas.

Though satisfaction with the overall quality of democracy remains consistently positive, the favourable outlook with regards to democracy as a system of government has seen a decline of 11pc in three years, compared to the first year.

At the end of the third year, only 56pc of the nationwide respondents believed democracy to be the best system of government as compared to 67pc at the end of the first year and 64pc at the end of the second year.

A relative minority of 28pc of the respondents feel that the military is best suited to govern Pakistan. Over the course of three years since the 2013 elections, this proportion of respondents has risen by 9pc. It stood at 19pc at the end of the first year in May 2014, before rising to 20pc at the end of the second year in May 2015.

The survey results are from a two-part Pildat survey covering separately “the Quality of governance and quality of democracy.”

When contacted, political analyst Harris Khalique termed the findings mind boggling.

He said each federating unit was so diverse in terms of ethnicity and class that the provincial category of analysis would remain problematic.

“Also, if Balochistan is so satisfied with the current state of affairs, why the voter turnout remains terribly low there,” he said.

“But I am not surprised at the increase in people wanting the military administration. It is a product of the continuous media campaign maligning the political process and the rise in urban middle class that seeks a quick fix for deep-seated political problems.”

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2016

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