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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani media, Supreme Court and provincial autonomy have earned the general public applause in ‘Public Verdict on Democracy 2008-2013’ — a recent PILDAT-Gallup survey conducted this month.
However, the general public, after having five years of democracy, does not see credible prospects of fair elections. More than half of the population thinks the quality of democratic governance has deteriorated during the current government’s five years in power since 2008.
The survey did not touch upn the performance of the government and its allies, which would be a separate exercise. Instead, the focus of the survey was on the performance of democracy.
It delineated 10 indicators which dealt with the process of democracy, either directly or indirectly. The 10 indicators start with the mother of democratic governance in Pakistan parliament. The public verdict was sought on parliament’s effectiveness in performing its constitutional role.
Besides playing down the prospects of fair elections, the Public Verdict on Democracy has also voted negative regarding the ‘law observing civil executive; respect for human rights and protection of national sovereignty.’
Strangely, the effectiveness of the cabinet, democratic checks on military and effectiveness of parliament have been appreciated by the public in its verdict. The poll is based on a nationally representative survey of over 9,500 men (approximately 5,000) and women (approximately 4,500) who served as the jury for this judgment.
The jury comprised a cross-section of Pakistanis, most of them from the villages (approximately 6,700), others from towns, cities and large cities (approximately 2,800). Many of them were illiterate or little educated (50 percent), while others had middle or high school education and some were college and university educated. They hailed from the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.
The sample provides a nationally representative cross-section of various ages, education, linguistic and socioeconomic segments of the citizens of Pakistan. They were interviewed in person in their homes across the country during January and February 2013.