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The Dawn/Pakistan

Published Date: Jun 7, 2014

Public gives thumbs down to govt. performance: Survey

More than three quarters of the
public regard the federal government’s performance so far as no better than
average, an opinion survey conducted by the Herald in partnership with the
Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute reveals.

The survey, conducted as the
Sharif-led government completes its first year in power, engaged 1354
respondents from across all four provinces and revealed a public not just
disillusioned but also deeply divided on key political issues of the day.

Respondents from Sindh exhibit the greatest antipathy towards the
federal government, with 26.52 per cent terming its performance ‘very
poor’, the lowest ranking available. Equally disdainful of the state of
affairs in their own province, 25.24 Sindh-based respondents deem the
performance of the Qaim Ali Shah government as also ‘very poor’. 

The performance of the Punjab
government is regarded as the most effective among provincial governments by
65.73 per cent of all respondents, followed by that of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at
16.54 per cent. Only 2.44 per cent of all respondents regarded the Balochistan
government’s performance as the best. Within the province itself, however, the
number of respondents who view their provincial government’s performance as being
the best is significantly higher at 15.38 per cent.

Almost 50 per cent of all
respondents regard Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to have been the most
effective chief executive in the past year, followed by Chief Minister Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak (15.36 per cent) and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah
(11.15 per cent). Only 10.49 per cent of respondents regard Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif to have been the most effective chief executive in the past year.



A plurality (45.72 per cent) of respondents from across the
country also believes that the ruling party at the centre has completely failed
to fulfill its election promises, with a similar number (42.02 per cent)
believing the same of the party at the helm of their respective provinces.

Reflective of this disillusionment and perhaps in line with
the anti-incumbency sentiment exhibited during the previous general election,
respondents say they will vote differently were elections to be held tomorrow.
Survey results indicate that the top three parties at the federal level, were
elections to be held immediately, would be the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, the
Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — in exactly this

According to the survey findings, there appears to be no
consensus on specific political issues of concern to the country at
present—such as the decision to engage in talks with the Taliban and to try
General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. On the former, 34 per cent of all respondents
favour negotiations whereas 29 per cent are against this mode of engagement with
the Taliban; a further 32.87 per cent admit that their views on the matter are
mixed. The greatest degree of support for negotiations is recorded among
respondents from Balochistan (40 per cent) and Punjab (38.35 per cent).

Forty-seven per cent of respondents
disapprove of the government’s decision to try Musharraf while 35.75 per cent
are in favour of doing so. The highest degree of support for the trial is
recorded among the Baloch and Pashto-speakers (59.18 and 57.89 per cent
respectively) whereas an overwhelming majority of Urdu speakers (81.44 per
cent) disapproves of it.

A plurality of respondents believes
that relations between the government and the judiciary have improved during the
tenure of the current federal government but civil-military relations have
deteriorated during the same period of time.

The opinion survey, conducted during
the month of May, employs a sampling methodology that closely reflects
nationwide demographic trends, including those pertaining to gender, ethnicity,
age and rural-urban divide. The survey sample also takes into account a variety
of income groups and educational levels.