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> PILDAT Reviews the State of Democracy in Pakistan

PILDAT Releases Annual Report on the Evaluation of the National Assembly; State of Governance and Analysis of Public Opinions 2008-2009

   
 
Roundtable Discussion
April 03, 2009
Islamabad


Evaluation of Parliament 2008-2009 [PDF]
Democracy and Good Governance [PDF]
Weak State Strong Nation [PDF]
   

Islamabad, April 03: In an annual State of Democracy review, PILDAT has issued 3 separate reports covering evaluation of the National Assembly of Pakistan, State of Governance during 2008-2009 and an Analysis of the Public Opinions during 2008-2009.

 
 

The three PILDAT publications cover the period between March 2008 to March 2009, coinciding with the first year of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan from March 17, 2008 - March 16, 2009. The publications are titled:

 
 

  1. PILDAT Evaluation of the National Assembly of Pakistan: 2008-2009
  2. PILDAT Background Paper: Politics of Democracy and of Good Governance in Pakistan, Authored by Mr. Akbar Zaidi, Economist
  3. PILDAT Survey of Surveys 2008-2009: Weak State Strong Nation, Compiled by Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Chairman Gallup, Pakistan

 
 

The first report, an Evaluation of the National Assembly of Pakistan: 2008-2009 has been prepared using the Parliamentary Evaluation Framework prepared by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the international organisation of Parliaments of sovereign states. As a result of the evaluation, the National Assembly of Pakistan received an overall 48 % score. Earlier PILDAT had issued a Citizens’ Report on the Performance of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan: the First Parliamentary Year: March 17, 2008-March 16, 2009.

 
 

This is the first time in Pakistan that such an evaluation has been carried out using an international framework and this year’s evaluation is meant to serve as a baseline. The evaluation was carried out by a diverse group of Pakistani citizens including Members of the National Assembly, Political Scientists and Analysts, Parliamentary Reporters and Media Persons, etc., based on a total of 48 questions grouped under the following six topics:

 
 

  1. The Representativeness of Parliament
  2. Parliamentary Oversight over the Executive Parliament’s Legislative Capacity
  3. The Transparency and Accessibility of Parliament
  4. The Accountability of Parliament
  5. Parliament’s Involvement in International Policy

 
 

The PILDAT Background Paper on Politics of Democracy and of Good Governance in Pakistan, Authored by Mr. Akbar Zaidi, Economist, argues that although given the circumstances in which the current government emerged and took over power following nine years of military rule, and given Pakistan’s accumulated problems, there have been very clear governance failures at the macro level during the first year of government, where better and more effective management could have resulted in better policy. Moreover, failures on the democratic agenda, have made both governance and democracy weaker. A key argument in this paper has been that politics dominates both governance and democracy, particularly in the context of Pakistan where the military, and increasingly ‘jihadi’ outfits, call the shots. The politics of the military, the politics of jihadis, and the politics of political parties and democrats, as well as now increasingly, civil society and social movements, give contradictory trends to the balance between governance and democracy. The roadmap in following a good governance agenda will not be found in a good governance handbook but, as Pakistan’s example highlights, through the interaction of democracy and politics under specific and particular conditions.

 
 

The PILDAT Survey of Surveys 2008-2009: Weak State Strong Nation, Compiled by Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Chairman Gallup, Pakistan is based on Public Opinion Surveys conducted during 2008-09 by Gallup Pakistan, the International Republican Institute (IRI) IRI and other polling organizations. In giving the analysis of surveys looking at the performance of the government during its first year and performance of the state institutions, Dr. Gilani argues that there seems to be emerging an interesting trend that “those of us living in Pakistan are beginning to experience a weaker state but perhaps a stronger nation." The capability and authority of the government and by extension the state has faced serious set-backs. Alongside, however, the society is showing signs of greater cohesiveness through shared concerns and threat perceptions, as well as higher capability for social action resulting from a more vibrant civil society which is led somewhat amorphously by persons who are more numerous than in the past and come from a wider range of backgrounds and perspectives. At the same time they appear to be men and women of higher ability and integrity than Pakistani society has seen in the recent past. An increasingly empowered and more cohesive society finds itself at odds with the authority of the state. Trust in state institutions has declined while trust in civil society institutions including independent media has risen.

 
 

The three key publications are to be unveiled today at the PILDAT Roundtable Discussion on State of Democracy in Pakistan.