A fresh survey says that people in Pakistan are losing trust in the government about their future with majority saying that the government is heading towards the wrong direction.
The “Perception, Performance” quarterly survey conducted this month says that price hikes and unemployment are the major issues faced by the people.
In a previous survey, almost half of respondents (49%) reported that year 2019 was positive for them and their families, whereas more than one-third (37%) reported negatively as compared to 2018 – in which 14% reported negatively compared with 2017.
When the same question was asked in the 2020 survey, 39% of the respondents were optimistic, 28% were pessimistic, and 8% did not expect any change from 2019.
Interestingly, 25% declined to give an answer.
Almost everyone (99%) is effected from price hikes.
A majority (61%) of the respondents believe that economically, the country is heading in the wrong direction.
In January 2020, inflation was ranked as the gravest issue by 44% of the respondents, which is 18% higher than in April 2019 (26%).
As many as 28% said unemployment is the major issue; this percentage is 8% higher than it was in 2019 (20%).
Overall almost one-third of the respondents (29%) claimed that their current monthly income meets their expenses.
This phenomenon has been reported when respondents from higher socio-economic classes were engaged.
However, when asked about savings, more than 70% of the respondents reported that they failed to save any money.
The majority (71%) reported that they are unable to meet their monthly expenses; to manage, they do the following: 37% borrow money (people from lower strata of society), 35% do part time jobs (this phenomenon prevails in all classes), while 27% cut their expenses (this happens in higher socio-economic classes).
The survey also suggest that the government is losing it support in its narrative against opposition, improvement claims and policies.
Compared to November 2018 (54%) there is a depreciation of confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan about the “decline in corruption”.
In January 2020, only 25% were of the opinion that “corruption” has declined.
For the first time in the past year – respondents are not “buying” the government’s narrative of blaming previous regimes about current economic challenges.
In October 2019, more than half (58%) of the respondents supported the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government narrative.
Presently, that support has dropped to 38%.
A majority (77%) have the opinion that the government has failed to bring back “looted” money from abroad.
Satisfaction also declined on government’s policies on the Kashmir issue as well – in October 61% of the respondents were satisfied with the government’s stand; - now 53% are dissatisfied.
Almost six among 10 respondents (57%) are not satisfied with Prime Minister Khan’s overall performance.
In comparison with the last survey conducted in October 2019 (just after Khan’s speech at the UN over Kashmir), dissatisfaction increased by 19% (from 38% to 57%), whereas in the January 2020 survey, satisfaction dropped by 24% (from 49% to 25%).
In January 2020, the Usman Buzdar-led government in Punjab severely lost in terms of the satisfaction level, by 18% (from 39% to 21%).
On the other hand, the dissatisfaction level increased by 19% – from 42% (in October 2019) to 61%.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 33% of respondents said they were satisfied with the provincial government’s performance; this is 11% less from the previous year’s survey result, i.e. 44%.
The dissatisfaction level of KP residents on Mahmood Khan’s government increased by 18% (from 29% to 47%).
Dissatisfaction with the Syed Murad Ali Shah-led Sindh government increased by 12% (54% to 66%), and the satisfaction level dropped by 9% (27% to 18%).
With the increase of 11%, dissatisfaction with Jam Kamal’s Baluchistan government is at 66%.
There is sharp decline of 26% in satisfaction levels – from 34% to just 8% – the highest of any province.
According to the survey, the dissatisfaction level with the performance of four major ministries is rising.
Almost half – 46% – are not satisfied with the performance of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while 27% are satisfied.
More than half – 55% – are not pleased with the performance of Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, while 22% are satisfied.
Fifty-four per cent are not content with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s performance, while 18% say he is doing well.
The dissatisfaction level at Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan’s performance is at 59%, while 17% are satisfied.
The majority of the respondents of the 2020 survey (45%) believe that former premier Nawaz Sharif will not return to Pakistan, whereas 39% have the opposite opinion.
Almost half (49%) believe that his illness could be treated in Pakistan.
Almost half (49%) have opinion that Maryam Nawaz should not be allowed to go abroad.
Forty-four per cent also believe that the award of bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari and the permission to Sharif for treatment in London were a part of a secret deal between the government and opposition.
A majority (51%) have the opinion that the army chief should get the extension.
Interestingly, 42% have no opinion or are not aware of the amendment to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance, while whereas 40% believe that this was done to protect vested interests in the Peshawar metro and other projects.
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