88% Pakistanis say country headed in wrong direction: IRI survey

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73% say their personal economic situation improved in past year
 PPP govt’s unfavourable rating close to previous govt’s in January

LAHORE: A recent International Republican Institute survey shows a high degree of pessimism and discontent in Pakistan, with 88 percent of respondents saying their country was headed in the wrong direction.

Only 11 percent said Pakistan was headed in the right direction. The rating is slightly worse than the sentiment in January 2008, shortly before the elections.

Seventy-three percent Pakistanis said their personal economic situation improved in 2008, 12 percent said it worsened, and 14 percent said that it remained the same. But 59 percent said they felt their economic situation would worsen during the upcoming year, compared with 46 percent in a June 2008 poll and 48 percent in a January 2008 poll.

The poll, conducted in October 2008, also saw an increase in the number of people that felt less secure this year than they did last year, rising from 15 percent in June 2008 to 78 percent. The high of 85 percent occurred in January 2008 after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the resulting violence.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government is bearing the brunt of this discontent. The poll witnessed a dramatic decline in rating across the board.

Asked how the government has performed on issues important to them, 21 percent responded positively and 76 percent negatively. This is approaching the 80 percent negative rating the last government received shortly before the February 2008 elections.

Asked to rate various institutions, 31 percent of respondents said that they had a favourable impression of the government, a 54-point drop from the 85 percent favourable rating it received in June 2008. The previous government had a 29 percent favourable rating in January 2008. Source: Daily Times, 20/12/2008

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