ISLAMABAD - More Pakistanis than Indians favour cooperative relations between Islamabad and New Delhi but both the people consider either State the “least friendly” country, said a survey released by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT).
The nation-wide survey conducted by PILDAT with the support and assistance of Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and in cooperation with the Centre of the Study of Developing Sciences (CSDS) Delhi, to measure various trends in both countries on democracy, trust of the people in various State institutions, their expectations of their elected representatives and impact of television and newspapers. According to survey, 33 per cent Pakistani people think India is a friendly country while only 11 per cent Indian people said Pakistan was a friendly country. When Pakistanis were asked the question about China 96 per cent responded China was the “friendliest” country to Pakistan while 77 per cent regarded Bangladesh as friendly country.
The “Views on State Democracy in South Asia: 2013” Pakistan Report was jointly launched by Danish Ambassador to Islamabad Jesper Moller Sorensen and PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehmood at local hotel where experts on the subject and Parliamentarians expressed their views on the report.
“Indian Report” was released by Director CSDS Sanjay Kumar who especially flew here to do the job. The Danish Ambassador on the occasion also launched a $ 3.5 million programme for Pakistan on democratic development and good governance in joint collaboration with the civil society organisation PILDAT.
In his brief remarks, the Ambassador said democracy was heart of Danish assistance as it was pursuing human rights approach to development because social and economic rights of the people could not be separated.
“Our programme has a special focus on instilling democratic values in the youth through the Youth Parliament programme. Under this programme, young people from across the country are trained in the values of democracy. This creates understanding, respect and tolerance for other people’s opinions - besides being an innovative approach to engage youth in such an important process” said the envoy, adding, that was needed to empower the people. When people were asked how much are they satisfied with functioning of democracy in Pakistan, 53 per cent they were “satisfied” which showed an increase of 21 per cent in satisfaction with democracy.
Sanjay Kumar said 55 per Indian people were satisfied with democracy while 33 per were dissatisfied, adding, 62 per cent male while 54 per cent female were satisfied with the functioning democracy. In Pakistan, 56 male were satisfied while 50 per women were satisfied with functioning of democracy.
Interestingly 54 per cent Indian people did not know what the meaning of democracy is, he added. In his remarks Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director of PILDAT said that many Pakistanis were rightly proud of the elections in 2013, where one democratically elected govt succeeded another. “Yet democracy is still fragile, so we must continuously keep an eye on the political development and make demands to our politicians to consolidate democracy. Even more citizens from all parts of society should actively participate in the democratic processes. The citizens need better information about the government’s policies and practices to hold them responsible. We are delighted that Denmark supports our work,” said Mehboob.
Speaking on the occasion defence analysts, Dr. Hassan Rizvi said it was encouraging that support for democracy in Pakistan was increasing.
Dr. Ejaz Shafi Gilani in his remarks said it was satisfying to observe that the support for democracy in Pakistan was higher than a decade ago. He said the support for representative government in Pakistan was 78 per cent while in India it was 86 per cent.