FAFEN Survey on Perception of Corruption in Government Institutions

As many as 64 percent of Pakistanis are of the view that certain level of corruption prevails in government departments. These views were expressed in a survey conducted by the Free and Fair Election Network in February 2016.

The FAFEN survey interviewed 6,030 randomly selected people at 603 locations stratified in all National and Provincial Assembly constituencies as part of the socio-political profiling exercise conducted to understand the voting behavior and factors influencing it. The unique research, also involving Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions, is meant to develop socio-political profiles of all National Assembly constituencies detailing the way people vote as well as determinants of their electoral choices. The profiles will be a rich resource for political parties, media, academia and interested citizens ahead of the next general elections.

The profile of the respondents largely matches the profile of Pakistanis aged 18 years and above. The survey findings are generalizable to the adult Pakistani population nationally and provincially. However, the findings cannot be generalized for Islamabad Capital Territory and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. As many as 49 percent of all respondents were in Punjab, 16% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 8% in Balochistan, 22% in Sindh, 1% in Islamabad Capital Territory and 4% in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Among those surveyed, 46 percent were adult women and 54 percent adult men. About 59 percent of the interviewees were between the ages of 18 and 35 years and 41 percent were above 35 years. While the proportion of the survey respondents who had attained education up to the primary level or above was 62 percent, there were 34 percent survey respondents who either never went to school or had dropped out before completing their primary level. As many as 3.8 percent respondents had attended madrassahs and 0.2% vocational institutions.

FAFEN will release detailed socio-political profiles in July 2016. However, it plans to share some of the important findings of this survey in a series of public releases to inform the public discourse on pertinent national issues. Corruption has been selected as the theme for the first public release in view of the ongoing public debate on the issue against the backdrop of the Panama Papers Leak.

As many as 6,030 randomly selected people were asked whether or not they had interacted with any of the 25 listed departments over the past six months. These departments include Education, Health, WAPDA, Sui Gas, Police, Court, Revenue, Election Commission, Irrigation, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Zakat and Ushr, Post Office, PTCL, Forest, Traffic Police, 1122, National Highways and Motorway Police, NADRA, Municipality, Utility Stores, Railways, PIA, Income Tax, Water and Sewerage and Local Councils(Union Council,Union Committee, Rural and Neighborhood Council).

As many 3,971 respondents – 2,305 men and 1,665 women – responded in the affirmative. Of these 3,971 respondents, 1,751 were in Punjab, 999 in Sindh, 703 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 276 in Balochistan, 29 in Islamabad Capital Territory and 213 in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Only those respondents who said they had any interaction or engagement with any of the listed government departments were asked about their perception of corruption levels in the government departments in order to ensure that the response are based on some objectivity.

In February 2016, nearly two-thirds of the people who had engaged with government offices believed that corruption levels in as many as 25 selected government departments were either very high or somewhat high. Men (72 percent) tend to be higher in percentage in their belief that corruption prevails in the government departments as compared to women (54 percent). This is perhaps due to a generally greater interaction and engagement of men with government institutions.

Balochistan stands significantly ahead in public perception about the corruption levels in the government departments as compared to the other provinces and regions. As many 82 percent of respondents in Balochistan, 74 percent in Sindh, 72 percent in Islamabad Capital Territory, 68 percent in Punjab, 52 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and eight percent in Federally Administered Tribal Areas said they believed corruption prevailed in government departments.

There were 332 instances where the respondents directly witnessed public employees accepting bribe. Highest incidence of public officials accepting bribe was witnessed in Punjab where 206 – around 12 percent of the respondents who had recently engaged with government offices – stated to have seen government officers taking bribe. It was followed by Sindh where 106 (10.6%) respondents engaged with public offices saw such an incidence. Only four percent respondents in Balochistan and one percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed such incidence in their respective provinces.

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