The Rule of Law in Pakistan represents the voices of over 4,000 people in Pakistan and their experiences with the rule of law in their country.


The Rule of Law in Pakistan: Key Findings from the 2016 Extended General Population Poll & Justice Sector Survey presents select findings from two World Justice Project surveys conducted in five urban areas in Pakistan in May and June 2016.


The General Population Poll was conducted through face-to-face interviews in 2,100 urban households distributed proportionally across the five urban areas of Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta. This poll was designed for the WJP Rule of Law Index® to measure the rule of law from the perspective of ordinary citizens, including their experiences and perceptions related to government accountability, bribery and corruption, crime, and access to justice.


In order to explore justice issues in greater depth, the WJP also conducted a seperate Justice Sector Survey of 2,000 households using the same methodology. This survey captures on respondents' views and experiences related to distribute resolution, legal awareness, legal identity, household dynamics, and gender issues.


Whereas the WJP's flagship Rule of Law Index® offers aggregate rule of law scores, this report presents disaggregated question-level data as 11 thematic briefs highlighting a different facet of the rule of law as it is experienced by the population in Pakistan. These briefs touch upon issues of accountability, corruption, fundamental rights, crime, justice – criminal, civil, and informal – as well as the role of women in Pakistani society.


Key Findings

  • Perceptions of Government Accountability: There is a high perception of impunity in Pakistan, though perceptions of government accountability vary across cities. Compared to peer countries in South Asia, perceptions of accountability are the lowest in Pakistan, worse than Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and India.
  • Corruption Across Institutions: Pakistanis believe that a significant number of authorities are involved in corrupt practices. Police are viewed as the most corrupt authorities by respondents.
  • Bribery Victimization: Petty bribery is pervasive in Pakistan. Approximately three quarters of Pakistanis have paid a bribe to process a government permit and to receive assistance from the police.
  • Fundamental Freedoms: Since 2013, there has been a decline in Pakistanis’ perceptions of political, media, and religious freedoms in the country. Despite these declines, Pakistanis’ views of their freedoms are average compared to perceptions in other South Asian countries.
  • Crime Victimization: Households in Pakistan experience high rates of burglary and armed robbery. However, there are considerable differences in crime victimization rates across cities. There has been a slight decline in murder rates since 2013 and a considerable increase in rates of burglary since 2014.
  • Criminal Justice: Incompetent investigators and inadequate resources are deemed to be the most serious problems facing criminal investigative services in Pakistan, whereas inadequate alternative dispute resolution is considered the most serious problem facing criminal courts. Since 2013, perceptions of police corruption have decreased slightly, but perceptions of judicial corruption have increased considerably.
  • Legal Awareness: Pakistanis have a moderate amount of legal knowledge. The greatest percentage of respondents correctly answered questions related to children’s rights. The smallest percentage of respondents identified the correct answer for questions related to due process and rights of the accused. Women have slightly higher levels of legal awareness compared to men.
  • Dispute Resolution: Just over 40% of Pakistanis experienced a dispute in the last 12 months, with water disputes, neighbor disputes, disputes relating to ID cards or birth certificates, and family disputes being the most common. Among Pakistanis that reported experiencing a dispute, only one third took any action to resolve their dispute. Of those that did take action, most chose to take their dispute to a traditional, customary, or local leader for resolution.
  • Women in Pakistani Society: There are minor differences in men and women’s views regarding the rights of women when it comes to inheritance and divorce, but the perception gap grows for questions related to women’s role in the community and household dynamics.
  • Trust in Pakistan: Pakistanis have a high degree of trust in fellow citizens. Across institutions, Pakistanis have the most trust in the courts and the least trust in the police. Since 2014, there has been a decrease in respondents’ reported level of trust in officers working in the local and the national governments.
  • Rule of Law & Governance Priorities: Pakistanis consider corruption to be the most important issue facing the country, followed by crime and poverty.



Survey Instruments