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. View the report.

The Rule of Law in Pakistan: Key Findings from the 2017 Extended General Population Poll & Justice Sector Survey presents select findings from two World Justice Project surveys conducted in five urban areas in Pakistan between August and December 2017.

The General Population Poll was conducted through face-to-face interviews in 2,010 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 capture data on the experiences and perceptions of ordinary citizens on various themes 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 separate Justice Sector Survey of 2,010 households using the same methodology. This survey compiles respondents' views and experiences related to dispute 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 12 thematic briefs to highlight different facets of the rule of law as it is experienced by the population in Pakistan. These briefs touch upon issues of accountability, corruption, fundamental freedoms, criminal justice, and civil justice, as well as views on women, internally displaced people, and refugees. Together, these briefs give an overview of rule of law and the justice system in Pakistan and can be used to better understand the state of the country as it is manifested in the day-to-day lives of its citizens.

 Key Findings

  • Perceptions of Government Accountability: There is a high perception of impunity in Pakistan, though perceptions of government accountability vary across cities. Respondents in Lahore are the most optimistic concerning government accountability while respondents in Quetta are the most pessimistic.
  • 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 while judges and magistrates are seen as the least corrupt.
  • Bribery Victimization: Petty bribery is pervasive in Pakistan. More than half of Pakistanis have paid a bribe to receive assistance from the police and a quarter have paid a bribe to process a government permit. Since 2013, there has been an overall decrease in bribes paid to a police officer, to process a government permit, and to receive medical attention at a public hospital.
  • Fundamental Freedoms: Pakistanis have moderate views of political and media freedoms in the country, and quite positive views of religious freedoms. Since 2016, perceptions of political, media, and religious freedoms in the country have improved.
  • Crime Victimization: Crime rates in Pakistan vary by type of crime and city. Rates of armed robbery are the highest in Karachi, burglary rates are the highest in Peshawar, and murder rates vary between 1% and 3% across all five cities. On average, there has been a decrease in the rates of all three crimes since 2016.
  • Criminal Justice: Incompetence of criminal investigators was cited as the most serious problem facing criminal investigative services in Pakistan, while inadequate resources were cited as their most serious problem facing criminal courts. Perceptions of police corruption and respect for suspects’ rights have improved in recent years.
  • Access to Civil Justice: A large majority of those surveyed (82%) experienced a legal problem in the last two years, with problems relating to community and natural resources, consumer disputes, and public services being the most common. Of those, only 14% turned to an authority or third party to adjudicate, mediate, or help resolve the problem. Nearly half reported experiencing a hardship as a result of their legal problem, with stress related illnesses being the most common hardship reported.
  • Legal Awareness: Pakistanis have a moderate amount of legal knowledge. The greatest percentage of respondents was able to correctly answer questions related to children’s legal rights.
  • Women in Pakistani Society: There are minor differences in men and women’s views regarding the rights of women when it comes to divorce and dispute resolution, but the perception gap grows for questions related to inheritance and household dynamics.
  • Internally Displaced People: Views on internally displaced people (IDPs) in Pakistan vary by topic and by city. On average, only half of Pakistanis believe that IDPs are welcome in their community but more than two thirds believe that the government is doing enough to help IDPs. These perceptions are the most positive in Faisalabad and the most negative in Quetta.
  • Refugees in Pakistan: Views on refugees in Pakistan also vary by topic and by city. Half of respondents believe that refugees should be guaranteed the same constitutional rights as citizens of Pakistan. When asked about the seriousness of various problems relating to refugees, the largest percentage of respondents said that refugees bringing violence and extremism to Pakistan was a serious problem. Less than half of respondents believe that refugees and citizens are treated equally by the police.
  • 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, though trust in the police has steadily risen over the last four years.