I am not quite sure if Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is aware of the recent survey, which judges him as the first among his three other counterparts for his ‘outstanding performance’. The report published in dailies on Wednesday say that the (little known) Institute for Public Opinion Research has released a new survey, according to which 51 percent of the people of Punjab have expressed satisfaction over the performance of Usman Buzdar for “carrying out development work in the province”. The other people of other provinces have not been so kind to their chief ministers. For example, 48 percent of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa people are satisfied with the performance of Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, 43 percent of Balochistan people with the performance of Mir Abdul Quddos Bizenjo, while Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah could satisfy only 38 percent of the citizens of the province.
Unlike the majority of media men, I am a fan of CM Buzdar for the reason that he stays away from the media limelight. Perhaps he believes in his actions, rather than words. No doubt, actions speak louder than words, but actions should be visible, concrete and tangible, so that the public can see, realise and touch them. One of the most observed actions can be the chief minister’s presence among the public. Mr Buzdar is hardly seen anywhere. Politics is an equal game of delivery and optics, as the public and media like both factors. Moreover, he should be least impressed by these surveys.
I tried to figure out the authenticity of the survey and surveying agency. As I googled, I was directed to two links – one, the website of the Institute for Public Opinion Research (https://ipor.com.pk), and Twitter and Facebook accounts. The website does not carry the survey findings, whereas the Twitter page, which was created in 2019, has not posted anything after December 17, 2019, whereas the Facebook page is well-maintained, and has frequent posts.
Let us compare the best chief minister to the one with lowest ratings – Syed Murad Ali Shah, of Sindh.
If I am a Buzdar fan, it does not mean I am a No-Murad Ali Shah person. The versatile, smart and active Shah jee has all the elements which make him a promising and desirable chief minister. Equipped with inter-personnel and flawless communication skills, the Sindh chief minister is often seen in the Sindh Assembly, at development project sites and in parties. And last but not least, CM Shah has not lost even a single by-election in his province. On the other hand, CM Buzdar has not won even a single by-election for the seats left by his own party and opposition members.
This implies a question: Are surveys reliable in Pakistan?
A survey is a scientific and proven method to predict the present and future scenarios. But in our part of the world, the people have the ability to fail the scientific process as not speaking one’s mind is our national character. Human nature may mostly be inclined towards lying, hypocrisy, mendacity, and deceitfulness, except the chosen few who are endowed with exceptional powers to practice good and overcome evil. In the matter pertaining to masses, however, it is desirable that we put aside falsehood and trickery and speak what is the best for the nation, national interest and humanity.
Thus, who would like to speak truth and be honest, monetarily and intellectually, when lying and deception pay. And even more importantly, why would individuals put a premium on gentlemanly conduct when all the institutions and the state lead from the front in promoting wrongs.