Quagmire Of The House Of Cards

The governance issue prevails in many parts of the blue planet. Several countries are faced with this enigma. It is not denying the fact that governance plays a key role in the progress of any country, its absence causes multiple issues that lead this state towards abysmal shambles. In this contemporary world, developing countries present the worst case scenario in this regard. They are sweltering in furnaces of shambolic governance. Pakistan’s case is not exceptional either. This sorry state has been facing this music since its inception. Pakistan got independence through pure democratic struggle. Its emergence was a miracle in the 20th century. However, the death of its founder left it in limbo. It became an orphan in its infancy. Since then, Pakistan has witnessed gloom and doom episodes of governance. The traumas range from dismal role of law to political bankruptcy. Bad governance has wreaked havoc on the land of the pure. Tumultuous events are fast and furious. Political instability and social disharmony have become the norm of the day. Economy is on a patchy slope. Terrorism and fanatical outburst are at peak. Indeed, tawdry governance is neither inevitable nor something that can not be redeemed. Needless to say, if this riddle is resolved, Pakistan will pace up towards progress and prosperity. It can mop up all its socio-economic and religious political evils from its soil. However, the aching theme is that none of the previous regime took pragmatic steps to tackle this issue. Shockingly enough, if the mainstream government remains in a state of apathy. Pakistan would move towards collateral damage ultimately, the government would be hopeless to find any option in order to avert unimaginable nightmares.

There are several reasons behind shaky governance in Pakistan. The institutional tug of war is one of them. Unfortunately, seven decades have passed but Pakistan is always in doldrums over the question of institutional independence. All three main pillars – executive, judiciary and legislative – square off with one another for dominance in affairs of states. Civilian leadership is unable to assume affairs completely and patron client relations prevail here. Similarly, the previous democratic regime fell prey to hyperextended state structure where chief Justice dominated all policies. Presently, it is an overdeveloped state structure where the military is ruling directly. Institutional conflagration has deprived Pakistan of ideal state structure and ultimately good governance.

Moreover, financial malpractices of bigwigs have devoured the state. Corruption has eroded the country. Pakistan’s governance dilemma is the direct result of venality of those sitting at the helm of affairs. This has caused the demise of meritocracy. It is an undeniable fact that no nation can rise to the height of glory without prevalence of transparency and meritocracy. Some mega scams like ephedrine, ogra, haj and panama gate paint a bleak picture of governance. Hence, unchecked corruption has ruined the governance in Pakistan. Besides this, weak political culture is also responsible for second rate governance. Political instability is a chronic issue of Pakistan. Pakistan has undergone traumatic past experiences. All those experiments plummeted democratic setup to naught. Voting behavior of people isn’t satisfactory. They care a fag of cast vote: election day is enjoyed as holiday. Resultantly, incompetent politicians are elected through massive rigging. This is why, inept political elite is unable to revamp governance in Pakistan. What is more worrisome is the menace of terrorism and extremism. In the past, flawed policies of leaders and dubious strategies of global power sparked off extremism in Pakistan. Consequently, terrorist were nourished in madrassas today, this is a stigma in Pakistan. World accuses this state of harbouring terrorism. World terrorism index 2021 ranks, Pakistan is in top 10 in ranking. Terrorism has wrecked havoc in Pakistan. It has made governance too patchy to address immediately.

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Furthermore, woefully, the society in Pakistan is weak, social problems are numerous. Government is unable to tackle them. Mobilization in society is also negligible. Being a multilingual, multi ethnic and multi religious country, a dangerous polarisation prevails in Pakistan society. Moreover, illiteracy, poverty, ailments etc. add fuel to fire. Pakistani society depicts a miserable picture in this world of globalisation. Thus, shaky social fabric has paved the way for bad governance.

In addition to this, the crisis of federation ever lingers over Pakistan. The trust deficit prevails between provinces and federation. All provinces blame the center for their internal savages and murkiness. Not only is federation lambasted, but provincial wrangles are also common on this land of pure. The row over distribution of resources is always a hot topic among them. Big brothers syndrome is a bone of contention among them. Though the 18th amendment palliated some wounds yet not completed. In short, federal provincial and inter provincial standoff has destabilised the governance.

What adds more to agony is the national identity crisis. The Pakistani establishment and laymen are still perplexed over their national identity. History of different experiments has spawned a dichotomy in Pakistan. People are not united under one single banner of national identity. Some praise moderate views of objective resolution; some Bhutto’s socialist tilt, some Zia’s orthodox islamization and others have affinity with Musharraf’s, enlightened moderation concept. Ethno-nationalism is also at peak. In this dismayed situation, good governance has become a far cry.

In the same manner, absence of “across the broad” accountability has pushed governance towards shambles. Political big fishes and haughty officialdom are indulged into hazardous misappropriation. They ponder their whims by trespassing state laws with brazen impunity.

Ridiculously, they play this dirty game, unabashedly. Indeed, it is appalling that those who make laws are always on the front line for tearing them into tatters. They are snakes in the grass. They have clipped the wings of the accountability bureau. This is why, world competitiveness index presents a dark picture of Pakistan. Therefore, governance is too bad.

Further, there prevails a vacuum of leadership in Pakistan. Quaid e Azam died when Pakistan was at its nascent stage. This sat back followed assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan. Pakistan was left in lurch after the death of two charismatic leaders. Since then, unhappily, the state is unable to breed any visionary leader on its soil. Though Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had some political acumen, he fell prey to military coup. Present leaders are politicians not real leaders. As Nelson Mandela remarks “A politician thinks of the next election, however, a leader always thinks of the next generation”. Resultantly, they aren’t able to steer the country towards good governance.

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However, as every disease has some cures. Robust strategies can fizzle out this conundrum once for all. Provision of full autonomy to institutions are utterly dysfunctional and others are unable to perform freely. They must be divided into several small administrative units to cure good governance. The developed world and even Pakistan’s neighboring countries have divided their administrative units to steer the country properly. This trend should be followed here.

What is more sincere efforts as social indicators are necessary to snatch the home. Health facilities and education are basic needs of citizens. In order to reverse the tide of dismal social structure, budget allocation to the social services sector needs to be revised. At least 4% GDP ratio should be reserved for education. Health care centers in far flung underdeveloped areas must be established with adequate facilities. Policy makers have to think out of the box. Issues like poverty, gender disparity, illiteracy and unemployment need prompt solutions to resume first ratio governance.

Furthermore, bureaucracy is called the backbone of any country. Pakistan can make this bone strong by introducing salutary reforms in it. Merely changing the syllabus for competitive exams will not entail prolific results. There is dire need of reforms in arenas of promotions, training, salary and incentives of civil servants. Today, the Pakistani bureaucracy is censured for its lethargic processes, red-tapism, favouritism and rampant corruption. Indeed, Pakistan can’t achieve good governance without changing the attitude of its civil servants. Their recruitment process and training should be efficient to transform them into real servants of state.

Additionally, eradication of terrorism is an important factor in this regard. Mainstream government has taken good steps against their scourge. Zarb e Azb(2014 north waziristan) was that phase which has broken the back of fanatic hordes. However, removing terrorists through kinetic operations and coercive apparatus do akin to mow the grass which can grow up again. It needs to be rooted out completely. Its solution lies in counter narrative measures. State has to win the hearts and minds of the people. Moreover, the financial fuel lives of these monsters must be cut off. Else, good governance will return to this resilient country.

Besides this, civil military rifts can pave the way for future developments. Military must confine itself to barracks. Civilian leadership should be valiant enough to deter military establishment from mudding into affairs of civilian regime. In democratic system, civilians are supreme authority.

Pakistan can follow Turkish strategies which have pulled Turkey out of the civil military crisis. Turkey is the 18th largest country in the world ruled by civilian leadership. Leadership of both institutions should resolve feuds and lead the country towards the zenith of glory. This can ramp governance up pertinently. In the same passion, implementation of a national action plan with vigor is needed. Enforcement of all agendas can chisel governance of Pakistan and peddle Pakistan towards progress and prosperity. However, ridiculously enough, those who are responsible for implementation of civilian aspects of NAP are still napping. They must wake up to pull the state out of the cornucopia of crisis. Forney views and toothless laws are futile without their implementation. Though NAP is a vital agenda to improve governance.

In a nutshell, governance is a phenomenon which steers government and state in a smooth manner. The sine qua non is that it should be good enough to pilot state towards progress. It is equally dangerous when it is tawdry. Pakistan’s ease is appalling. Bad governance has become its chronic issue. There are several reasons behind shambolic governance. For instance, institutional vitriolic, corruption, political instability, stagnant society, etc. have eaten governance like termite. Moreover, the crisis of federation, national identity enigma, lack of accountability and absence of central leadership have also fanned flames in the country. Bad governance is a grave bottleneck in holistic development of a country. Ever dwindling economy and dilapidated society is the direct aftermath of bad governance. However, the game isn’t over yet, Pakistan can come back on the right path by taking some extraordinary steps in this sphere. Institutional autonomy, strong democracy, creation of new provinces, and resolving social issues can be proved vital. Furthermore, wiping out terrorism, solving civil military stiff and fully implantation of recent envisaged agendas can accelerate country towards prosperity. It’s time to bring back Pakistan on the right track and translate dreams of its founding fathers into reality. Hope still springs into hearts of Pakistan.

Qurrait-ul-Ain Qureshi

Qurrait-ul-Ain Qureshi





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