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Good governance in Pakistan

Published on 8th Apr, Edition 15, 2013

 

Pakistan is one of the countries, where there is corruption, poor control of public funds, lack of accountability, abuses of human rights and excessive military influence and consequently public development inevitably suffers. The biggest problem is bad governance, which is creating all sorts of issues the masses are facing today. Issues of energy, education, health and law and order can be solved easily if Pakistan has good governance in place, because the fundaments are correct in most of the sectors. The poverty has grown to an alarmingly level in last few years. Pakistan’s energy sector is in a mess due to poor governance in the sector despite having huge natural resources. The continuation of policies and making ad hoc policies have further weekend the system. In short, country is all set to financially collapse due to governance issues and in the absence of any national policy, which could confine the country’s economic growth and prosperity.

Pakistan needs good governance to improve its poor economic, social and political condition and to provide the environment for development of the private sector and also for the employment generation. Due to weak capacity and corruption, governments have performed poorly, putting negative impacts on poverty and stability. Good governance i.e. sound fiscal, monetary and trade policies create a positive environment for the private sector but presently Pakistan is lacking such initiatives. In response, a dynamic private sector creates jobs and income, generates wealth and ensures resources are used efficiently. If Pakistan has slightly better governance then country would have much better fiscal and monetary policies and would have created environment for efficient production through appropriate trade, exchange rate, taxes and pricing policies. As a matter of fact, combination and combined efforts of effective judiciary or legislative mechanism, rule of law, political transparency/stability and freedom of media etc. create a good governance environment but here in Pakistan almost all the state pillars have serious differences among themselves.

Governance of an economy includes all macroeconomic and fiscal policies, public economic agencies, regulatory bodies, company laws and legal institutions connected with the economic matters. The weak institutions and polices, outdated laws and inefficiency of administration has resulted in creating conditions for inadequate governance in Pakistan.

Corruption is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of good governance in Pakistan. The prevalence of corruption in Pakistan has not only diminished the ability of the law enforcement agencies but also adversely affected the judiciary, public administration and is impeding the fair functioning of the society. Country has witnessed numerous scams in recent past, to name a few, OGRA, NICL, Railways, PIA, Steel Mill, Land grabbing, so much so Hajj scandal. Supreme Court has taken up various cases, yet nothing positive outcome has emerged.

Bureaucracy is inevitable in any society or state, an inseparable part of an organized society. But the bureaucracy of Pakistan is also not efficient in management and administration. The capacity of policy implementation of our bureaucracy has deteriorated in recent past. It is now a rusted system and is not accountable and transparent to the people.

 

Nepotism is another curse of our politics and administration. The rulers give privilege and unfair advantage to their family members and kiths and kins in the public resources and deploy them in the state organizations. One of the prime examples is the appointment of son-in-law of former Prime Minister as Country Director in the World Bank, while appointment of his another son-in-law was turned down by Supreme Court. Hence, the mass people are deprived from these opportunities. In true and real sense it is said that laws are there but are applied only in favor of privilege people or class. As a result justices suffer and denied to the common people although that is an important aspect of good governance. In addition, politicization in government institutions including the police not only increases inefficiency and corruption but also increases human rights violation, especially on the opposition political parties by filing false cases and killings. Recently, Sindh police chief has confessed that there are more than 300 politically appointee policemen in Karachi police and because of those, police is facing difficulty in controlling target killings.

The fund flow in Pakistan is not smooth to the local government. Besides, this fund is also not utilized properly and very often diverted to other purposes. Hence, it results in deep effect on peoples’ everyday life. Improper planning and use of resources result in threatening scarceness in electricity, water and gas but effective measures are yet taken. Corruption in energy sector is in common knowledge.

During the last few years, it has been increasingly recognized that Pakistan needs good governance in reducing poverty and increasing prosperity. Because of all these issues, funds are not used effectively, corruption flourishes, and citizens become increasingly disillusioned with the governments and politicians. Ensuring good governance in country will enable the people to get benefits of public programs, which doesn’t reach their target recipients.

Good governance is not only in the domain of public sector but it also depends on the relationship and cooperation between different spheres of government i.e. public, private and civil society. Absence of good governance has also contributed significantly to the lack of business ethics in the private sector, which is directly linked with the public sector. The best public-private partnership can be seen in devising new ways. Massive corruption in the government departments at all levels should be stopped because budget of public development spending is much higher than the budget of public welfare projects. In Pakistan, the unhealthy trading practices of private sector have led to the sale of adulterated foods at high prices, besides hoarding, price hikes and artificial crisis are other issues. If good governance is present in the country, this type of unfair practices will surely be stopped.

It has made believed that corruption including corruption by politicians is the biggest hindrance to socio-economic growth in Pakistan. But most of the people and media, completely forget the long dictatorships in past, which essentially promoted ill doings in the country. The only solution to solve the problems of the poor people lies in good governance. Pakistan is self sufficient in wheat, cotton and sugar. In dairy products export, Pakistan is the third biggest economy of Asia and third largest exporter of rice in the world but only requires proper implementation of good governance in every sectors of life. However, due to effective media, it has been increasingly recognized in last few years that good governance is essential in reducing poverty and increasing prosperity. Pakistan has a parliamentary democracy where these parliamentarians have to pay the lead role in raising issues and putting them on the national agenda.

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