Essay: Crisis of Good Governance in Pakistan: Need for Reform and Institution Building
Crisis of good governance in Pakistan is not a new concept. It has been contested for a long time. Even today, when the neighboring country like China has evolved from its roots into a well governed state, Pakistan still lags behind in devising a clear mechanism of governance reforms and institution building.
Crisis of good governance can be understood only when one gets to know about the attributes and features of good governance. Among these attributes ‘General Public Welfare and State’s Health’ come the first. Good governance is attributed with the welfare of the masses. If the people of a state are living a good life with all the fundamental rights and the basic necessitates secured, it can be said that the state is well governed. Another part of this is health of state. It can be measured in economic, defense and political strength of a country. A state when healthy in its defense and politico-economic outlooks is usually well governed. Further, good governance brings an overall better standard of life. It can be said in a way that the attributes of good governance vary in the eyes of a common man, a ruler and a state as a political entity.
Crisis of good governance is the name of a situation when all the attributes mentioned above are missing or replaced by the social and political abnormalities. These abnormalities can be in the form of agents which deteriorates the levels of good governance. Pakistan is in state of governance crisis. Its apparent manifestations can be seen in the declined public health, illiteracy and poverty. Another important way to judge the crisis of governance in Pakistan comes in shape of the weak state institutions and mismanaged state-controlled enterprises. For instance, the decline of Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines speak how crisis of good governance swallowed these mighty revenue-producing sectors. Similarly, take example of judiciary as state institution. It has been suppressed by the executive throughout the history of the country. There has always been a rift at some level in civil and military leadership of country. This accounts for a major factor behind the crisis of good governance in Pakistan which comes in shape of clash between the state institutions thus adversely affecting their performance.
Among the primary causes of the crisis of good governance in Pakistan comes first the personalization of things rather that institutionalization. Institutions are important to every state. When these institutions become hostage to persons they begin to deviate from the principles of good governance. In Pakistan, during the military rules, the institutions of executive, legislature and even judiciary have brought into personalization of the ruling dictator. This helped in rendering the will of the dictator superior over the law of an institute.
Secondly, the factors of corruption and nepotism in a state like Pakistan puts it into governance crisis. These two things annihilate the state’s governance structure as merit gets to be replaced by favor.
Thirdly, the lack of long term and well-read state policies becomes another important cause in bringing crisis of good governance. States are governed well through integrated long term planning and policies which are implemented in several episodes. In Pakistan, governments have plans to govern the country well but they collapse because of their short-term nature and politically motivated objectives.
Fourthly, the priorities of a government also determine the level of state governance. If a state brings the development of infrastructure as a priority over health, education and welfare of the masses when these all are required then the system collapses. In Pakistan, more is being spent on building infrastructure and little on provision of basic facilities like health, education and employment.