“Democracy, good governance and modernity cannot be imported or imposed from outside a country.” Emile Lahoud
Good governance comes through strong and independent institutions of the state. These institutions need to be built, sustained and stronger than individuals. Unfortunately, a little effort has been made to build institutions on a stable footing in Pakistan since independence and individuals have taken precedence over institutions. Pakistan suffers from a number of crisis but the crisis of good governance is on top because it is the core of all other problems. Our country is suffering from weak institutional set-up, political instability, rampant corruption, lack of accountability and transparency and bad law and order situation. All these issues have seriously pushed off the country to an abysmal state of poor governance.
The new government of PTI near to complete its first hundred days but it has remained futile as no new legislation has been passed from parliament. Undeniably, inflation has increased. Additionally, no homework was done earlier by PTI being in opposition before coming into power. U-Turns taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan really created mess and chaos even it was discussed on the Centre for Middle East Policy at Brookings institution; backing off various things from removal of Mian Atif from Economic Advisory Council to not board on first class of PIA, indeed, PIA has club class rather than first class. Although, some things also improved from foreign policy to Campaigns of austerity, clean green Pakistan, removal of encroachments and sorting out of cursory economic crisis.
Governance is the exercise of authority to address public affairs. This authority can be political, economic or administrative. The use of this authority is always based upon certain rules and laws of society established by its members. Good governance is to run administration according to these defined laws for the welfare of the people.Good governance guarantees safety and security of the people and creates an atmosphere conducive to progress and prosperity. Accountability, transparency and equality before the law are well-known attributes of a good government. There is rightly more stress on corruption. What Senator Cato said about Rome then is true of Pakistan today: “Simple thieves lie in prison and in stock; public thieves walk abroad in gold and silk.”
Enforcement of property rights is another big issue. The existence of laws does not necessarily lead to enforcement of laws. Pakistani court procedures, the expense involved, both legal and illegal, to secure rights, and delays in adjudicating cases, are unbearable. However, the piece of news of amendments in inheritance can be proved a cool breeze.
Pakistan was ranked 117th among 180 countries in 2017, by Transparency International’s corruption index. Poverty of nations is the cause or effect of corruption.Transparency in the government’s dealings is another crucial aspect in the context of good governance. Corruption takes place in the shadows, away from the public gaze. The need is to throw light on those dark corners. In this respect, the Right to Information Act of governments prove worth appreciating. Efficiency requires making a choice from a set of alternatives which is most feasible. Feasibility requires taking into account both technological feasibility, budget balance and so on.
Information provided by media and civil society is important in thinking about electoral accountability. We should draw a distinction between formal and real accountability.
In a stable parliamentary democracy, experienced legislators often become ministers by demonstrating expertise in the affairs of particular ministries. They establish themselves as subject specialists during debates in the legislature on matters related to all ministries; such discussions are frequent and detailed. But, PTI is on unnecessary critique campaign and only bad mouths are listened from Parliament.
Due to bad governance education, health, civic services, agricultural infrastructure are all in bad state. Even the most basic social needs of citizens are not fulfilled.
Much of this must change to meet the requisites of a stable and efficient democracy. This cannot be done by pushing a button nor can any single government in the present socioeconomic framework be expected to carry out this task.
The selection of key bureaucrats to lead an efficient administrative apparatus is even more difficult than the choice of efficient ministers. In stable parliamentary states, the administrative structure remains unaffected by a change of government.The state of the administration has been extensively scrutinized by the judiciary, civil society and the media over the past several years and much has been found that is unforgivable and which ordinary citizens don’t like.
Again, no single government can atone for decades of maladministration – but no delay in starting the job must be tolerated.
People at the helm of affairs need to understand that good governance is more than mere management. It is not only about decision making, policy formulating but also priority settings, implementation and getting results. Transparency, legitimacy, merit and the rule of law are the important pillars of good governance.
The civil servants, police and NAB are not fully autonomous in their decree to work. None of them is granted full independence, to bring the criminals to justice and inquire the cases of big guns. These are powerful institutions, which need considerable attention to de-politicize their structures. These institutions should be given absolute autonomy to bring the corrupt people before the law.
Media management has been the biggest problem of PTI but, its Hundred Days are very early to predict its performance. Prejudice must not be shown by new government and Political victimization must be ended by NAB, being a government’s tool. Bear some tolerance, talk less and work more.
Summing up the discussion, good governance is a prerequisite for social harmony, public order, political stability, economic prosperity and certainty about future. It delivers the fruit of progress and development evenly to all and sundry. Good governance is required at all levels of society and state. Government needs to focus seriously on this issue to accomplish satisfactory results. We must not allow the erosion of institutions through the idiosyncratic behaviour of rulers. No state is free of all crisis but it is the quality of governance that ensures its survival through any crisis.