Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s concept of a welfare state on the model of Medina – which existed in the formative phase of Islam – is centred around good governance. The erosion of governance that has taken place in Pakistan over the past four decades has led to administrative, financial, judicial and educational decline in the country. Here, governance refers to those state institutions which are supposed to provide the basic necessities of life to their citizens, protect them from harm and uphold the rule of law.
If the regime fails to provide basic security, effectively run public institutions and basics like clean drinking water, it means it has failed to perform its duties. One yardstick to judge the success or failure of a government is how far it has been able to run administrative machinery by maintaining the standards of efficiency, integrity and planning. Pursuing a sense of responsibility and time management also comes under the scope of good governance.
Like many post-colonial states, Pakistan continues to struggle. Most of the regimes that have come and gone have failed to run their systems efficiently. Corruption and nepotism continue to eat away at the country’s state institutions like a cancer. However, responsibility for this state-of-affairs does not only fall on the government. Corruption cannot be eradicated and rule of law cannot established without the people’s cooperation.
In the post-July 2018 election scenario, the most crucial challenge facing the new government is ensuring a smooth transition from one system of governance to another. The existing system is corrupt, inefficient and devoid of accountability. If the new government wants the transition process from one system of governance to another to be smooth and successful, it doesn’t just need to mobilise popular support, but also educate people on how to be responsible citizens. It is true that over seven decades rot cannot be corrected overnight. However, decisions to better the mode of governance must be taken within the new government’s first 100 days in power.
Currently, about 65 percent of the population is comprised of people under 30 — the youth — and this can be transformed from a liability into an asset through good governance. If they are provided the proper training and skills, the can be an unmatched human resource, and help replace this country’s rotten system
Eleven areas form the core of good governance. The first is running the railways and the national airline on time and providing quality service to customers. Secondly, providing efficient and affordable public transport. Thirdly, controlling corruption and nepotism through proper accountability and transparency. Fourth, efficient and honest bureaucracy which performs its duties without any fear, prejudice or political pressure. Fifth, efficient and affordable justice systems so that an ordinary Pakistani can get justice without paying bribes or wasting time. Sixth, provision of free, compulsory, uniform and good quality education to all children till high school. Seventh, provision of affordable and efficient medical and housing facilities to all the citizens of Pakistan. Eight, to provide clean and safe drinking water and to control environmental pollution emanating from global warming and climate change by planting and maintaining at least 3 billion trees all over the country in the first two years of its government. Ninth, proper maintenance of roads, highways and other public places. Tenth, providing an uninterrupted supply of utilities. Finally, periodic review of the performance of government agencies responsible to run the system. Such a review should not be superficial but practical in nature so that critical assessment about the performance of governing institutions is made on a regular basis.
The poor governance that has plagued this country has not only wreaked havoc on the lives of Pakistan’s citizens, it has also shattered its image at the international level. This cannot be changed through rhetoric alone. The country needs people who are professional, honest and visionary. The proper utilisation of time and resources is absolutely essential here.
Currently, about 65 percent of the population is comprised of people under 30 – the youth – and this can be transformed from a liability into an asset through good governance. If they are provided the proper training and skills, the can be an unmatched human resource, and help replace this country’s rotten system
The writer is Meritorious Professor of International Relations, University of Karachi and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in Daily Times, August 17th 2018.