3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 38 Embassy Road, G-6/3
- Mr Mukhtar Amed, Analyst
It is widely recognized that poor governance is a major impediment in the provision of public goods. Pakistan is not an exception in this context and a number of studies have indicated institutional misgovernance as a major factor hindering public service delivery in the country. Literature suggests that practices like corruption, political interference, lack of accountability, and patron–client forms of behaviour provide significant explanation of the poor state of governance in Pakistan. This research compares the state of bureaucracy in Pakistan with an ideal state to highlight major diversions in governance with regards to provision of public goods.
Using ethnographic data collected in the case study of domestic water supply, the study examines the significance of social norms: in particular personal relationships and kinship ties. These social norms deeply affect the institutional provision and processes of drinking water to local citizens. Based on the data collected on issues surrounding domestic water supply in an urban union council Nawansher (Abat Abad), the study demonstrates how formal access to water is undermined by institutional practices, kinship ties and social relationships. The case study on water supply enables provides an understanding of how local political leaders subvert the formal authority of a local state institution. By examining the role of Nazim (Mayor), the study draws attention to the micro-dynamics of local governance whereby a local institution is caught between the political interests of the Nazimand the official norms governing the institution. On several accounts, the study explores the state official logics and constraints in providing access to water to local citizens in an impartial way. Contrary to the expectations of local citizens affected by the distribution and management of water supply, the distribution system was designed to serve the political and private interests.
This paper draws attention to the limitations of the formal model of governance which does not pay attention to social and political relationships and porous public–private boundaries. Kinship ties and moral obligations deeply affect the official provision of water. State officials constantly deal with these relationships and face extreme difficulties in upholding public interest. The analyses of access to water supply enable us to examine the intrusion of social norms into official norms on one hand, and the porous public-private boundaries on the other. These boundaries constantly shape administrative practices as well as stakeholder interactions and negotiations. This is the actual landscape of governance in which citizens have to negotiate access to public and collective services.
The event can also be watched live at http://www.sdpi.tv/live.php
Chair: Dr Nafisa Shah, MNA & Chairperson, National Commission for Human Development
Dr Shehryar Toru, Governance Specialist and Research Fellow, SDPI