Published Date: Mar 31, 2012
WEAK GOVERNANCE MAIN CAUSE OF PAKISTAN?S POVERTY
Weak governance is responsible for persistent poverty and lagging human development in Pakistan, said Shabbir Cheema, Director, Asia-Pacific ‘Governance and Democracy Initiative, USA.
He was delivering a lecture on “Governance for human development” and said that unfortunately, government’s efforts at improving human development had miserably failed in Pakistan, and the reasons are lack of vision at policy level, absence of competence and commitment by political and bureaucratic management and a strong feudal culture that influences governance in the country.
He said Pakistan’ needs a continuity of democratic process, strong civil society, hard economic decisions and increase in internal revenue generation which will enable the country to have democratic and effective governance at various levels that delivers.
Cheema was of the view that democratic governments cannot survive long if they do not build and sustain trust of citizens, which is difficult to build and easy to lose in this age of information.
He said, although citizen’s trust in government is promoted by democratic governance, it is not sufficient to sustain. He said positive aspect in Pakistan is that now actors from all state institutions want democratic processes to continue, and for the first time in its history an elected government is likely to complete its term.
“Pakistan has a resilient society and only if its governance is improved, the gaps between Pakistan’s potential and it performance can be bridged. Currently Pakistan has several opportunities for change in the form of vibrant’ civil society, open and free media, rise of independent judiciary, huge resource base and individual entrepreneurship that can be utilised for ensuring human development the country,” he went on commenting.
Shabbir Cheema highlighted significance and interrelations of governance with human development. He said, governance crisis is evident in widespread corruption, inefficient public services, and a host of other failures. Cheema said, Pakistan’s poor rating at World Governance Indicator (WGI) and Human Development Indicator (HDI) reflects that Pakistan needs to take drastic steps to improve governance and welfare of its citizens.
He expressed that weak governance in Pakistan is constraining its ability to cope with core social and development issues which are sustainable economic growth, poverty eradication, education, health, water, energy shortages and radicalisation of the society. He said traditional governance concept comes with hierarchical bureaucratic systems, which only focuses on the maintenance of law and order and the provision of basic infrastructure and services. He said, now broader concept of governance identifies three sets of actors, the state, civil society and the private sector that co-produce the governance.
He also shared various indicators that measure effectiveness of governance such as people’s voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, and regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption.
Cheema also said that the external factors and powers had been playing a key role into Pakistan’s today’s situation adding that end game in Afghanistan will have major impact on Pakistan.