In the discipline of international relations (IR), good governance and efficient leadership are regarded very significant intangible sources of national power. Since its inception as an independent state, Pakistan has been plagued by lingering and insidious bad governance. Presumably, all of the existing political and socio-economic issues of the country are chiefly attributive to the deeply-seated ineffective leadership.
Good governance is a prerequisite to the democratic continuity and uninterrupted prosperity of a country. There is a range of examples which clearly spotlight that even resource-strapped nations have become economically prosperous and militarily powerful only with the help of good governance. In the Far East Asia, even though Japan, Taiwan and Singapore are devoid of required natural resources, they have still made strides on all fronts only because of competent leadership. On the other side, Pakistan is replete with precious natural resources, but the country is still lagging far behind owing to entrenched bad governance and brewing leadership crisis.
To impartially assess the level of good governance in Pakistan, it is imperative to take into consideration some pre-determined parameters of quality governance identified by the World Bank (WB). According to the WB, maximum participation in governance is the first and foremost precondition of good governance. Arguably, the politics in the country is quite exclusionary rather than inclusive. Dynastic and hereditary politicians have largely monopolized the power corridors since 1950. Such powerful and influential politicians heavily rely on immense wealth and tentacles to readily purchase votes from the poor and uneducated people. Thus, the politically educated youth barely get to reach the assemblies. Therefore, the country is deprived of the competence of the youth required to expedite the development process.
Competence, effectiveness and efficacy are also some ingredients of good governance. These qualities mean that the leadership possesses the capacity and capability to create result-oriented policies meant to attain maximum delivery of public services. The incumbent government seems to be lacking in all of these qualities. All of the legislative assemblies in the country are oblivious of needed legislations, and they mostly make unnecessary and defective laws. Most of the acts passed by the government dismally fail to meet the required demands of the ever-increasing population. Many a policy crafted by the government results in further misuse and misapplication of dwindling cash.
Impartial accountability and responsibility also play a central role in good governance. Almost all public institutions and office-bears are largely unaccountable to competent authorities regarding their discharge of constitutional responsibility. Against the principle of parliamentary democracy, the ministers of the executive departments are not responsible to the legislative body. The national investigative agencies and accountability bureaus are toothless to look into the corrupt practices and irregularities committed by the potent and wealthy politicians and bureaucrats.
Last but not the least, the rule of law is of paramount importance for the sustainability of effectual leadership. The concept of the rule of law means that all and sundry are regulated by the same law of the country, and office-bearers are not treated with special laws. Moreover, whenever anybody violates the law, he is promptly punished by the same law. In our country, influential politicians and powerful criminals are above the law who possess the money and potency to escape from punishment. On the other side, powerless ordinary people are brought to book whenever they commit serious crimes.
The writer edits The Asia Watch.