CSS and PMS Solved Essays | Implications of Bad Governance for Pakistan
Quratulain Babar, a Sir Syed Kazim Ali student, has attempted the CSS essay “Implications of Bad Governance for Pakistan” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.
2-What is Bad Governance?
3-Current Situation of Governance in Pakistan
4-Implications of Bad Governance for Pakistan
- ✓Identity crisis
- The feelings of alienation can lead to identity crisis in masses
- Case in point: Like East Pakistanis, the nationalist feelings among the people of Baluchistan may lead to the demand of a separate state
- ✓Civil war-like situation
- Bad governance has the potential to escalate into civil war
- Case in point: One such manifestation of bad governance is the Syrian civil war of 2011
- ✓The breakdown of federation
- The inability of the government to make inclusive policies may lead to the penetration of secessionist elements
- Case in point: The fate of Baluchistan can be the same as that of East Pakistan
- ✓Imposition of martial law
- The state’s inability to govern can lead to the imposition of martial law
- Case in point: The country has faced such repercussions many times before; for example, Ayub Khan, like other martial law administrators, imposed martial law in the name of the inability of civilian leadership to govern
- ✓Chances of Pakistan becoming a failed state
- Failure to address the governance issue could lead to Pakistan becoming a failed state
- Case in point: Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia are just some examples of states so weak that the central government has no effective control over major regions within the formal territorial borders
- ✓Dire economic repercussions
- Governance crisis has severe economic implications for the country
- Case in point: Situation of Afghanistan after Taliban takeover is the demonstration of the lack of trust in the government, resulting in huge economic loses
- ✓Threats from hostile neighbors
- A hostile neighbor like India may exploit the country’s internal challenges for its benefits
- Case in point: India can manipulate Pakistan’s internal situation to break the country as it did during the formation of Bangladesh
5-Ways to Counter the Peril Bad Governance in Pakistan
- ✓To strengthen local governments
- ✓To empower civil society
- ✓To reduce corruption
With its immense socio-economic ramifications, the crisis of bad governance has become a critical issue in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the widening gap between the governing and the governed, erosion of trust in state institutions, deteriorating law and order situation, and poor service delivery depict the country’s saddening state of governance. For instance, according to a report released by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), “The government cannot provide even safe drinking water to its citizens, let alone other necessities of the masses.” If this menace is not curbed immediately, this may have huge implications for the country. For example, bad governance may lead to civil war, resulting in an emergency-like situation. Further, security threats, economic repercussions, and the breakdown of federation may grapple the country if the issue remains unaddressed. However, certain pragmatic policy measures, such as empowering local governments, improving administration, and strengthening the rule of law, would nudge the republic from totalitarianism to egalitarianism, oppression to kindness, and fear to trust. The leaders should realize the gravity of the situation and pay heed to Goethe’s words: “It is bad governance, not bad people that causes revolutions.”
Understanding the meaning of the term, bad governance is mainly the relationship between the governing authority and those being governed due to decision-making. It entails systemic corruption, lack of openness and accountability, arbitrary policy-making, and the deception of those who are ruled. This can result in many repercussions for a country, including state failure, sluggish economic growth, and a rise in corruption. According to the World Bank, “A country is deemed to have poor governance if the value of any or all indicators – voice and accountability, the rule of law, regulatory quality, the control of corruption, and government effectiveness – is less than or close to -2.5.” Thus, bad governance is a menace to its growth and progression.
Currently, Pakistan is at a critical juncture as it is facing the worst governance crisis in decades. Unfortunately, bad governance exists in the country through corruption, institutional clashes, constitutional disaster, poor service delivery, income inequalities, absence of accountability, and poor condition of law and order. Moreover, the government’s unpreparedness and ad hoc response to the widespread devastations caused by recent floods is testimony to the incompetence of the state apparatus. According to the World Bank’s development of collection indicators, “The country is currently ranked at 37.5pc (percentile) with –0.4 score on government effectiveness.” Indeed, the failure of public sector governance at all levels and across all institutions (Political, Judicial, and Executive) continues to afflict the country and exacerbate the enormity of all development challenges- peace and security, poverty and hunger, ignorance and disease, and achievement of the national development goals.
Moving forward, this situation, if not rectified, may lead to grave implications for the country. First, the feeling of alienation can lead to an identity crisis among the masses. It refers to uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, giving rise to nationalist feelings. For example, the government has failed to address the grievances of the marginalized, and one of many manifestations of this can be seen in the Baloch insurgency, where a sizeable ethnic group feels politically excluded and economically marginalized. The ultimate consequence of this situation is the rise of nationalism in the people of Baluchistan. This situation is not unfamiliar to the country as it has witnessed such dire implications of bad governance. To illustrate, the nationalist feelings among the people of East Pakistan were the direct outcome of the incompetence of management. Because of the economic and political exploitation of the masses of East Pakistan, they felt alienated and excluded from governance, which created an identity crisis in them. This is the testimony of how poor governance can lead to an identity crisis in the citizens. Thus, bad management can lead to similar consequences for Pakistan.
Furthermore, bad governance can potentially escalate into a civil war – a war between factions within a state trying to create or prevent a new government for the entire state or some territorial part – in Pakistan. For instance, situations, like income inequality, trust deficit in state institutions, and feelings of economic and political exclusion among the marginalized may result in citizens supporting rebellious elements. Many states in the world have faced such grave repercussions of bad governance. To illustrate, the research by Mahdi Karimi shows that lack of free and fair elections, low level of the rule of law, high level of corruption, lack of voice and accountability, exclusion of different interest groups, inequity, and government ineffectiveness in Syria resulted in the civil war of 2011 and its lasting. This illustrates that the infiltration of rebellious forces becomes inevitable if a state fails to govern effectively. Hence, Pakistan’s grim governance situation may lead to a civil war.
Another implication of bad governance could be the breakdown of federation. The inability of the government to make inclusive policies may lead to the penetration of secessionist elements, which can result in the demand for a separate homeland. The rudimentary signs of this dire consequence can be demonstrated in Baloch separatist movements and the situation in the region of erstwhile FATA. The masses living there feel excluded from state policies and are easily manipulated by rebellious forces that may eventually lead to secessionist movements. The country has already undergone the bitter experience of such movements. For example, the Dhaka Fall was mainly due to the government’s unjust economic policies that benefited West Pakistan at the expense of East Pakistan. Consequently, this neglect gave birth to the nationalism in the people of East Pakistan that ultimately ended in the breakdown of Pakistan. Thus, if the country’s governance is not prioritized, this could have worse implications, one of which is the breakdown of the country.
In addition, the state’s inability to govern can lead to the imposition of martial law. When a state does not meet the expectations of its citizens, a vacuum is created between the governing and the governed, allowing non-political forces to fill the void. For example, less than 50% of the bureaucracy is operating in Baluchistan, which has created room for the military to take charge of the province. Similarly, governance issues at the national level could result in emergency-like situations, increasing the chances of a military takeover. To illustrate, Ayub Khan imposed martial law by calling the civilian government incapable of solving governance issues. This indicates that apolitical forces can fill the void of bad governance between the government and citizens. Such implications may recur if the governance structure is not revamped.
Moreover, the failure to address the governance issue could lead to Pakistan becoming a failed state that lacks the government’s primary institutions and capacities – taxing, policing, upholding the rule of law, protecting property, providing public roads and services, and maintaining control over territory. The situation will make the country susceptible to many internal and external threats, such as varieties of civil unrest, different degrees of communal discontent, a plethora of dissent directed at the state and the groups within the states, and security threats from terrorists. Many countries in the developing world face the same consequences and are sovereign more in name than in reality. To illustrate, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia are just some examples of states so weak that the central government has no effective control over significant regions within the formal territorial borders. These ungoverned territories provide attack havens for non-state criminal and terrorist groups to operate, offering training sites and launching pads for transnational operations. These failed states serve as glaring examples of bad governance. Such a dire situation could be Pakistan’s fate if the governance crises continue to accentuate.
Besides, the governance crisis has severe economic implications for the country. Poor law and order, tax evasion, corruption, and security issues erode the investors’ trust in the government, resulting in capital flight. This can be seen in Pakistan’s decrease in foreign and domestic investment. The issue can exacerbate to unsustainable levels, pushing the country to the verge of economic catastrophe. Such demonstrations can be observed in Afghanistan. After the Taliban Takeover, the country’s economy shrank by 20-30% as hundreds of thousands left the country and Afghan businesses were downsized. Moreover, the country’s foreign exchange reserves were frozen, and foreign banks felt reluctant to do business with the country. This was the consequence of the lack of trust in the Taliban regime. Therefore, economic meltdown is an unavoidable consequence of Pakistan’s poor governance.
Further, a hostile neighbour like India may exploit the country’s internal challenges for its benefit. Pakistan’s governance crisis may result in civil unrest or emergency-like situations, allowing antagonistic elements to come into play. The country faced such consequences many decades ago; for instance, India was central to the crisis and separation of former East Pakistan. In fact, India adopted a tetra-pronged strategy toward East Pakistan: exploited the feelings of deprivation among East Pakistani masses, created a situation for refugees and manipulated it, provided arms to the rebels, and invaded East Pakistan by violating international borders. Currently, the grievances of the people of Baluchistan are no different from those of the then East Pakistanis as they feel economically and politically deprived. If their problems are not addressed, history may repeat itself.
However, Pakistan can only avert such implications by taking pragmatic measures to improve its governance mechanism. First, the government should strengthen local governments as they play a pivotal role in service delivery. Indeed, meaningful empowerment of communities through decentralization and delegation of authority, where the local government system plays a crucial role, would foster increased trust, cohesion, and harmony in society. According to the World Bank Development Report, the accountability of governments to local communities and marginalized social groups will increase by assigning service delivery functions to closer politicians and the people, making them electorally accountable. Moreover, the devolution of authority to local tiers of government and decentralization can bring in representation of local businesses and interests.
Moreover, civil society needs to be strengthened by allowing them to participate in governance. This can be done by conducting surveys. In Peru, for example, the remarkable NGO ‘Ciudadanos al Dia’ has implemented a tool for measuring satisfaction with government agencies at the national and local levels. This custom-designed survey is administered through a private agency rather than the government. The findings help diagnose where citizens are least satisfied in local, regional, and national governments. Moreover, the media can become an ally in pursuing good governance and publicizing progress to help citizens and civil servants avoid cynicism. Such steps can help Pakistan improve its governance and address citizens’ grievances.
Adding more to it, corruption at all levels of the government must be curbed, and the key is to focus on systems and not individuals. To illustrate, many corrupt systems are politically entrenched, meaning powerful interests want to preserve them. They rely on secrecy in recruiting participants, making and enforcing contracts, making payments, and hiding illicit gains. Each of these steps constitutes vulnerability in the corrupt system. Understanding these weaknesses can enable the country to subvert corruption. The needed measures go beyond prevention to interventions against organized crime. Further, transparency can be improved by enhancing the flow of information among citizens, business leaders, and the government. These flows will create feedback loops that improve efficiency and reduce the scope for theft, fraud, and bribery.
In conclusion, the country is facing the worst governance crisis as its performance in all governance indicators is poor. If this issue is not resolved, it can lead to grave implications for Pakistan, threatening its national integrity. For instance, identity crisis, economic meltdown, and the breakdown of federation are the primary consequences of the governance jeopardy the country is facing. Moreover, security threats from non-state actors and the neighbouring countries may also be the nation’s fate if this evil is not curbed. Therefore, for the country to escape its self-inflicted Bermuda Island, the pillars of the state need to get out of winter slumber blankets and address the governance issues. This can be done by empowering the civil society and local governments. Unless this issue is not resolved, a socio-economic meltdown and trust deficit between the state and the citizenry is inevitable.
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