Governance in Pakistan: Issues, Challenges, and Ways Forward

Issues and Challenges of Governance in Pakistan

The following article, “Governance in Pakistan: Issues, Challenges, and Ways Forward“, is written by Baber Ali, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. In this article, we discuss the Issues and Challenges of Governance in Pakistan. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

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1- Introduction

  • ✓The issue of bad governance has wreaked havoc in Pakistan as it has increased the trust deficit between the underprivileged and the state.
  • ✓Consequently, it has become a source of national disintegration without transparency, accountability, and political stability.
  • ✓However, certain remedial measures, such as maintaining political stability and a strong accountability mechanism, can ensure good governance in the country.

2- What is the current situation of governance in the country?

  • ✓The country is at 124th position out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2020.
  • ✓The country is 138th out of 167 on the Legatum Prosperity Index.

3- How has bad governance affected the country?

  • ✓Surging human rights violation
  • ✓Increasing trust deficit between the underprivileged and the state
  • ✓Hampering national integration
  • ✓Representing the tarnished image of the country

4- What are the leading causes of bad governance in the country?

  • ✓The Escalating political instability
  • ✓A Dilute accountability mechanism
  • ✓The Surging condition of transparency
  • ✓The Declining judicial system
  • ✓The Existence of non-participatory culture

5- What remedial measures must be taken to deal with the issue effectively?

  • ✓To ensure political stability
  • ✓To strengthen accountability process
  • ✓To make public matters related information available to everyone 
  • ✓To overhaul judiciary
  • ✓To promote public participation

6- Critical Analysis

7- Conclusion

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Answer to the Question


The menace of lousy governance has become an existential threat to the country without accountability, transparency, and public participation. It has not only flamed the fires of national disintegration but also created an unbridgeable gap between the disadvantaged and the state, which might result in the bifurcation of the country once again. Due to the aggravated situation of misgovernment, the country needs to improve its position in the Legatum Prosperity Index. To address the issue of bad governance, the country has to eradicate its root causes: the escalating political instability and the diluted accountability mechanism. For this, certain pragmatic steps to ensure political stability and strengthen the accountability process are a must. By and large, if the issue of bad governance remains unaddressed, its ramifications could prove potentially lethal for the whole country. 

Current Situation of Governance in Pakistan

The state of governance in the country presents a grim picture. It has become a stumbling block in social, political, and economic development.  The country is at 124th position out of 180 countries as per the reports of the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2020 issued by Transparency International. Furthermore, on the Legatum Prosperity Index, the country’s position is more or less similar, at 138th out of 167 countries.  Hence, the misgovernment has disturbed the peace and prosperity of the country.

The Impacts of Bad Governance upon the Country

Bad governance has affected the country badly, giving rise to human rights violations. According to Article 25A of the country’s 1973 constitution, the state should provide free and compulsory education to all children from five to sixteen years of age. However, due to rampant corruption, the fulfilment of this article has remained a dream since the country’s inception. Besides, poor public service delivery has also widened the trust deficit gap between the underprivileged and the state’s institutions. These institutions have failed to ensure transparency, initiate accountability, and strengthen the rule of law. Consequently, the problems of this section have hardly been addressed, which has jolted the confidence of these people in the state.

The Analysis of the Impacts of Bad Governance

In addition, national disintegration finds its origin in bad governance. It has been aptly said by Dr Hafeez Pasha, “The state that fails to uplift its people’s living standard fails to develop national cohesion.”  It has happened because all major stakeholders are not taken on board during the decision-making on an issue of paramount importance, which has surged separatist movements in the country. Furthermore, the misgovernment has displayed the country’s tarnished image to the world. All across the globe, the country is perceived as economically backward, socially disintegrated, and politically unstable. For this reason, the country is 138th out of 167 countries on the Legatum Prosperity Index.

“Whenever bad governance exceeds its limits, it becomes a curse not for a section of society but for the whole nation.”

Dr Ishrat Hussain

The Major Culprits behind the Menace of Bad Governance Prevailed in the Country

Political instability has been one of the major factors leading to ineffective, inefficient public service delivery in the country. It surfaces in many ways; however, the most recurrent and lethal manifestation of political chaos is the evil designs of the political parties in opposition. The opposition parties leave no stone unturned to topple the existing government, which breeds a tussle between the two and results in a deadlock over every significant issue. Furthermore, the poor accountability system has also affected the governance in the country. Despite having multiple agencies, it has hardly been observed that a corrupt official is punished with exemplary punishment. The reason is that every government serves its vested interests by intervening in accountability drives made by these institutions.

In addition, the lack of transparency has also added insult to the injury. The information regarding a public matter is not disclosed, and top-notch bureaucrats and politicians make decisions without consulting all stakeholders. Moreover, the judiciary’s failure has hampered the country’s governance. The reason is that the judicial organ of the state has failed to deliver speedy justice to the oppressed due to prevailing corruption, existing incompetent judges, and an increasing number of evil-minded lawyers. Consequently, it shakes their confidence in the rule of law – a significant indicator of governance – and builds a perception that the principle of might is right is the law of the land. Besides this, the lack of public participation also aggravates the country’s bad governance situation. A large section of society does not participate because they are either illiterate or don’t take an interest in political affairs, which results in a few corrupt and evil-minded people exploiting resources. This way, bad governance finds its feet without public participation.

“The existence of weak institutions in a country is the surety of bad governance in the country.”

Dr Akbar Ali Zaidi

The Pragmatic Measures to Get Rid of the Crisis

The country can eliminate the issue of bad governance by ensuring strong accountability and crystal-clear transparency. For this, the respective institutions must be made autonomous and self-sufficient in their matters because this is the only way to conduct their accountability drives properly and, consequently, eradicate the menace of corruption effectively. Furthermore, overhauling the judicial system can play a pivotal role in uplifting the country’s governance system. The reason is that the judiciary has the potential to implement the principle of the rule of law, which can boost the confidence of the masses in the state.

Besides, political stability can also help uplift the living standard of its people. On the one hand, it paves the way for peace and prosperity by attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and making society inclusive. On the other hand, it makes the process of policy implementation easy. Moreover, to promote public participation, the country can make effective policies to improve the governance situation within its boundaries. To achieve this, the country must work on educating its citizens because it is the education that can give them a better understanding of their issues. As a result, they must participate in matters related to public issues, resulting in comprehensive and issue-oriented policy formulation.

“Good governance is the key to the prosperity of the country.”

Prof. Andres Velasco – Dean of the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics

Critical Analysis

Bad governance has not only hampered the socio-economic development but also jolted the country’s very foundations.  To make sense of it, the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is the best possible example. How the USSR disintegrated remained a question for analysts for nearly two to three years after its disintegration. However, it can now surely be said that, besides other assisting factors, it was the hybrid warfare behind this historic and world order-changing event, and the menace of hybrid war undoubtedly finds its feet where bad governance prevails. Therefore, Pakistan must take the issue of bad governance seriously because the failure of effective and efficient public service delivery to its masses might lead to another bifurcation of the country.


To conclude, whether it is the surging human rights violations, increasing trust deficit, or prevailing crisis of national integration, every impact has not only surfaced itself after the failure of the country to ensure good governance but also given colossal damage to its socio-economic development. With this plight, the country cannot materialise its dream of becoming a developed nation. However, concrete steps, such as bringing political stability, overhauling the judiciary, and encouraging public participation, can surmount the insurmountable giant of bad governance. 

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