Good Governance

Since the draw of civilization man has been striving hard t manage his affairs systematically. The desire to become systematic to the point and precise has led human being to develop variety of disciplines . These disciplines with the march of civilization failed to keep pace with the human driving force. Resultantly new avenues are sought for governance. In the case of Pakistan mismanagement has become a hallmark of out management. It is casting dark shadow son our , institutional setup, our cultural norms and above all our credibility in the comity of nations.

Forced by the mismanagement, wide spread corruption and dis functioning of the national institution different governments introduced a number of reforms to stem the decline. For this purpose the Nawaz Sharif government initiated serious efforts. But with the unseating of this, government and military taking over, this pace appeals to have gathered pace. For better governance institutions were setup by the military, which are making plausible efforts to achieve their objectives.

Good governance may be defined as that kind of government that is citizen – friendly. It has three major dimensions: Political, Economic and Civic.

  • In the political sense, governance may be defined as the will and the ability of the government to protect and promote the fundamental rights and liberties of the people.
  • In economic sphere, it is the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country‘s economic and social resources for development.
  • In its civic sense, the good civic government is that which allows the society to flourish. In a civil society the rights of an individual liberty, free speech, equal opportunities, education etc. are guaranteed by the law .In a civil society collective sense of responsibility prevails.

As the crisis of governance deepens and public confidence in government institutions erodes, there is an urgent need for reform to reinforce the linkages between the state and society. The reasons for this sense of urgency and sense of depression are not far to seek. These may be enumerated as following:

Good governance is needed for sustaining and maintaining a sound political system in a country. In Pakistan we can see that the failure of democracy is due to bad governance. Every government failure of democracy is due to bad governance. Every government comes with great slogans to serve the nation but once it gets charge, it forgets it forgets its promises of serving the people. Every P.M. includes in his cabinet the ministers of his own choice and grabs all the powers while managing the national affairs. The P.M. and his ministers become to self serving. In this way they provide handle to the opposition to stir up the angered public opinion. The aim of the opposition is always to bring down the government. When the situation gets totally out of control, it forces the Army to intervene often cutting the lifetime of the government and democracy. All such actions lead to political instability. It seeks to underline the need of good governance which in turn would yield political stability in the country.

Good governance is needed to make both the public and private sectors effective. A well governed country has also both these sectors well administered and in harmony with each other. When a country is not politically sound its institutions will also be in poor condition. Cohesion between these sectors is impossible in the absence of good governance. In our country we can see the due to the bad governance our public and private sectors are in a great mess.

Every institution of public sector is suffering from mal-administration and worst king of corruption. The people reluctantly visit these institutions because they know the truants and dishonest elements would not lend half an ear shoes palm is always itching. Even for public utilities task, people have to offer bribe. Without any favour or bribe it s very difficult to get any work done from the public offices. Moreover, due to the malpractices of the public officials and misappropriation of public funds the infrastructure of public institutions has become cracked and a situation like chaos is prevailing all over the country, So, good governance is strictly needed in order to make governmental machinery effective.


Whereas good governance is needed for the smooth running of public institutions, it is also essential for maintaining the sovereignty of the country. If a country is poorly governed and there is a political instability, its enemies find opportunities in this situation and try to undermine it. While a badly governed country has many other problems to solve, it can not ensure its security. A good governed country is economically strong and all the departments of the country function smoothly. It enables the rulers to strengthen the country’s security.

Good governance is essential to reap the fruit of globalization. As we all know that globalization is a fast spreading phenomenon which also has negative aspects due to the low quality products. The problem of law and order that is the outcome of bad governance is also a hindrance in reaping the benefits of globalization.

In Pakistan, there have been repeated military interventions into political governance from time to time. Although country has witnessed democratic regimes as well, but there has been constant experimentation with democracy in the last 50 years. That is shy no comprehensive system of governance could evolve.

This poetical chaos started with the dissolution of 1 constituent assembly in the most undemocratic and arbitrary manner by Governor General Ghulam Mohammad in 1954. Since then Pakistan’s internal strife has been plaguing including constitutional crises. He replaced Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din by Mohammad Ali Bogra. Then foreign Ambassador of Pakistan in the United States. In the second cabinet of Mohammad Alil Bogra, Mohammad Ayub Khan, then C-in-C, was included. While paving the way of military’s involvement in the country’s political affairs, culminating in the imposition of ML in 1958.

The first Martial Law was imposed by Ayub Khan in 1958 and lasted till 1969. He abrogated the constitution of 1965. He introduced Presidential system with indirect elections. His era was known as “Decade of Development” which later on proved to be “Decade of Exploitation” as his policy of privatization widened the gap between “haves” and “have nots”. The national wealth was concentrated into the Ayub also created resentment among the students. Although economic indicators improved significantly during Ayub’s Martial lust for power prevented him from leaving his high position with impossible and Ayub’s regime resulted in total fiasco (confusion).

In April 1969 General Yahya assumed lasted control of the country and again Martial Law lasted till 1971. He abrogated the constitution of 1962, banned all political activates and dissolved National and Provincial Assemblies. Yahya’s Military regime in the history of Pakistan was something of love’s labours lost because there was no improvement or progress in any sphere of life. Rather there was a visible decline in political, social and economic spheres. Above all the country, was dismembered and the eastern wing broke away to emerge as an independent sovereign state of Bangladesh. His only aim was to transfer power to an elected body by holding free and fair elections. Yahya lived up to his promise of holding fair election which were held in 970 but instead of paving the way of smooth transfer of power, the results of the election sowed the seeds of disintegration which eventually led to the formation of Bangladesh in 1971. The loss of East Pakistan in 1971 war and the dismemberment of the country ill-reputed the Pakistan Army. The army rule could not continue and Yahya had no alternative but to quit by handing over power to Z.A Bhutto.

Z.A Bhutto was the chairman of PPP, which secured majority in West Pakistan in election of 1970. For the first time people of consequence, populist regime set in. the success of Populist or Bonaparte’s leader depends upon its ability to manipulate certain institutions like bureaucracy, army, etc. Bhutto possessed a charismatic personality. He introduced the concept of “Islamic Socialism”. According to him

”Islam is our faith. Democracy our policy, Socialism our economy and all power to the people”.

He raised the slogan of providing basic necessities to the people like Roti, Kapra and Makan. His economic policy was totally different. In 1972, he undertook a massive “nationalization” programme in which he nationalized all those industries set up in the private sector. In first phase 31 units were nationalized which fell under 10 categories. They were iron and steel Industries, basic metals, heavy engineering etc. In second phase 1073-74, he undertook second phase of nationalization which people were not expecting. It created great panic among the industrialist, as they were not expecting the nationalization was not an extensive exercise and could not arrest inflation effectively as it was planned to do so. The PPP government public enterprises were controlled by BIM.

The land reforms introduced by Bhutto also could not yield the desired results as landlords anticipated such reforms in advance and transferred surplus land in names of their other family member, relatives or even made lease-back arrangement with tenants. However, his labour reforms in 1972-73 enhanced the prestige and status of labour class and safeguarded their rights effectively. He was the only head go government who was allowed to enjoy his tenure properly from 1970-1977.

Again Martial Law intervened in 1977 and the so-called popular leader elected by common people through dubious elections was hanged. Whatever the circumstances were, the step was unconstitutional. Zia’s Martial Regime was supposed to be the shortest one but it turned out to be the longest in the history of Pakistan. Zia did not abrogate the constitution o f1973 but suspended. At that point of time a strong Pakistan from military point of view was needed because of Afghan problem and the revolution of Iran. Both of then could have their repercussions beyond their boundaries. Zia’s regime opened the gates of foreign aid in Pakistan as country was going through adverse economic crises.

Besides, Zia undertook massive Islamic programme in order to seek legitimacy of his prolonged rule. He issued various ordinances to bring existing laws in line with principles of Quran and Sunnah. He decided to promulgate 1973 Constitution with necessary amendments. He passed his famous 8 amendment curtailing the power of head of government through article 58 2(b) and provided significant power to the president who could dissolve National Assembly whenever he thinks that need has arisen.

He held local elections in 1983 on non-party basis. Then he held referendum in 1984 and main aim was to seek public mandate for Zia’s various steps, which he had already taken since 1977. In January 1985, he held general elections which were also on non-party basis. It became difficult to choose P.M and C.M from elected assemblies.

Hanpicked civilian Govt. of Mohammad Ali Khan Junejo was placed in but it found it very difficult to work while country was still under Martial Law Regime. The Government of Junejo was fired in 1988 through the special power enjoyed by Zia because of 8 amendment. The government was dismissed on the plea of Ojhri Camp disaster. Corruption charges were leveled against it and also due to the early signing of the Geneva Accord by Junejo without the consent of President Zia. Holding of Round Table Conference by Junejo also annoyed Zia in which various political parties were invited. On 18 August 1988, president Zia airplane C-130 crashed near Bahawalpur. He died along with top brass military generals on the spot. Thus another military civilian regime ended in a tragic manner.

The General elections were held in 1988 on party basis by the president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Many ethnic, political and regional parties participated in these general elections. The PPP bagged 93 seats followed by Islami Jamhoori Ittehad claiming over 60 seats in National Assembly. As a result, Benazir became PM of Pakistan on 1 December 1988. The govt. was dissolved in 1990 due to the corruption charges leveled against her by president of that time.

Then next elections were held in October 1990 an this time Islami Jamhoori Ittehad got majority and hence Nawaz Sharif became PM. This government was also dismissed in 1993 by Ghulam Ishaq Khan on plea of corruption, nepotism and ethnic strife.

Again elections were held in 1993 and Benazir became PM but this government was also dissolved on corruption charges in 1996.

Election were again held on 2 February 1997, and Nawaz Sharif came into power. The results were amazing for everyone. The PML (N) made clean sweep in the elections and got a wide majority. But in 1999 a military coup took place led by General Musharraf. The Army was yet again in power promising again of smooth transfer of power to grass root level within 3 years.

Causes of Bad Governance

Since the establishment of Pakistan Army has always had a strong desire to have a permanent place in the political setup of country. The 4 military regimes are the proof of this. Pakistan’s history is studded with coups and coup like actions that have affected the character of the civilian governments and their working.

It’s quite clear that four governments before the Ayub Regime and all the governments after Zia were dismissed because they were guilty of corruption, mal administration, nepotism, and ethnic strife.

All the Governments after Junejo were characterized by the royal style of the Prime Minister that was true in case of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif because of their extravagant style of living i.e. Raiwind Palaces and Surrey Palace respectively.

All the previous heads of governments both civilian and military and also the politicians they exercised absolutism in style and mentality. They did not realize that their foremost duty was to serve the people not just to misrule them. Politicians during the last 50 years have not exhibited responsible attitude.

People elect the PM, his cabinet and the members of assemblies through ballot. But it has often happened that an indirectly elected president comes and dismisses the government who has secured the mandate from public. This is highly undemocratic, unconstitutional, and it has been happening in our political history due to the 8 amendment passed by The Zia regime. Zia dismissed Junejo’s government; Ghulam Ishaq dissolved Benazir and Nawaz governments respectively. Balance is not maintained between powers of incompetent governance.

Our constitution does not provide an effective system of check and balance. That is why when a civilian government is elected, it becomes omnipotent i.e. all powerful which gives rise to corruption and mal-administration. There is no effective system of governance which can keep check on the decisions and the steps taken by PM and his cabinet. Judiciary must be made strong enough to keep a check over the legislation by the government.

In Pakistan except Bhotto’s government, no government has completed its expected life span. After Junejo, many governments were disbanded in the period of 9 years. This game of power musical chair has seriously affected the economic and social progress of our country.

The political chaos prevailing in the country has led to grave economic condition. Now our country is on the verge of bankruptcy for some years and of being and of being declared insolvent. A feeling of hopelessness is going o. Increasing unemployment has led to “brain drain” which is alarming for the very survival of our dear homeland. This continuously deteriorating economic situation is detrimental to effective and results oriented governance the Present government has reversed this pattern.

People are also responsible for their misfortunes because they have not exerted themselves. They have failed to participate in the affairs of the state. They have allowed governments to misgovern and mismanage the economy.

In Pakistan, bureaucrats have also tried to gain political power. The examples of bureaucrats turned politicians are present here. These bureaucrats exercise undue influence and make politicians dance on their tunes. They have done enormous changes to the previous government setups by giving rise to red tapes.

Political parties have not done their job properly of inculcating political awareness among the masses. Most of the times they have failed to mobilize public opinion. Instead of securing confidence of the people, they introduced horse trading which has shattered the confidence of people in politicians and political parties. Moreover, political parties led to extreme political polarization in the society which affected the law and order situation in the country. Karachi provides the best example.

The people should be represented from the grass root to the highest level throng their representatives. This democratic process should be fair to accommodate the aspirations of the man in the street throng effective governance.

In order to attain quality of governance, people instead of the accountability of the previous or failed rulers, must ask for participation in decision making and in the execution of the policies evolved through a democratic consultative process.

In order to have an effect system of governance, participation of women should be ensured as according to the latest count men: women ratio is 48:52 respectively. The number of seats that are taken negligible; it’s almost non-existent at the moment.

For proper governance the role of army in the political setup of the areas of operation of all institutions of the state like army, bureaucracy and the government.

Independence of judiciary must be maintained which can exercise an effective system of check and balance and can prevent politicians from abuse of power.

Economic and political stability are deeply interlinked. Without one the other can not be obtained.so government must evolve strait and requires a major re-structuring. Then continuity of policy is required without which no result would be obtained.

People must be educated without which they can not protect their rights. Press can play a vital role in creating awareness among people regarding their problems and their solutions. In this way people would be able to demand their rights and will perform their duties in a more organized way. Thus, we can say without proper civic sense good and effective governance can not be obtained.

this is high time that consensus must be developed among the people that what system of government can suit them better. Keeping in view the pluralistic society of Pakistan, federal system of government can serve people better but sufficient powers must be given to the provinces in order to tackle problems of the people in an appropriate way. Direct system of election must be introduced and governments must be allowed to complete their tenure.

The crucial importance of good governance can be witnessed by the experience of East Asian countries. Between 1965 and 1990, the region registered the highest growth rate in the world and combined it with high living standards. The single most important factor in this economic miracle was the fact that these countries were able to put in place sound and sustainable framework.

It is not that Swiss and Swedes are inherently blessed with grater honesty and integrity than Pakistanis. But difference lies in the institutions, laws and traditions of civil society that have been created by the law. The wrong doer there invites the immediate wrath of law, receives a fair trial of law without adjournment and is awarded appropriate punishment.