Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development in Pakistan. The present condition of governance in Pakistan is not satisfactory. There are many problems stimulate as barriers for good governance. To ensure sound local development, action should be taken to work towards achieving good governance. Considering Pakistan’s history of politics, the country is still struggling to improve in terms of political stability and governance. Unfortunately, development has not been stable, mainly due to political will and commitment. Democracy and governance in Pakistan, still plagued by corruption, outdated laws, abuse of human rights, the absence of rule of law, non-accountability, and heavy politicization of most of the government institutions including the lower judicial system. It is observed that we need strong political leadership with a commitment to fight against deep-rooted corruption, non-accountability, non-transparency and inefficiency is imperative for establishing good governance and to ensure sustainable development.Pakistan, a typical developing country in South Asia in terms of a large population, low per capita income, the persistent trade deficit and an economy dominated by agriculture has increasingly moved towards the market-based economy as a result of receiving assistance under structural adjustment programs of the World Bank, IMF, and other donor nations. Despite these foreign assistance, poor governance remains a big challenge for Pakistan. It is observed that despite internal and external factors such as politics, public pressure and donor country’s conditions on reform, Pakistan so far couldn’t move towards good governance and to a sustainable development program.
The shift towards good governance needs to pick up speed in coming years. It has been almost 70 years, Pakistan got its independence, but yet it did not achieve any significant result in corporate governance. The core challenge lies in developing a governance model that fits the current economic and political condition of the country. The other major bottlenecks are its slow non-transparent, bureaucratic structure, corruption in public offices which put Pakistan in Transparency International’s top corrupt list of nations but also raise the cost of living in the country.
Economic growth of a country depends on many factors, key among those factors is adherence to the rule of law by a country’s government so that markets and investors can work effectively and efficiently. It is equally important that laws must be clear, fair, enforced, and equally applicable to all the citizens of Pakistan. Developing countries prove so resistant to the rule of law and, more generally, good governance because they are fully aware of the fact that a country cannot progress without the rule of law. In fact, quality and characteristics of governance will shape the level of peace and stability and the prospects for economic development of Pakistan. Therefore, governance is the single largest critical variable which links the state with the society.
It would not be wrong to say that good governance is a key challenge Pakistan is facing. This challenge is not only about individuals but is systemic, spread across all spheres: socio-economic, political, judicial, cultural, arts and science. Most countries across the world are also suffering because of corruption. Notoriously crooked leaders continue to enjoy extravagance at the expense of those living in extreme poverty. Transparency International (TI) indicates that five of the ten most corrupt countries also rank among the ten most violent countries in the world.Some have succeeded in alleviating its influence but Pakistan has so far failed to address this. Given corruption is an international phenomenon, it requires global solutions as well. Certain western countries have financial institutions with systems designed to accept laundered black money and have tax havens. Because of this, money is moving from poor to wealthy countries in different ways that fundamentally undermine the development. As a matter of fact, certain firms of wealthy nations offer large bribes to institutions and powerful politicians in many developing countries. Corruption and bribery have undermined the rule of law, stopped development, and have promoted bad governance in Pakistan. Successive governments in Pakistan have demonstrated their disregard for the establishment of effective frameworks to fight corruption. Pakistan has recently witnessed the third consecutive peaceful transfer of power via elections in last eleven years. People want a corruption free government as it is believed necessary for the development of Pakistan. Corruption is considered a major challenge to end poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals of Pakistan. Pakistan’s biggest challenge of good governance is resurfacing after six months of new government. There is a realization that good governance is the only way that the living of people can be improved and safeguarded.
Corruption has diverted resources towards the corrupt entities and individuals, both in the private and public sectors; and has taken away the critical services needed such as education, healthcare, drinking water and so on from the general public. The law enforcement mechanisms in Pakistan itself appear corrupt. It is said that governments sometimes come to power by pledging bribery and corruption. Most of the times, despite some media sources exposing corruption scandals at times, some do not even bother to respond to the allegations of corruption. There is also another aspect to this, corruption has thrived because those who are corrupt intimidate or deceive the general public by manipulating information through controlling some parts of the media. Both business corporations and governments extensively spin or frame information to manage perceptions. On many occasions, they have managed to convince the public not to question their bribery, corruption and unethical practices. Hence, educating ourselves to be vigilant is essential.
Good governance is a buzzword in this era and has swept public attention and was one of the key issues of the last general election. It is clear that corruption is not simply a moral question but also a political. It requires concerted attention of federal government and business firms of Pakistan. Successful anti-corruption efforts need to be led by the joint efforts of both private and public sectors and the public – including politicians, senior public officials, citizens, communities, and civil society organizations. For this to succeed, capable, transparent, and accountable institutions need to be developed at the national and regional level to build, design and implement anti-corruption programs.
In Pakistan, many issues and problems are barriers to ensuring good governance. Although a lot of measures are needed to be taken for ensuring good governance. Yet, we think, utmost importance needs to be given on having strong leadership, building institutional capacity and strengthening institutions to the best interest of good governance. Time has come to eliminate corruption in Pakistan given its deep entrenchment in the last few decades. Pakistan simply cannot internationally survive without controlling corruption in the country despite all its military might and controlling terrorism. Therefore, Pakistan needs good governance to improve its poor economic, social and political condition and to provide the environment for private sector development and employment generation. Good governance i.e. sound fiscal, monetary and trade policies will create a positive environment for the private sector development. A dynamic private sector will thereafter create jobs and income, generates wealth and ensures resources are used efficiently.