Governance issues are responsible for the “duality” in the power structure

Islamabad: Pakistan’s governance weaknesses and problems are a direct result of the widespread duality in its power structure, led by different de jure and de facto entities. This duality involving civil and military establishments, in non-compliance with constitutional obligations, has unbalanced the democratic political system.

This aspect of the political system, along with several others, was discussed at the Major National Dialogue on Pakistan’s Political System and Governance, jointly organized by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, and Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).

The dialogue was chaired by IPS President Khalid Rahman and moderated by former Member (Governance) of the Planning Commission, Dr. Syed Tahir Hijazi. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, chairman of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), said that the branches of trichotomous power had failed to fulfill their constitutional obligations due to Pakistan’s pseudo-parliamentary system, which had certain presidential features.

“This, together with the lack of political will and the duality of the political system, does not suit constitutional values.” This has resulted in a weakened governance system, as indicated by Pakistan’s low standing in governance indicators, including including corruption. the Perceptions Index (CPI), where Pakistan ranks 140/180, and the World Justice Project 2021 Rule of Law Index, where Pakistan ranks 130/139,” he said. he declares.

Mr. Mehboob said the situation required a constitutional framework with objective criteria to measure performance while the role of the military in political processes should be adjusted according to constitutional and democratic values.

Senior researcher at IPS Syed Abu Ahmad Akif said there were inherent flaws in the political practices and organizational structure of the system, leaving little or no space for governance.

He said anomalies in the system, ranging from the accumulation of elitist capture to electoral loopholes and bureaucratic role, had taken away any room for governance reforms and strategy.

Director of the Riphah Institute of Public Policy, Riphah International University, Dr. Rashid Aftab said that within the three-tier governance structure – federal, provincial and local government – an important trend has been the lack of decentralization of power according to change over time. , due to the reluctance of the provinces.

“While this runs counter to the 18th Constitutional Amendment, which validated Section 140-A, requiring the provincial government to delegate power, a participatory governance system, focused on empowering local government institutions, must be achieved,” he said.

The founder and political economist of the Center for Entrepreneurship and International Trade, Zaheeruddin Dar, shared his ideas on economic governance while referring to the ease of doing business, which has slipped due to higher return expectations. and higher investors due to increased war, political, cultural instability, and corruption risks.

He added that another factor was government ownership of companies, which was a pathway to creating monopolies and hostile takeovers. He called for advancing the private sector with a visionary approach to building successful economic governance and a welfare-oriented system.

Nazeer Ahmad Mahar, Executive Director of the Research Initiative, shared his findings on electoral reforms and said the 2018 elections, conducted under a rather empowered PCE, saw a 30% increase in voter registration and participation.

He however said that there was still a gap in the participation of women and youth in the selection of a representative for governance and the political system. He called for the development of an integrated e-governance framework based on barriers and enablers and people-centered services with an inclusive design.

Brig. (r) Raashid Wali Janjua, Research Director, IPRI, suggested that the country develop a model or framework involving public, civilian and military concordance based on a new social contract. He further recommended a reconceptualization of civil-military relations.

IPS President Khalid Rahman stressed timely acknowledgment of problems, while accepting problems with a strong will to fight them.

He also said that while global indices provide general guidance, Pakistan needs to develop indigenous ranking systems and performance measures for development. Former IPS Ambassador and Vice President Syed Abrar Hussain and IPS Director General (Operations) Naufil Shahrukh also spoke on the occasion.

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