The Crisis of Good Governance in Pakistan

By Najeeb Kakar

Good governance is an indeterminate term used in the international development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage their resources. However, governance is “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”.  One of the definitions of good governance is “establishing of policies [and rules], and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation by the members of the governing body [government] of an organization [country]”.

Good governance is a prerequisite for the smooth running of administrative machinery, and to address public affairs. It reinforces the institutions of the state to work for the — amity of the people. Hence, it is therefore, ultimately feasible to achieve good governance in Pakistan, when all its parameters would fully and honestly endorse in the administrative structure. In Pakistan, the system of good governance has generally not been satisfactory. “The country started with weak political and administrative infrastructure,” as a result, which was unable to create a healthy environment.




The culture of good governance in Pakistan is, grim and gloomy. Which has not been achieved since its birth, because of weak institutional set-up; political instability, rampant corruption, repetition of military dictatorship, lack of accountability and transparency and no rule of law. However, all these issues have seriously pushed off the country to an abysmal state of poor governance. Today Pakistan is passing through a state of uncertainty, worst law and order and corruption is a case in point.

The latest crisis of good governance is looming an immense danger to the institutions of the state.

Undoubtedly, in Pakistan corruption is the biggest drawback in the way of development. It is therefore, argued that rampant corruption, can leads misallocation of public resources, which could ultimately, deprive them of their basic rights.

However, corruption would not only misallocate the resources but also the talent of the people. The upheavals of corrupt practices in Pakistan could have spoiled the future of capable person. It is a matter, of serious concerns to accentuate and talk about the politics of red-tapes, nepotism and money making.Which have invariably traumatized the fabrics of government institutions in Pakistan.

It is rightly said that, democracy means, “the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Nonetheless, it is totally the opposite in the case of Pakistan. In Pakistan political instability, has caused a great damage to democracy. The state and society have been derailed utterly. This had given an expeditious move to military, which intervened unnecessarily to protect the so-called national security interests.

The story began in 1958, and went through the humiliating defeat in 1971, and through the disastrous programme of Islamization. This redundant repetition of military intrusions in political arena ultimately resulted in the Crisis of good governance in Pakistan. Because the institutions came rapidly under their tight control. No one could dared to question their undemocratic damaging activities. Nevertheless, they were completely exempted for being accountable to the people.

Accountability is a crucial point in good governance – the rulers and the institutions of the state are accountable to people. But, it is very hard to find it in Pakistan’s weak institutional set-up. It is because of harsh civ-mil relations and politicizing of key institutions. Politicizing of state’s institutions meant to annihilate its structure. The institutions have been definitely precluded to — establish the system of check and balance and bring the felons to accountability and justice.

The civil servants, police and NAB are not fully autonomous in their decree to work. All are under severe political pressure. None of them is granted full independence, to bring the criminals to justice and inquire the cases of big guns. An honest, brave and principled man does not survive in this system, he should be either the part of this dirty system or would die if he challenge the status quo.

Everyone in the power is busy at pillaging public resources and money-making. Their sit-in the offices is jeopardize to the survival of poor marginalized folks of Pakistan. Government servants, political elites, and military royals are generally not less than dacoits. The difference between them the road thieves and them is clearly understandable. They loot for their endurance, while these white and blue collar criminals and plunderers loot us for their unlimited desires and luxuries.

What Senator Cato said about Rome then is true of Pakistan today: “simple thieves lie in prison and in stock; public thieves walk abroad in gold and silk.”

Transparency, legitimacy, participation and rule of law are the important pillars of good governance. They are the foremost among all the parameters to bring the right man at the right place. Let’s see how these all are almost neglected in various institutions in Pakistan. Ranging from election commission to educational institutes and so on the number is swelling the Courts, PBSC, police etc.

Politicians and other state officials in the power corridor make illegal appointments in various public offices. They could appoint inept people without merit on political grounds, and for the sake of money, red-tapes, favoritism and nepotism. It has therefore, loomed the crisis of good governance in Pakistan. Which has a far-reaching and lethal ramifications for the society and the people.

Government needs to focus seriously on the issue of good governance to accomplish satisfactory result. The absentia of good governance in the country can further escalate the situation, which would completely destroy the state’s institutions.

NAB is a powerful institution, which needs a considerable attentions to de-politicize its structure. It should be given absolute autonomy to bring the corrupt politicians and other state officials before the law.

Police and bureaucracy should be allow to work independently without fear and political hindrance. These are the institutions which would maintain law and order. But it is only possible when they are free of political interferences.

The government must realize to ensure transparency by putting vigorous efforts to envisage the involvement of whole society in governance. Participation of the people in multifarious fields are very much needed to overcome the crisis of good governance in Pakistan

Najeeb Kakar is a freelance writer and researcher interested in politics, society, history and terrorism. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@najeebkakar19 and Facebook.


  • Kamath

    Senator Cato forgot to mention that Rome was not built in week either! Pakistan is just 69 years old today. So patience , patience my friend!