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Good Governance Issues and the Musharraf Regime:  An Analysis


                                                                        Dr. Sohail Mahmood

                                        Asst. Professor,

                                        Area Studies Centre for Africa, North & South America,

                                        Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad                



Article published in The Asianists' ASIA Edited by T. Wignesan Centre de Recherches sur les Etudes Asiatiques Paris France http://www.stateless.freehosting.net/menupage.htm



The Musharraf regime faces serious governance challenges. The first major external challenge is the globalization of the world economy and the accompanied shifts. The trend is occurring partly because of the reduction in communications and transport costs in recent decades. Globalization has increased capital flows and trade worldwide. Some developing countries that opened their economies appropriately have been successful in achieving prosperity in less time. Since 1990, capital flows to developing countries have increased six-fold, according to the World Bank. This development has been linked with another important global change – a paradigm shift towards development of a global knowledge economy. The two coupled are perhaps the single most significant change of our times. We are living in an era that is characterized by rapid change due to various technological, economic and social changes. Countries have jumped from poverty to attaining world economic power in a single generation. Technological advances in telecommunication and computers proliferate in an ever-increasing stride. Great changes have come about at the same time as a massive transformation of the global economy is taking place right before eyes. History is being squeezed as never before, so to speak. Rapid development of telecommunications and global trade has created a global economy of truly staggering proportions. Markets have gone global lately. Unquestionably, on a diversity of dimensions, the world economy has become far more integrated in the past few decades than it used to be. Trade is one such measure. International transactions in equities and bonds and the daily turnover on the foreign-exchange market have both risen at an amazing rate over the past 20 years. It is now a well-known fact that daily turnover on the currency markets frequently surpasses the global stocks of official foreign-exchange reserves. The issue is whether central banks can any more influence exchange rates by buying and selling currency in the markets. Flows of foreign direct investment have also risen swiftly, although nothing like as rapidly as transactions in securities and currency. The World Economic Survey notes that the demand of economics shape both culture and politics. It argued that perhaps the nation state has come to a turning point.  In future, the need for communication and mobility between economies shall gain importance. This need shall create an increasingly homogeneous global culture that in turn will promote economic integration and gradually fog the political frontiers between countries. [1]

The future trend of regionalization is sure to grow. Countries are coming together in an effort to integrate their economies to achieve economies of scale and other advantages. A successful experiment is unfolding in front of our eyes in the shape of European Unions. North America is coming together under the umbrella of NAFTA. It is speculated that a new form of arrangement should be made at the regional level. Instead of normal competition, countries should seek various options through which they may share resources and join hands in countless ways. Supranational institutions are in the making. At times, it is referred to as “government by cartel”. The World Economic Survey argued that states are “pooling power in order to retain and increase it, in just the same way that a firm in a cartel gives up the freedoms to sell all it can in order to gain share in the group’s fatter monopoly profits. So far the state’s freedom of actions have barely been touched by the global market; should it become more circumscribed, expect more rule by cartel”.[2]

There are other profound changes taking place which are worth mentioning. Technological advances in telecommunication and computers proliferate in an ever-increasing stride. Great changes have come about as a result of the massive transformation of the global economy taking place right before eyes. History is being “squeezed” as never before, so to speak. Surely, a “new industrial revolution” is under way. Advances in computer technology and telecommunications are moving rapidly on, eroding national boundaries, shrinking distances and extending the domain of the global economy. Increasingly, this reconstruction is tending to convert states into “mere servants of international markets”. These technological changes are also bringing about “a transformation in the realm of ideas, starting towards the end of the 1970s and reaching its climax ten years later with the collapse of communism. That destroyed the system not only in the form practiced in communist countries but, more important for those in the West who never experienced it directly, as a sustaining Utopian myth. Judged as propaganda, 1989 did for big government what 1929 did for laisser-faire”[3]. There is an on-going debate about “globalization”. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Do we embrace it or resist it? However, every one agrees that international market forces have indeed emerged as powerful. Rapid development of telecommunications and global trade has created a global economy of truly staggering proportions. The World Bank’s recent report entitled Entering the 21st Century: World Development Report 1999/2000: Summary says:[4]

Globalization is praised for the new opportunities it brings, such as access to markets and technology transfer – opportunities that hold the promise of increased productivity and higher living standards. But globalization is also feared and often condemned because it sometimes brings instability and unwelcome change. It exposes workers to competition from imports, which can threaten their jobs, it undermines banks and even entire economies when flows of foreign capital overwhelm item [them, Ed.]

How will these changes affect countries like Pakistan? Will the world economy growth benefit or hurt us? It all depends on how we handle the complex issues. There are two views on the subject: the optimist majority and the pessimist minority. Let us first understand the gist of their arguments. The optimists display intense faith in science, technology, and western capitalist and democratic systems. They believe that technology will usher in a new utopia of material affluence for all. Unprecedented changes are around the corner. Western civilization will greatly benefit from these technology-led changes. If the developing countries choose, they can also join the bandwagon of the West, so to speak. It is for them to decide. In sum, utopia is around the corner. Pessimists disagree. Things are not so simple they argue. Firstly, they agree that market forces, for reasons of technology and ideology, have lately gained the upper hand. This development is deeply disturbing. The gains from globalization are far smaller than supposed, and the drawbacks much greater. In addition, such benefits, as there may be, will be divided unfairly within society. This is a critical point that people tend to ignore.[5] The new global capitalism shall certainly enrich many but workers will suffer. The worst sufferers will be the unskilled. Globalization will extend inequality, intensify poverty and increasingly lead to alienation. These drawbacks will increase at a time when the capacity of states to respond is declining. Their failure to act will weaken the foundations of the democratic states. The prosperity of Pakistan and, ultimately, the success of the country in an expanding global market are dependent upon the performance of its government. As sophistication in communications grows, capital, technology and jobs will move to whichever country offers a competitive edge. To compete, Pakistan needs to harness technological and scientific advances in the best possible way to be effective in commerce and industry and in the delivery service, within both private and public sectors.



The second major external challenge faced by Pakistan is the democratization wave sweeping the developing the world. People everywhere are demanding a greater share in power than ever before.

A good method to achieve it is through decentralization and devolution mechanisms. Empowering of local government is a global trend. They have been empowered in many countries in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East and Africa. Europe and North America already have a tradition of decentralized structures in many countries. The question to be asked is why is this happening. The issue of decentralization and devolution has attracted considerable attention lately. Out of seventy-five developing countries that have a population of more than five million, sixty-three developing countries are engaged in the process of decentralization. What is wrong with highly centralized systems? Centralized systems fail because of a number of factors. First, the problem faced is that of low response by the people. The government activity has been directed from above rather than from demand below. It is common that the local people reject these gifts from the central government simply because they have not been involved in the decision-making process and therefore do not feel that they own these projects. Second, officials employed by the federal government lack knowledge about local problems and needs. They do not understand differences in local needs and conditions because knowledge which happens to be thinly distributed across the entire community is not available to the central planning agency. Even the greatest central planning agency can not decide whether, in a particular local village case, improving the irrigation system or expanding schooling is more significant at a specific time. Only the local government can decide these things.[6] The report Entering the 21st Century: World Development Report 1999/2000: Summary maintains that all but a few democracies have decentralized political power. [7] It further adds:[8]

Localization is praised for raising levels of participation in decision-making and for giving people more of a chance to shape the context of their own lives. By de-centralization government [sic Ed.] so that more decisions are made at sub national levels, closer to the voters, localization nourishes responsive and efficient governance.

Local governments are concerned essentially with providing services for the local communities like municipal services, primary education and health care, These services are obviously very essential and local governments are given elected councils so that the citizens can have open access to them and get the services they desire. Local problems are best handled locally. The governments need to apply the subsidiary principle in government. The principle simply advocates that decision-making should happen at the lowest level possible. In other words, decisions should not go to an upper level  (provincial government, or even worse the federal government) unless it becomes absolutely necessary. It is argued that decentralization is a tried and tested method to solve acute governance problems in developing countries like Pakistan. Intense centralization and lack of delegated authority at lower levels have created a mess of government in several developing countries like Pakistan.


The Musharraf regime faces fundamental internal governance challenges, including demand for public accountability, a weak economy, failed political system, dysfunctional public services and a problematic development agenda.

1. Public accountability

Perhaps the most important single issue in the Pakistani public mind is that of public accountability. The reason is simple. The country has suffered horrendous corruption at the highest level, especially in the last twenty years or so - in both eras of the alternating civilian and military governments. The country has become notorious for graft and kickbacks throughout the machinery of government. It was widely acknowledged that the corrupt politicians, in league with bureaucrats, had pocketed most of the money meant for public services. Ample anecdotal evidence is available about kickbacks in big-item military purchases. Thus, the top military brass in Pakistan is also not clean. Previously, corruption had become epidemic in ruling circles. The poor continue to suffer. Undoubtedly, there exists a staggering magnitude of corruption in Pakistan. Estimates of corruption vary. Pakistan is seen as one of the most corrupt countries of the world only a few years back. The entire civilian era of the 1980s and 1990s is commonly described as one where there was massive corruption in the state apparatuses. Corrupt officials, according to one estimate, pocketed nearly half of the appropriations. It has been estimated that a staggering $100 billion of stolen money has left the country for safe havens around the world. 

The Musharraf regime promised to tackle the problem of corruption in Pakistan on a war footing. Soon after it came to power last October it established a very powerful agency - the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The NAB’s first head was General Amjad, a serving Lt. General of the Army. He had a reputation of great honesty, integrity and commitment to serving the nation. The current head is Lt. General Khalid Maqbool; another serving Lt. General of the Army.[9] According to international financial institutions, total size of stuck-up loans, including all the public, private and commercial banks, was Rs208 billion (about $4 billion) at the end of 2000. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has recovered about Rs 28 billion so far. Many see this as a good start. The Musharraf regime promised to identify a few big tax evaders, corrupt officers, and give them exemplary punishment. Critics also point out that the current workload of NAB includes cases against only politicians, businesspersons, and bureaucrats. No military official or member of the higher judiciary, serving or retired, has yet been apprehended by NAB. Why? By playing favorites, the NAB seems to have lost credibility in popular perception. People think that every corrupt individual, including the military top brass and judiciary, should be hauled up in the accountability net. There should be no exceptions whatsoever. The universal norm of justice and fair play demands it. In addition, Islam is adamant that all be treated equally under the law and that every criminal, regardless of his position in society, be punished. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared that he would even punish his own daughter if she were to commit a crime. The noble examples of justice set by the Khulafah-i-Rashidun are also a part of the Muslim legacy. Under Islamic tradition, absolutely no one can be spared of a punishment for a committed crime. It seems that NAB has finally bowed under relentless public criticism of even-handedness in the accountability drive. It has decided to investigate several shadowy defense deals involving retired military chiefs. The period under investigation is from 1985 up to the October 1999 military coup. Sources disclosed that the defense ministry entered into defense deals worth six billion dollars in the last ten years. Some of the deals are shadowy and involved kickbacks worth at least one billion dollars.[10] It has been alleged that millions of dollars have been paid in illegal commissions to secure these defense contracts.[11] In October 2000, Newsline said:[12] “while [sic Ed.] the much touted accountability process has neither been even-handed not[sic Ed.] fair. Arbitrary arrest of businessmen without proper charges have created a scene and led to the increase in the capital of flight [sic Ed.]. Its inability to take tough measurers [sic Ed.], thereby ensuring the writ of the state, has further weakened its authority and fuelled [sic Ed.] uncertainty. Over the last year, the regime has backtracked on every important issue in the face of resistance from vested interests”.


Recently, in a dramatic development Nawaz Sharif and his family left for exile in Saudi Arabia in mid December. The nation was shocked by the news and there was uproar in the country. In his televised address to the nation on December 20, 2000 General Musharraf, while defending his decision, said that Nawaz Sharif’s exile was not a panic reaction but a deliberate decision taken by him in what he believes was/is  the national interest. The decision demonstrated tolerance and moderation. Extreme action did not disclose the details of the deal saying that there is a degree of confidentiality in any deal of such a kind. General Musharraf continues to assure the accountability process on as before. He has agreed to the request of the Saudi monarchy to move the country beyond politics of revenge. Because of the introduction of “money” in politics, all the national institutions are corrupted. He said that the entire Muslim bloc and Western countries have appreciated the decision. Life and 14 years of imprisonment for Nawaz Sharif have been converted into ten years of exile. Sharif paid millions of dollars in fines, and many of his assets are forfeited. The Sharif family will have to pay all the loans and defaults against their names. Several hundreds of millions are to be collected by the state from Nawaz Sharif.[13] Many viewed the exile as a blessing in disguise for the nation. Others are adamant that it is nothing but a sell-out of the nation. Meanwhile, General Musharraf seemingly has lost the goodwill that greeted him earlier because of the exile of Nawaz Sharif. Notwithstanding all regime clarifications, the recent release of Nawaz Sharif has seriously eroded the credibility of the General’s promise to eradicate corruption in the country. This is an obvious setback to NAB’s effort. Public accountability is essential for maintaining public confidence in governance, justifying state activities and ensuring the overall legitimacy of the state. An individual performs best in an organizational culture that is rewarding and fair. It is possible to make systematic improvements by pursuing a practical strategy to improve integrity and accountability in the public service. In sum, the overall performance of the military regime in this vital area has been less than spectacular.


2) Weak economy

The primary components of the economic crisis in the country’s economy are described as economic slowdown, rising debt, and fiscal deficit. Since independence, Pakistan has achieved substantial economic growth averaging about 5% annually. The country has shown impressive economic improvement from 1976-77 to 1986-87. Per capita income grew by an average of 3.46% per annum and the total GNP grew by an average of 6.50% per annum during the same period. However, Pakistan is not included in the World Bank’s category of “Highest-Growth Economies” which included countries like Thailand, South Korea, China, Singapore, Chile and Malaysia. All these countries have a GNP per capita growth rate of at least 5.7% during the period 1985-1993.[14] The growth rate in the last five years or so has been uneven. In 1995-96 real GDP growth rates at constant factor cost is a healthy 6.8%; in 1996-97 it decreased to only 1.9%; in 1997-98 it increased to 4.3%; in 1998-99 it again decreased to 3.1%. The target for 1999-2000 is 5%.[15] However, the actual growth rate last year is 4.8%.  The current year’s target is 5%.

Pakistan is faced with a serious debt crisis. The total external debt of Pakistan is now 54% of GDP.[16] Pakistan is caught in a vicious debt quagmire from where there seems little hope of escape. The 1999-2000 budget total expenditure outlay is Rs526 billion out of which Rs287 billion went for debt servicing alone. Thus, nearly 56% of the budget is going to debt servicing.[17] Luckily, debt-servicing payments declined from $4.7 billion in 1997-98 to $2.6 billion in 1998-99. The significant decline is due to the re-scheduling of payments of $2.89 billion by December 13, 1999.  This is part of an exceptional financial arrangement, which Pakistan has negotiated with the IMF in January 1999. It has been decided by the Paris Club creditors to re-schedule $3 billion to give Pakistan some breathing space till the end of December 2000. Pakistan’s financing gap in 1999-2000 has been estimated as $5.4 billion, which has been fully covered by these exceptional financing arrangements.[18] Meanwhile, the country is facing possible default by the end of 2000. The IMF bailed out Pakistan through a $ 596 million facility package. The breather qualified Pakistan to secure loans from other multilateral agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and a rescheduling of loans of about $1.6 billion from the London Club, which is due in February 2001. The MF set strict conditionality for its assistance. The GoP has agreed to the following IMF conditionality  [sic Ed.]:[19]

* Devaluation

* Broadening the tax base

* Strengthening tax administration

 The Asian Development Bank has approved $760 million for the restructuring of the KESC.[20] Meanwhile total external debt has increased to $38 billion. Pakistan’s total debt is nearly equivalent to its GDP at Rs3.7 trillion. The regime has to meet the foreign debt liability of $4.5 billion by end of the current fiscal year.[21]Through an elaborate public education exercise, the Musharraf regime must herald a strategic shift from consumption to investment. Incentives are given to correct the abysmally low level of savings in the country. The new program should envisage a concerted effort for the mobilization of savings, including the introduction of a mandatory pension scheme, strengthening of financial institutions, strengthening of stock exchanges, the gradual reduction in state[sic Ed.]

In fiscal 1999-2000, total revenue receipts are projected at Rs 356 billion only. Against this, debt servicing and defense respectively swallowed up Rs 287 billion and Rs 142 billion. The total adds up to Rs 429 billion. Revenue fell short by Rs 73 billion in funding just these two expenditures. Meeting other expenditures like running the government and development meant further public debts. However, the previous government had pledged to reduce the budget deficit. In order to reduce the budget deficit further, the Musharraf regime will have to raise additional billions in taxes.

The budgetary deficit as percentage of GDP is 3.3% in 1999-2000 slightly down from 3.4% in 1998-99. The deficit had hit a high of 5.6% of GDP in 1997-98, and still higher 6.4% in 1996-97.[22] The tax to GDP ratio has remained stagnant in the range of 11 to 14% over the last two decades, which needs to be improved. Added together, debt servicing and defense expenditures exceed Pakistan’s total national income. The current ratio of tax to the GDP ratio is low at 15%. This ratio is one of the lowest in the developing world. The tax/GDP ratio in similar developing countries, as regards the stage of development, is 18-20. Tax revenues in 1996-1997 amounted to Rs268 billion; in 1997-1998, they increased to Rs286 billion, and further increased to Rs380 billion in 1998-99. In 1999-2000, they increased [sic Ed.] to a further Rs351.6 billion. The tax revenue target for current year is Rs536.7 billion, a large increase of Rs84 billion from last fiscal year.

The Musharraf regime has pledged to reduce the budget deficit. What shall be Pakistan’s stance as regards deficit financing? We recommend that the budget deficit should be reduced to 4% as planned and that it be further reduced to zero in the next five or six years. The Musharraf regime should specify a timetable. A balanced budget makes economic sense and is an Islamic obligation. Islam teaches us to live within our means. One must not spend more than what one earns. What goes for an individual goes for the nation too. The GOP aimed to reduce the size of the fiscal deficit by reducing public sector expenditures and simultaneously increasing revenues. What Pakistan needs to do is to borrow less, increase its own resources, and distribute them in a more equitable and rational manner. We ardently believe in this approach. It is expected that the Musharraf regime will increase spending on the social sector without which Pakistan is doomed.  The crisis and economic slowdown is acknowledged by the new Musharraf regime. Shaukat Aziz, the Finance Minister, has recently said that there is “no easy exit from the existing economic quagmire”.[23] The Musharraf regime quickly announced a broad-based economic revival strategy to tackle the fundamental problems. It is determined to move swiftly ahead at reforming the political economy.  The question is why has Pakistan’s economic performance remained poor. What is the reason for the slow growth? Most importantly, why has the state failed to deliver? The answer is complex and beyond the scope of the present essay. However, policy makers agreed on a number of primary reasons: political instability, poor governance, corruption, lack of consistent state policies, and chance. As Pakistan’s population is rapidly increasing, it must increase the economic growth rate just to stay at the same level. Failing to do so will further increase poverty in the country. 


The fundamentals of Pakistan’s economy are very weak. Consider these points:

(1)               The size of Pakistan’s economy is only about $62 billion. For the sake of comparison, the economy of India is over $450 billion.

(2)               Current GDP growth rate is about 4%, while that of India is about 6%. . The economic growth rate in Pakistan has decreased in the last few years. In the 1960s, it was 6.77% and in the 1980s, it was 6.45%. In the 1990s, it decreased to 4.59% only.[24] Current GDP growth rate is about 4%, while that of India is about 6%. The latest interim poverty reduction and growth strategy, under discussion between the GOP and the IMF envisaged economic growth of 5.5% by 2002-3.[25]

(3)               Given the large population size, Pakistan’s per capita income is about $400 only.

(4)               The black economy is estimated at about 50-75% of the actual economy.

(5)               Foreign exchange reserves are at $1.48 billion only. India, in comparison, has reserves of over $30 billion. Pakistan has to meet the foreign debt liability of $4.5 billion by end of the current fiscal year.

(6)               Most importantly, poverty in Pakistan has doubled in the last decade or so. In fact, if the economy does not show significant improvement, overall poverty is projected to further increase in the current decade.

(7)               Spending on social services in Pakistan remains very low. More than 80% of the country’s national revenue is spent on debt servicing and defense alone.[26] Pakistan’s Human Development Index ranking, as reported by the United Nations Human Development Report 2000, is a very low 135 out of 174 countries surveyed. For the sake of comparison, India is 128 on the international scale, China is 99, Sri Lanka is 84, and Myanmar is 125.[27] Recently, General Musharraf quoted the country’s position as 138 among 174 poor countries.[28] The adult literacy rate of Pakistan is only 44% while that in India is 55%. The education enrolment ratio in Pakistan is only 43%, while that in India is 54%. The population with access to safe drinking water in Pakistan is 79% while that in India is 81%. There are 50 million adult illiterates in Pakistan today. There were only 44 million a decade ago.[29]

(8)               Foreign exchange reserves are at $1.4 billion, while exports remained at $8.5 billion.[30]


Why has Pakistan’s economic performance remained poor? Policy makers agree on a number of primary reasons: political instability, poor governance, corruption, lack of consistent state policies, and chance.[sic Ed.] As Pakistan’s population is rapidly increasing, it must increase the economic growth rate just to stay at the same level. Failing to do so will further increase poverty in the country. Like so many other developing countries, Pakistan today needs the help of the international donor communities. In fact, if the economy does not show significant improvement, overall poverty is projected to further increase in the current decade. Last year the State Bank of Pakistan emphasized the need to adopt policies that can facilitate an economic turn around, in terms of improved trade position, better savings, increased investment, and more production. The Musharraf regime’s achievements include: [31]

(i)                  Lowering inflation rate to 3.6%, the lowest in two decades.

(ii)                Commitment with IMF to contain the budget deficit within 5.2 % in current fiscal year. Previously, it had been lowered from 7-8% to 6%.

(iii)               Likely loans of $970 million for energy development, structural reforms and poverty alleviation from international agencies.[32]

(iv)              Foreign investment of $700 million in oil and gas sector alone.[33]

(v)                Improved cash recovery position.

(vi)              An 11.3% increase in exports during first five months of fiscal 2000-2001.

(vii)             Nearly 8% growth is registered in the industrial sector as against 6.3% in the corresponding period of last year.

(viii)           Launching of a Rs. 35 billion Poverty Alleviation Program to create job opportunities, accelerate economic activities in the backward areas. .

(ix)              A new micro-finance bank was established with an initial capital of Rs 5 billion to provide credit to the poor.[34]

(x)                Great progress in the Information Technology field. Rapid spreading of Internet connections across the country. An investment of Rs 12 billion in the  IT field. [35] A new Information Technology division established in the Science & Technology Ministry. Recently, the GOP announced an IT Policy and Action Plan. The GOP will spend Rs15 billion on IT this year out of which 60% will be spent on human resource development. Today there are 110 licensed Internet Service Providers in the country out of which 63 are operating. The number of users has climbed to 0.25 million.[36] The GOP has made remarkable progress in extending the Internet facility in the country. By June 2001, the facility will have extended to 400 cities and villages. The GOP is establishing Internet cafes at various district post offices and gas stations throughout the country. [37] The GOP is to provide a large skilled work force to meet the local and export needs. The policy envisages the establishment of four new IT universities, and Accreditation Services, Educational Intranet and strengthening of existing IT institutes. The GOP is set to launch projects like Government Online, Electronic Governance Project, and E-Commerce Network.[38].

(xi)              Plans to restructure the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) are a very high priority. Steps taken to document the economy strengthen the IT system, plan gradual integration of all the tax records, widen the tax base, while extending an across-the-board General Sales Tax. Steps taken to eradicate the confusion and complexity in tax payment. The federal taxes shall be cut from the current more than twenty heads to just three (income, sales and customs). Reduction of 22 provincial taxes in Punjab to just seven. The revenue target for the current year is Rs435 billion, an increase of Rs90 billion in actual receipts on the last fiscal year. An increase of 11.3% in tax revenue in the first five months of the current fiscal year. An additional Rs10 billion has been added resulting from the Tax Amnesty Scheme. This is ten times more than all such schemes in the past. The scope of direct taxes is being enlarged. For the first time, income from the farm sector shall be taxed. The wealth tax is to be abolished from July 1, 2001.  

(xii)             Establishment of a new financial institution – Corporate Industrial Restructuring Corporation – to help solve the problem of sick industries. Establishment of the Khushali Bank, a micro-credit bank modeled on the famous Grameen Bank.

(xiii)           The WAPDA has shown considerable improvement. There has been an increase in revenues and decrease in line losses. The consumption of power increased by 6% in the first half of the current year. Also, the plan to corporatize WAPDA continues. The WAPDA is to set up four new hydel projects in NWFP with a cost of $ 1.5 billion, having a capacity of 1,000 MW. The WAPDA will construct new small dams all over the country in a new comprehensive water strategy. [39] Plus, the lingering dispute between HUBCO and WAPDA was resolved. The country should save $1 billion due to the agreement wherein HUBCO has agreed to reduce tariff from 6.6 cents to 5.6 cents per unit of electricity. .

(xiv)           Strengthening the role of the Auditor General Pakistan (AGP) and application of additional resources for development of financial audit performance capabilities. A system of follow-up actions to hold individuals accountable for lapses and poor performance highlighted in AGP Annual Reports. An adhoc arrangement under H. U. Beg, a veteran bureaucrat, has been made to streamline the work of the Public Accounts Committee responsible for the scrutiny and action based on the AGP reports. The committee has unearthed irregularities worth Rs 7 billion in Pakistan Steel, the biggest state enterprise, and is referring all corruption cases to NAB for further investigations. Similarly, it unearthed irregularities amounting to vast amounts in Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, another big state corporation.[40]

(xv)            Planning in strategic terms has been initiated. The Planning Commission is working on a 2025 Plan broken up into segments that of five, ten, fifteen, twenty and twenty five years. Future Five Year Plans shall be integrated in the 2025 Plan.

(xvi)           Downsizing of the government bureaucracy. The merger of a number of divisions has been announced. For example, the divisions of health and population welfare are being merged.[41] The merger of three divisions - the Water & Power, Petroleum & Natural Resources, Industries & Production divisions - into a single Fuel & Energy division. The telecommunications division transferred into the Science and Technology ministry from the Communications Ministry. The Gas Regulatory Authority (yet to be established) is to be merged with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, NEPRA as a single regulatory of the energy sector. The merger of the Federal Chemical & Ceramics Corporation (FCCCL) and Ghee Corporation Pakistan (GCP) into the National Fertilizer Corporation. Most of the operating units under the FCCCL and GCP are to be privatized. The workforce of Pakistan Steel was reduced from 20, 534 to 14,900.[42]

(xvii)         The provinces are also downsizing. The NWFP government plans to close the Agricultural Engineering Department and the Agricultural Development Authority.[43] Some 45,000 employees of the Sindh government shall be sacked soon.[44]

(xviii)        Lowering of the maximum customs duty from 35 to 30% from July 1, 2001. Reducing of tariff slabs from 5 to 4 with minimum duty on raw materials and machinery and maximum on finished goods

(xix)           Emphasis on increasing exports on a high priority-basis. The Musharraf regime should realize that the most crucial aspect of the implementation strategy is that it show an unwavering commitment to implementing the reform in full. Earlier, the GOP has fixed the target for exports for 2000-2001 at $10 billion. There is an increase of 11.3% in exports in the first half of the current fiscal year, giving hope that the annual target will be met.

Why has Pakistan’s economic performance remained poor? Policy makers agree on a number of primary reasons: political instability, poor governance, corruption, lack of consistent state policies, and chance.[sic Ed.] As Pakistan’s population is rapidly increasing, it must increase the economic growth rate just to stay at the same level. Failing to do so will further increase poverty in the country. The economic crisis is acknowledged by the Musharraf regime. However, it claims that because of some vital steps, the economic slide has been checked and the country has been put on the road to sustained growth. The reality is different. On the negative side, the following [Ed.–includes remedial suggestions as well] has occurred.

(i)                  The population growth rate continues to be a high 2.6% while India’s growth rate has decreased to 1.9%.[45]

(ii)                [Ed. -Failed to] create an enabling environment for economic growth by following good governance practices and sound planning.

(iii)               Failed to tackle the twin problems of debt expansion and current account imbalance. Pakistan has not been able to generate an appreciable additional export surplus in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, nor attract foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as domestic investment.

(iv)              [Only] made a faint beginning in the horrendous task of documentation of the economy and elimination of smuggling. Much more needs to be done.

(v)                The frequent increases in rates of utilities and petroleum are unwarranted. The poor continue to suffer.

(vi)              Revive and sustain a high level of economic growth. In specific terms, accelerate economic growth to about 6%. The current GDP growth in India is 7.2% versus 4.5% for Pakistan.[46]

(vii)             Meet revenue target of Rs. 356 billion as per 1999-2000 fiscal year budget plans. The target for revenue in the current year’s first half was missed. Only Rs 177 billion are collected while the target was Rs 190 billion.[47]

(viii)           Introduce better debt management. Reduce the total debt, both domestic and foreign, on a credible and sustainable basis. The current debt burden has climbed to a staggering 97% of GDP. Clearly, the figure has to come down, as it is unsustainable.

(ix)              Provide meaningful employment opportunities.

(x)                Urgently improve human development indicators and the PQLI (Physical Quality of Life Indicators) as measured by UN agencies.

(xi)              Rebuild investor confidence shattered by past actions. Pursue policies consistently and not change them as frequently as done in the past. Good governance is the main requirement for rebuilding this lost confidence.

(xii)             Strengthen the financial and fiscal systems, create a favorable investment climate to attract foreign investment, and improve resource allocation mechanisms. Financial sector reform included giving greater autonomy and powers to the State Bank of Pakistan and the Corporate Law Authority, better monitoring and regulation of the banking sector by both the State Bank of Pakistan and the Finance Ministry, the strengthening of stock exchange regulatory mechanisms, better devices to mobilize savings by the institution of mandatory pension schemes, and the increase of Government savings through overall stringency measures pertaining to budgetary expenditure.

(xiii)           Through appropriate budgeting, accounting and reporting systems eliminate inefficiency in all public sector organizations. For the purpose, a Financial Management System should provide for up-to-date information and standard indicators on the performance of a government agency.

(xiv)           Initiate essential long-range planning immediately. For example, plan a zero deficit budget for the year 2005. The deficit must be gradually decreased in a planned manner.

(xv)            Reduce the fiscal deficit. The current figure is 5.5%.

(xvi)           Take bold steps to document the economy. For example, the General Sales Tax (GST) must be levied, though at a much lower rate, for the purpose. A very large portion of Pakistan’s GDP is part of the “underground economy”. A general amnesty, for a limited time, has been given already.

(xvii)         Failure at downsizing and the creation of a leaner and fitter civil service system. The Pakistan civil service system has about 3 million members, as compared to the Indian civil service, which has in all about 8 million members. The recommendations made in a number of reports suggest that the civil service can shed its weight to the extent of one-third of its present strength. Concerted efforts at restructuring the civil service have not been made yet. Economic problems require a reduction in GOP expenditures. Systematic efforts are lacking in this area. Steps have not been taken to curb the creation of new posts, abolish vacant posts in non-critical services, and to right size[sic Ed.] GOP departments.

(xviii)        Current exports total only $8.5 billion while that of India is nearly $40 billion.[48]

(xix)           The savings rate as percentage of GDP is only 15 while that of India is 22.[49]

In October 2000, the monthly Newsline remarked:[50]

“But one year down the road, and the military regime appears to be [a] rudderless ship with no direction, [sic Ed.] most political observers agree that its performance has been dismal. The government’s major failure has been on the economic front, where the economic team has failed to carry out any fundamental structural reforms. Continuing recession has increased unemployment and poverty”

3. Failed political system

The federation of Pakistan is comprised of four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Baluchistan. The federal design signified division of powers between a national government and constituent units. Such a division is given in the constitution. Governors are appointed by the central government but served as figureheads only. Local governments are constituted by elected Provincial Assemblies and headed by Chief Ministers. There are also tribal areas administered by the federal government, like FATA and FANA, and the NWFP provincial government. Responsibility for the subjects of health, labour, education, agriculture, social welfare, industry and roads is entrusted to the provinces. However, principal power resides with the central government, which is headed by a premier. The head of state is the President, who is elected for a renewable, five-year term jointly by an Electoral College composed of the National Assembly, Senate and the four provincial assemblies. The presidency was originally a titular post, but following the famous Eighth Amendment of March 1985, the office holder is given authority to dissolve the National Assembly, and appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, the cabinet and provincial governors. The president, therefore, emerged as a dominant political figure. Later, the comparative significance of the office has been eroded due to the last constitutional amendments. Today, the president is a mere figurehead as the military rules the country.

The federal legislature consisted of a Lower House, the National Assembly, and an upper chamber, the Senate. The National Assembly has 207 members, directly elected for five-year terms by universal adult suffrage; in addition, 20 women chosen by the National Assembly and 10 separately elected religious minority members. The Senate has 87 members, elected a third at a time, for six-year terms by provincial assemblies, and tribal areas, in accordance with a quota system. The National Assembly is the more powerful of the two chambers, having exclusive jurisdiction over financial affairs. To become law, bills must be passed by both chambers and must be approved by the President, who has the power of veto. The presidential veto can be overridden by a simple majority of both houses. The chief of government is the Prime Minister, drawn from the National Assembly. Benazir Bhutto held, until nearly the very end of her tenure, additional portfolios of defense and finance. Similarly, Nawaz Sharif also has additional portfolios.



The highest tier of government is the federation. At the federal level, the administrative machinery mainly comprises the ministries, divisions and directorates. A Minister heads a ministry while a Secretary heads a division. There are currently 35 divisions in the federal government. Apart from the regular federal departments, there are a number of statutory bodies like the Election Commission, AGPR, Wafaqi Muhtasib (Ombudsman), State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Public Service Commission, etc.; autonomous agencies like AGPR, PAEC, WAPDA; state corporations like PTCL, SNGPL, PIA, NFC, OGDC, PIDC, PMDC, Utility Stores Corporation, etc.

The total number of federal employees, according to the 1996 census, is 662,000, which is 23% of total government employment. The total number of employees in the federal corporations is 424,073, which is 15% of total government employment. The grand total of public sector employees is 2.7 million.[51][sic]  It is commonly argued that the crisis of governance mainly stems from centralization of power in the federal government.



The second tier of government is the province. The Governor is the constitutional head of the province and is appointed by the central government. A provincial government is constituted by the elected Provincial Assemblies and headed by Governors. Today, the Governors act as chief executives of the administrative machinery. Primarily the Governors and the provincial cabinet conduct the government policy-making in a province. The setup is the counterpart of the federal government at the provincial level.

To facilitate administrative work, the provinces have been divided into 20 divisions and then sub-divided into 106 districts.[52] A Commissioner heads each division while a Deputy Commissioner heads each district. Perhaps the single most important administrative unit in the country is the district. The Deputy Commissioner, as head of the district, holds powers of the district magistrate and is responsible for revenue collection, coordination, protocol, law, and order. The provincial departments, e.g. communication, education, health, agriculture, irrigation, etc. are controlled by their respective heads called Secretaries, reporting to their respective Ministers. The setup is the counterpart of the federal government at second level. The total number of provincial employees, according to the 1996 census, is 1.7 million, which is 61% of total government employment.[53] Today the Punjab government alone has 950,000 employees and is spending 60% of its resources on salaries.[54]


In the provinces, the Local Government and Rural Development Department (LG & RDD) together with the elected institutions form the local government system. The LG & RDD have been involved in technical functions of planning, contracting, supervision, and monitoring of development schemes. Serving as an executive branch of the local government the department oversees the operation of the local councils. Under the ordinance, the local government members are not allowed to contest national elections. The ordinance provides direct elections of the Chairman of all councils for a term of four years, and limits the role of the councils to non-political local governance and rural development. The union council is the lowest tier, with an elected membership based on universal adult franchise. The Chairman is elected by majority vote of the members and receives a monthly honorarium from the government.


Local Government

The third tier of government is extremely weak. The Musharraf regime has suspended the few existing local governments in the country. However, they are increasingly being seen as vital for Pakistan’s democratization, sustainable development and empowerment of the people. It has to be rebuilt after a lapse of several years. The Musharraf regime is in the process of creating a strong third tier in the country. The first phase of local government elections were successfully held in December 2000. The local governments shall be in place by August this year.


The restructuring of the system of government is the need of the hour. Pakistan needs a better administrative setup to fulfill the demands of sustainable development for the benefit of the people.

Before the coup of October 1999, Pakistan had witnessed an unprecedented period of internal strife, lawlessness, high crime rates, and bad governance at lower levels. What are the problems in Pakistan’s political system and why?[sic] Pakistan moved from a parliamentary system to a presidential one and then finally reverted to the original parliamentary system. Unfortunately for Pakistan, Jinnah died in 1948 and his chief lieutenant Liaqat Ali Khan soon after in 1951. Thus, the PML lost its most capable leaders. The succeeding party leadership did not have the stature or the capability of the earlier party leaders. The party floundered as a result. The first parliamentary period stretching from 1947-1958 is conspicuous for a musical-chair of sorts in the national capital where a number of successive governments came and went. Political instability and the weakening of the PML marked the period. In 1958, General Ayub seized power through a bloodless coup. Later, he used the PML as a prop to his regime. He is to rule until 1969 when he abdicated in favor of the Army chief, General Yahya Kahn. The Yahya interregnum lasted until December 1971 when the rulers were forced to resign having lost East Pakistan and the humiliation of over 90,000 Pakistani troops having to surrender to the Indian military. East Pakistan seceded to become Bangladesh. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took power in January 1972 right after the debacle in East Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had once served in Ayub Khan’s cabinet as his foreign minister but had left him to establish his own party in 1967. Bhutto’s PPP swept the polls in West Pakistan in the first general elections of 1970. Bhutto is a gifted populist who introduced a new people’s style of politics in the country. In the beginning, he was immensely popular with the people and his socialist vision was a great hope to the country’s impoverished masses. However, Bhutto was not able to deliver as per expectations of the people. He turned dictator from being populist and even abandoned the leftist orientation of his PPP. General elections were held in March 1977 the results of which were contested by the Pakistan National Alliance – an electoral alliance of nine parties opposed to the PPP – which resulted in violent protests. Bhutto clamped down hard. Finally, General Zia ousted him on July 5, 1977. He was executed two years later. Once again, the PML was used by the military regime to legitimize its rule. After the party-less general elections of December 1985, General Zia chose a PML leader – Junejo – to become his premier. General Zia ousted Junejo in July 1988. Zia himself died in August 1988 in a mysterious airplane crash. Meanwhile, the ISSI had nurtured a young Punjabi executive – Nawaz Sharif – and made him enter the political fray under the mantle of the PML. Nawaz Sharif had served briefly as a finance minister in General Jiliani’s cabinet in Punjab during the Zia era. General elections were held in November 1988, which were won by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and Benazir Bhutto became the chief executive. Earlier, Benazir had successfully taken over the leadership of her father’s party. She was seen to be a new-style politician - progressive and a reformer. Benazir was the first woman chief executive of a Muslim country. The people expected Benazir to lead Pakistan into a new era of economic progress and social and cultural modernity. She failed to deliver, however. In turn, Nawaz Sharif became chief minister of Punjab. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir on corruption charges in 1990. General elections were again held in which the IJI – an election coalition dominated by the PML - won power. Nawaz Sharif became chief executive for the first time in 1990 but was dismissed in 1992. After winning the general elections, Benazir replaced him as chief executive in 1993. President Farooq Ahmed Legahri dismissed her in November 1996. This was the second time Benazir had been dismissed on identical charges of corruption. This time it was all the more ironic because Legahri was her choice as President. He had earlier served the PPP as its secretary general. Elections were again held and PML came back to power in February 1997. By now Pakistan’s multi-party system had moved towards a two-party system composed of the PML and PPP. The two parties have emerged as the biggest political forces in the country and the two main rival contenders of power. The two-party system failed to deliver, however. Finally, General Musharraf ousted the Nawaz Sharif Government in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999. After more than a thirteen-year stint of frail democracy from 1985-1999, the military have returned to power. Today, Pakistan’s major external challenges are globalization of the world economy, and the decentralization wave. Internal challenges include: sagging economy, poverty, dysfunctional political system, and the issue of devolution, weak federal system,  inefficient and ineffective public services.

Whatever the form of government the country is governed in a highly centralized manner. Some name it the vice regal system as understood in the colonial British Raj era. Pakistan has a federal and parliamentary system of government. The last constitution adopted in 1973 created this system. There have been significant changes since then. Since the death of General Zia in August 1988, the country has had four governments because of four general elections based on adult suffrage. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif have taken turns at running the government. Pakistan’s constitution has been amended several times for the benefit of only the rulers. The country has suffered because of misrule. Pakistan has been weakened from within. The situation has become very complex, to say the least. During this democratic era, spanning at least eleven years, civilian government had failed to deliver. Matters have grown worse with time. The Pakistani state is malfunctioning. Many will point out that poor governance is the primary reason of this malfunction. Undoubtedly, the country has faced a crisis of governance.  The military regime’s task of solving them is indeed very daunting. The people have suffered because of the shortcomings of the political system. Apparently, there is a deep desire and longing for a real change. Given the past grave failures of all governments in our history, the Musharraf regime is still being given the benefit of the doubt. We need to understand that though the two-party system has failed to deliver yet the institution of political party-system cannot and should not be discarded. It is agreed that politicians and also political parties do not command the respect they might otherwise have commanded in circumstances that are more positive. Nevertheless, it does not make any sense to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The regime must understand that the political party system is an institution needing urgent repairs. The task is formidable for any one. By their very nature, political parties are tedious to build. The sooner we begin the better for the country. Strong political parties are seen as essential institutions in any modern democracy. Next time around, let us see such parties compete against one another in a more sophisticated manner. The question is whether we can afford to wait until they are built and await the call for general elections. Obviously, building strong political leadership and political parties will take years not months. What is to be done? The regime must do its best in the time allocated to it, meaning hold elections as planned and then gracefully pull out. Remember there are no great saviours or “a great general on horseback” any more, men who always knew everything or thought they could do everything better. Given the complexity of the age, a single leader cannot lead the nation to triumph. No single person can even understand the complexity, let alone provide a solution for it. For modern societies, the concentration of power in one person or an uncontrolled elite is extremely dangerous. Since wrong decisions are more probable. Therefore, we urge the military regime to restore democracy in Pakistan sooner than its stipulated three-year period.  Eventually Pakistan shall be able to progress better under an Islamic democratic system. Why has General Musharraf decided not to allow participation of political parties in the forthcoming local government elections? No satisfactory explanation has been given as yet. Exclusion of political parties from the election process is a very big mistake. The country shall suffer from it.   Remember that political parties are crucial to the whole exercise of building true democracy through a “bottom-up” strategy. They cannot and should not be ignored. Political parties are useful mechanisms for the practical conduct of democracy. They fulfill essential functions to promote democracy in the nation. They recruit and mobilize public opinion for their cause. Parties educate public opinion and provide venues for its systematic orchestration. Most importantly, political parties provide platforms where serious discussion about political matters takes place and for a consensus policy to be arrived at. Remember conflict in politics is inherent. The question is whether ideological conflict waged by political parties is any worse than conflict based on ethnic, tribal, biradari, or other loyalties. The regime should be warned that local government elections conducted on a non-political basis will further fan the worst forms of ethnic and biradari conflicts in the country. The country cannot afford such a situation from building up. Therefore, it will be more prudent to allow political parties to participate in the coming elections. One of the primary reasons for the failure of the democratic experiment in Pakistan can be attributed to the failure of its political parties. We need to rectify this shortcoming. What better place to begin than the Local Government.

Pakistan badly needs strong political parties that can deliver what they promised.  Today Pakistan has a very weak political party system. Political parties, with very few exceptions, are undemocratic establishments where “personalistic” politics are the norm. Leadership is not chosen in democratic fashion nor is internal democracy practiced in any significant manner. There is mere lip-service to democracy. Once in power the leaders act with authoritarian impulses and weaken internal democracy even further. Moreover, patronage politics and massive corruption in party ranks have eroded popular faith in the party system itself. Most seriously, parties in power have failed to deliver according to the expectations of the people, including their own ranks. Thus, politicians having political parties generally do not command the respect they might otherwise have commanded in circumstances that are more positive. There is urgent need for enforcing democratic norms in all political parties. In fact, very few political parties are democratic internally. When there is no meaningful practice inside the parties, then how can we expect them to behave in democratic fashion once in power? They should be required by law to practice what they preach. At the minimum, we must forbid parties that do not practice what they preach. Such parties must be held suspect and therefore shunned. That is also an Islamic dictum. The irony is that all the major political parties in the country, PPP and PML included, are bereft of internal democracy. The contradiction in what they said and did is apparent. Hence, the failure to deliver any meaningful democracy. Let all our parties be required to practice democratic values in their operation. It should be required that all political parties elect their party leadership in yearly elections. In addition, the elections should be held in a fair and transparent manner.

The example of Quaid-i-Azam is before us. He being a true democrat insisted in contesting the post of president of the Muslim League as per constitutional requirements of the party. This is even so when the nation had reposed in his person their complete and unflinching loyalty and support. To him these internal elections are the essence of democratic behaviour. We must today emulate his example. His spirit at building a disciplined party machine needs to be recreated once again. The spirit of working for a great and noble cause must be rekindled. Let us join hands to build strong parties and thereby build strong institutions for the nation. Let our parties slowly and surely build democratic norms and values in themselves. Let them become the vehicles of the required transformation. Only then, will they be allowed to contest general elections. Otherwise, the law will forbid them. It should be understood clearly that strong vibrant political operates are crucial to putting the democratic experiment back on track. Again, the sooner we begin the better for us all.

In the previous democratic era, the two parties other than the PML and PPP that counted are the MQM and ANP. The MQM represented the Muhajirs of urban Sindh, especially Karachi and Hyderabad. The Muhajirs are the Urdu-speaking migrants who found themselves outside the primary four ethnic divisions – Punjabi, Pathan, Baluch, and Sindhi – of Pakistan. They perceived that Muhajirs are being denied political space in Sindh. Their political sensitivities were later exaggerated into full-blown ethnic nationalism and a demand for a separate province for the Muhajirs. Successive governments employed violence to contain the increasingly violent demonstrations of the MQM. The military and the para-military were used to curb MQM’s violent politics and “terrorism”. Several hundred have been killed over the years. The polarization between Muhajirs and non-Muhajirs (Sindhi and Punjabi) has not been gulfed [sic]. However, MQM has lost its support because of its violent tendencies. Plus, Altaf Hussein, the leader of the MQM has been in exile in Britain for several years. Consequently, his hold on the party has weakened.

The ANP is the successor of the earlier NAP that had once ruled the NWFP during the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto era. It is led by Wali Khan son of Badshah Khan who had gained fame for his populist politics and the “red shirt” movement before Partition. Wali Khan’s NAP is a left-of-the center political party that has a stronghold in Mardan, Charsadda districts in NWFP.  Currently, Asfander Wali is leading the party. He is the son of Wali Khan. The party has supported the renaming of the NWFP to Puktunkhwa after the term Pakhtuns, another name for Pathan. The renaming of the province is a controversial issue and is opposed by the mainstream political parties and also the non-Pakhtuns in the NWFP itself. For example, the people of the southern Hazara district do not agree with the re-naming of the province to Puktunkhwa. They felt discriminated against in the northern Pathan areas. Currently, the party received a blow when its leadership is involved in corruption cases prosecuted by the Musharraf regime. Both MQM and ANP have suffered politically for various reasons. The heyday of ethnic politics in Pakistan seems to be over. A new chapter is opening in the country’s history. The Musharraf regime is going to promote a new style of politics in the country. It has envisioned a clean political system as earlier corruption has weakened it considerably.  It can be safely predicted that the above-mentioned political parties will suffer setbacks in the next general elections because they have been discredited for various reasons. At the cost of both PML and PPP other political parties will gain ground.  Today, the political parties worth mentioning are:


1.                  Jamaat-i-Islami;

2.              Millat Party;

3.               Tehreek-i-Insaaf;

4.               Pakistan Awami Tehreek;

5.               Tehrik Jafria Pakistan;

6.               Jamiat Ulema-e Islam;

7.               Jihadist entities (Harkat-ul Ansar and Dawat al Irshad).



1.The Jamaat-e-Islami

  The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is the biggest Islamic party in the country. Also, it is perhaps the best organized and most disciplined political party in the country. Maududi founded it in 1942 in Punjab. The party has displayed street power on more than one occasion. It has a strong, relatively speaking, presence in the urban areas of Pakistan. The party has never had much success in electoral politics and is not expected to  capture more than a few parliamentary seats in future elections. However, it enjoys disproportionate political weight compared to its electoral performance. This can be explained by the fact that the party sees itself as more of an Islamic movement with a global agenda than a political party in Pakistan. Its network has now spread to North America (ICNA in the USA and Canada) and Britain (Islamic foundations). The party has a think tank – the Policy Institute in Islamabad headed by an eminent scholar. It also has links with several parties or Islamic movements in the Middle East, namely the Muslim Brotherhood based in Egypt and Sudan. The party’s public relation exercises are comparatively sophisticated. Over the years it has built a modern media service.            The Jamaat has consistently advocated the cause of Islamic “revolution” in Pakistan. It believes that the whole Islamic world is a single Ummah united by religion. There is no separation between politics and religion in Islam. It has been consistent in its demand that the Shariah (Islamic law) is the guiding framework for all activity: economic and political. An Islamic “revolution” is legitimate but within the framework of the political system. The Islamic movement will usher in an Islamic state through disciplined activism. The movement will gradually take over the state apparatuses when the party itself comes into power.


2. The Millat Party

  The Millat party was founded a few years back and is headed by former president, Farooq Ahmad Legahri. It has not contested elections so far. A close associate of his, Javed Jabbar, is now in the Musharraf cabinet. The party is supportive of the direction the military regime is taking. Now that the PML and PPP have been discredited it is expected to do well in the coming elections. Ideologically it is centrist with emphasis on reforming the political and economic system of Pakistan.    


  Ex-cricketer Imran Khan founded the Tehreek-i-e Insaaf some years back. The party stands for youth, reforming the system, Islamic moderation, clean politics and end to exploitation and corruption. It contested the 1997 elections for the first time. It did not win any seat, however. The party is expected to do well in the coming elections.

                                      4.Pakistan Awami Tehreek


Allama Tahir ul Qadri founded Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) a few years back. Tahir ul Qadri has an academic background in law and about a decade ago he established the Minhaj ul-Quran Islamic Institute in Lahore focused on Quranic Studies. Today there are several Minhaj ul Quran branches in the country. Qadri has written several books on Islamic subjects.  Later, Qadri has ventured into politics by establishing the Pakistan Awami Tehreek. The PAT relied on the earlier religious network established for launching its political activity. It is a small but well organized political party.


                        5.Tehreek-i Jafria Pakistan (TJP)


The TJP is a very small political party of the Shiites in Pakistan. It is favorable to Iran and believes in maintaining links with the Iranian clergy. It believes in Islamic egalitarianism and social justice. It is well organized. The current head is Sajid Ali Naqvi considered a moderate. The TJP is a sworn enemy of the Sipah-i-Sahaba, the extremist Sunni organization. The two have opposed each other and several hundred killings have resulted from these clashes since the late 1980s.


                        6.Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (JUI)


            The JUI is a sectarian Islamic party based on the Debandi maslak (school of thought). It has influence in NWFP and Punjab. Today it is a regional player in NWFP where it has once been in power in a coalition government in the 1970s. It as expected to win a few seats in its stronghold. The influence of the party is not from its electoral position but from its network of Islamic seminaries, known as madrassahs, running into the hundreds throughout the country. Some of these seminaries impart quality Islamic education. Others are more involved in sending volunteers for jihad in Afghanistan. The party has close links with the Taliban ruling Afghanistan.


                       7. Jihadists Entities


(a)    Harkat-ul Ansar: A tiny Jihadist organization labeled as “terrorist” by the USA. The organization aims to liberate Kashmir from the Indian military yoke. It is also very anti-American and is suspected of maintaining links with Jihadists in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The organization does not have any political aspirations as yet. It is currently active in Punjab.

(b)   Dawat al Irshad: A tiny Jihadist organization active in Punjab. Involved in the liberation war in Kashmir. The Dawat have grown impressively during the last few years.



Reform Agenda

Pakistan needs to discard the present parliamentary system and move towards a presidential system, as it is definitely closer to our Islamic legacy. It is much better suited for Pakistan than the Westminster parliamentary system. There is no need for a fragmentation of power at the highest level in the shape of a head of state and head of government, as is the case in a parliamentary system. Today we have both a chief executive (Musharraf) and president (Tarar), which is unnecessary. In a parliamentary system, the executive and legislature are fused, which sometimes gives rise to an extraordinarily powerful chief executive.  Only a presidential system with a system of checks-and-balances can end abuse of executive power. In addition, Islam does not allow an institutionalized Opposition in the current style of parliamentary practice. The whole nation, according to the Quran, must be united to build and serve a strong Islamic Ummah. Every Muslim is part of the “Hizb Allah”. Obviously, there cannot be an institutionalized Opposition to the Emir ul-Momineen. This does not mean that Islam condones dictatorship. Far from it. The rulers are themselves subject to the confines and checks of the Shariah and the Islamic legal tradition, in the same way as ordinary people. As everyone jointly struggles to establish the Islamic State, there is no purpose left for an institutionalized Opposition. An alternate government or a government-in-the-waiting is not necessary in Islam. Here the judiciary acts as the primary check on the executive as the Shariah remains supreme over the State. This does not mean cleric rule, however. The Shariah is to be duly embodied in the country’s Constitution, laws, and governance. The rule of law is a fundamental principle of the Islamic state, and its supreme manifestation can only be through an independent judiciary.  A new system needs to be formulated though the revision of the 1973 Constitution. The people desire that the military regime further Islamize Pakistan’s political system by putting it on a strong permanent foundation.

The Musharraf regime must open a new chapter in the country’s history by hauling up the military intelligence services, especially the ISSI, from playing godfather. The country has suffered enough already from its intrigues and manipulations.  The regime should promote a new style of politics in the country through advocating and putting into practice a system of “clean politics”, as earlier corruption has weakened it considerably. Let the people decide whom they trust with leadership of the country. Do not second-guess the choice of the people.

There is a need to improve the country’s electoral system by undertaking the following reforms. The electoral system is faulty and needs to be improved. The country must discard the current FPTP system in favor of the majoritarian system where only a person acquiring a majority (above fifty percent) [can be elected]. Most important, it should ensure that the coming elections are held to be fair by both the contestants and the public at large. Public perceptions matter a great deal. Therefore, the government should be very cautious and take all the necessary precautions that the elections are perceived as fair. In addition, it should ensure that the voter turnout is reasonable. The very credibility of the regime is at stake here. Reports in the press point to little enthusiasm in the public for the coming elections. More efforts need to be undertaken soon. The military regime simply cannot afford to botch up this election affair.


The regime should initiate devolution of powers to the provinces immediately. Recently, the NRB commenced on the second phase of its task that pertains to provincial autonomy. There is no right formula for granting autonomy to the provinces; only a correct [sic] method is [sic] followed. Provinces should be granted greater autonomy that must necessarily take place in a gradual and phased manner only after careful deliberation. This exercise can happen simultaneously with the establishment of the new local government system in the country. We believe that decentralization shall prove to be a practical methodology to solve acute governance problems in Pakistan. Over centralization and lack of delegated authority at lower levels have created a mess of government in the country. We will urge the regime to initiate devolution of powers to the provinces immediately. The Musharraf regime has shown some resolve to tackle the matter. This development is commendable. More effort needs to be made to open up the process of policy-making in the NRB. For example, a Roundtable of National Political Parties and Groups be immediately called in Islamabad to deliberate on these issues. The establishment of an effective Islamic democracy demands more public consultation throughout the process and not just in the end.


The issue of devolution of power

The issue of decentralization and devolution has attracted considerable attention lately. Out of seventy-five developing countries that have a population of more than five million, sixty-three developing countries are engaged in decentralization. Many countries consider decentralization as an extremely promising process of solving various problems and employing[sic Ed.]existing potential.[55] People everywhere are demanding a greater share in power than ever before. Decentralization is a global trend and local governments have been strengthened in many countries in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East and Africa. Europe and North America already have a tradition of decentralized structures in many countries. The question to be asked is why is this happening? It is at the local level that people contact government departments for meeting their every day life needs. For ordinary people the federal government is far away from their own every day life experiences and their needs. The local level matters most for the individuals and their families. In several countries, with centralized systems, the local level has been neglected. Despite allocation of money and many attempts at reforms, several governments have not been able to provide quality and consistent services at the local level required to improve the standard of living of the people. Kalin gives four reasons for strengthening local government. They are: 23

(1)               A local body is more accessible and quicker in response. Local services and programs can be more easily adapted to a specific local need] [sic Ed.]

(2)               The allocation of GOP resources can be done most efficiently [sic Ed.] the responsibility for each outlay is given to the level of government, which is the most close to beneficiaries.

(3)               Local development assists in reducing costs. If the locals feel that the money is theirs then the local people are more likely to be watchful over expenditures and to utilize money more efficiently. In addition, it provides more opportunity for public contributions to augment a local project

(4)               Development programs undertaken with public participation permits for adaptation to the specific needs of the locals. People are ready to give money if they are able to participate in the decision-making process and feel that the specific project benefits them directly. Involvement of locals increases sense of ownership and responsibility for the program. The public becomes stakeholders in the success of the program. Therefore, they are more likely to invest their resources and time into advancing the goals of the program. In turn, these assists [sic Ed.] in producing superior outcomes rather than if the development programs are decided from distant government agencies. Thus, beneficiaries who possess ownership of a program are also more likely to ensure sustainability. The fact that the locals are involved in the early planning encourages careful monitoring and protection of the results of the planning exercise. The federal government lacks knowledge about local problems and needs. They do not understand differences in local needs and conditions because the knowledge happens to be thinly distributed across the entire community, which is not available to the central planning agency. Even the greatest central planning agency cannot decide whether, in a particular local village case, improving the irrigation system or expanding schooling is more significant at a specific time. Only the local government can decide these things.24


Local Government in Pakistan

Local government institutions in Pakistan are weak largely because of their particular history, and the disinterest and the apathy of the federal and provincial governments.  Effective links with government and the communities, which though have been a part of the cherished goal of the local government institutions, have been missing. Devolution of authority by government to this lowest tier has yet to occur. Pakistan has a highly centralized system, in which the local level has been grossly neglected. Despite allocation of money and many attempts at reforms, several governments have failed to provide quality services on a regular basis at the local level. Primarily, the GOP activity has been directed from above instead of from citizens’ demands from below. Local governments serve a very important function in the administrative system of any country. Local governments are concerned essentially with providing services for the local communities like municipal services, primary education and health care. These services are obviously very essential, and local governments are given elected councils so that the citizens can have open access to them and get the services they desire. Local problems are best handled locally. Islamabad should not unduly interfere in this area. It can only create unlikely problems like what is happening now. Undue delay is caused because Islamabad or the provincial capital is involved in affairs that are too mundane for their level. We need to apply the subsidiary principle in government. The principle simply says that decision-making should happen at the lowest level possible. In other words, decisions should not go to an upper level  (provincial government, or even worse the federal government) than necessary. Decentralization is an effective way to solve governance problems in Pakistan. Acute centralization and lack of delegated authority at lower levels have created a mess of government in the country. Some indications point to a positive change. The regime claims that the past top-down approach needs to be modified with a vital bottom-up segment duly incorporated in the development strategy. Accordingly, there is a need for an effective third tier of government backed by sufficient resources to meet public needs. The principle of subsidiary is to be practiced wholeheartedly for meaningful results. Thus, the regime realizes that decentralization and devolution of power is essential for the efficiency and effectiveness of public service.


Reform Agenda: The Local Government Plan 2000

Notwithstanding the apparent contradiction between a military regime promoting democratic governance, we are convinced that the Local Government Plan 2000 (henceforth the Plan) has revolutionary potential. We believe that the plan shall prove beneficial to the country, if properly implemented. The overall direction is correct and the “bottom-up” strategy is certainly workable. According to the 1973 Constitution, holding of local government elections is the responsibility of the provinces and the Provincial Election Commissions. As the Constitution is held in abeyance and the provincial assemblies are suspended, General Musharraf has ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold local government elections in the country. Meanwhile, the Plan is proceeding as per scheduled. A set of ordinances is promulgated in the provinces and Islamabad for the purpose.[56] Other than a few minor problems, the Plan is indeed remarkable. Given the past grave failures of all governments in our history, the Musharraf regime must be given the benefit of the doubt. Unlike other military regimes, it seems to be sincere in turning around Pakistan. Remember this is the most serious thrust at devolution yet. The people want real change in the country and the military regime has to deliver. Pakistan will be richer for the devolution exercise. Although the military regime is flexible on the final shape of the devolution plan, there are many complex issues still to be worked out. The plan’s briefness and lack of essential details is discomforting. As the popular saying goes, “the devil is in the details” and the details are surely missing. Thus, the main problem with the NRB report is not what it contains but what it leaves out. In all fairness, the NRB faces a stupendous task well beyond its human capacity and limited means. Therefore, all the more reason for civil society and international agencies to lend a helping hand. The people owe the military regime their full cooperation because if it fails the country fails also.


Highlights of the Plan

* Elections shall be held on a non-party basis.

* The electoral system is based on the FPTP simple-plurality system as in the past.

* About 200,000 new officials shall be elected at various levels.

* Elections will be held on [the] basis of Separate Electorate

* Direct elections for union level only and indirect for tehsil and district.

* The elected Nazim of the union council shall be [an] ex-officio member of the district council.

* There are 21 seats in each union council. There will be 16 general seats, 8 reserved seats for workers or peasants, and 2 minorities. Half of these seats will be reserved for women.

* There are 4,147 union councils in the country. Of them, 2,492 are in Punjab, 625 in Sindh, 668 in NWFP, and 362 in Baluchistan, and 12 in Islamabad.

* The tehsil council shall consist of 34 members who shall then elect a Nazim to head it. There shall be 25 general seats, five reserved for women, and two each for workers or peasants and minorities.

* There are 376 tehsil (Punjab –118, Sindh 87, NWFP- 58, and Baluchistan-113).

* Cities will be called city districts to be divided into towns, the equivalent of tehsil in the rural areas. The structures of the two shall be identical.

* There are 106 district governments in Pakistan. Punjab will have 34, Sindh 21, NWFP 24, Baluchistan 26, and the Islamabad capital district.

* An indirectly elected Zila Nazim and his deputy shall head the district administration. All thirteen departments shall work under him or her.  A district coordination officer who shall be given tenure of service will assist him or her in this task.

* On the pattern of the National Finance Commission, there shall be a provincial finance commission for the purpose of resource allocation among the districts.

* The divisional tier will be abolished. There are presently 22 divisions in the country.

* Speedy justice shall be ensured at the local level through more courts and revival of conciliatory mechanism to preempt litigation

* The voting age is lowered from 21 to 18 years.

* The Constitution of the republic shall be amended to give adequate cover to the Plan.

The system shall be in place by August 14, 1999 through staggered elections, which began last December and shall end by July this year. The local government polls in the 18 districts were held on
December 31 last year, which were observed by a group of 18
foreign observers from the embassies of different countries and
Commonwealth Secretariat, London. The voters' turn out in the first phase of local government elections is 45.66% with 19.61%
candidates returned unopposed and the rate of rejected votes is
extraordinarily high at 13.71%. The local government polls in the 18 districts were held on December 31 last year, which were observed by a group of 18
foreign observers from different countries. The elections are free, fair and transparent.[57] By all standards the exercise has started of on the right track.


Structures of Local Government

There shall be established a three tier pyramid-shaped structure of local governments (district, tehsil and union).

A. Union Council

Each Union Council shall consist of 21 seats headed by a Nazim (administrator) and his deputy (Naib Nazim). There are 4,147 union councils in the country. Of them, 2,492 are located in Punjab, 625 in Sindh, 668 in NWFP, 362 in Baluchistan, and 12 in Islamabad capital territory. The Nazim and Naib Nazim shall be directly elected on a joint candidacy.[58]

The Nazim will automatically become a member of the Zila Council while the Naib will become a member of the Tehsil Council. The Zila Nazim and the Naib Nazim will have to be educated upto at least secondary school/matriculation certification or equivalent.

The functions of the union council are to undertake local development and perform a myriad of public services such as finance, municipal, public safety, health, education, literacy, works, and justice.[59] Monitoring committees shall facilitate the work of the union council.[60] In addition, citizen community boards in both urban and rural areas and village councils in rural areas shall be established to facilitate the functioning of the union councils.[61] The union council may also form a local guard service, which will be registered with the local police station. The guard service shall be recruited and paid by the union council. The Public Safety Committee of the union council shall liaison with the guard service and the police station.[62]


B. Tehsil Council

The tehsil council shall consist of general seats equivalent to the number of union councils in that particular tehsil. In addition, 33% of these seats are reserved for women, 5% reserved for workers or peasants and 5% for minorities. The Electoral College for elections to these reserved seats shall be the union councilors of the tehsil.[63]


Each tehsil shall have a tehsil nazims and a deputy (naib-nazim) to be elected as joint candidates. The Electoral College for these nazims shall be the union councilors of the tehsil.[64]


There are 376 tehsils in Pakistan (Punjab 118, Sindh 87, NWFP 58, and Baluchistan 113).


The functions of the tehsil councils have been left vague. It is mainly supposed to be involved in coordination function between the district and tehsil levels. The Plan says that through various committees it will monitor the performance of the tehsil administration and the tehsil-level offices of the district government.[65] There shall be a Public Safety and Justice Committees at the tehsil level.[66]


City District Administration

City district administrations shall be established in all four provincial capitals and Islamabad. These city governments shall provide centralized municipal services with additional capacity and resources. Public services provided include: water supply and sanitation, waste disposal and sewerage, transport, housing, public works, roads, river and riverine management, and streets.[67] City districts to be divided into towns will be further sub-divided into unions. The borders of the city district shall be demarcated as that of the tehsil.


C. District

The district government shall be composed of a Zila Council and the nazim and naib-nazim. There are 106 districts in Pakistan (Punjab 34, Sindh 21, NWFP 24, Baluchistan 26, and the Islamabad capital).


Zila Council

The zila council shall consist of union nazims. Each union council shall have a representative in the zila council. Each zila council shall have general seats equivalent to the number of union councils in the district. In addition, there shall be 33% reserved seats for women, 5% for workers or peasants, and 5% for minorities.

The Electoral College for these reserve seats shall be the union councilors of the district.[68]

An electoral college composed of union counselors of the district shall elect the zila nazim and the naib-nazim as joint candidates. There is an academic qualification required for the two candidates. They shall have to be at least matriculates, or the equivalent.[69]

The zila council shall have the following functions:[70]

(a)    Legislative powers to levy taxes.

(b)   Monitoring and oversight through a specialized committee system.

(c)    Grant approval of budget and development schemes of the district administration.


Zila Nazim and Naib- Zila Nazim duo


The zila Nazim shall provide political leadership for the development of the district.[71]

He or she [sic Ed.] shall be the executive head of the district administration. The district police shall operate under the zila nazim.[72]

The naib-zila nazim shall be the speaker of the zila council and will liaison between the zila nazim and the zila council.[73]

The zila nazim will present development plans and budget to the zila council for approval. [74]

The zila nazism’s powers to fire state officials have been restricted. He or she is only able to transfer district officials after giving them formal warnings and that too after first consulting the District Coordination Officer (DCO). In such an eventuality, he or she will have to give the reasons for the transfer in writing.[75]

The Zila Nazim shall initiate the performance evaluation report of the DCO. The technical reporting officer of the DCO shall remain the provincial Chief Secretary.[76]


Removal from Office

The zila nazim may be removed from office by an internal and external method. The internal method shall be composed of a two-stage process:[77] First, simple-majority motion initiated in the zila council. Second, affirmative vote by two-third of all union councilors in the district. The external method shall be composed of three stages: First, a motion by the chief minister of the province stating the grounds of the removal. Second, a simple-majority vote in the provincial assembly. Third, confirmation of the governor in his discretion. The zila nazim may not be removed in the first six months of his assumption of office. Only one removal motion may be made in a year.


District or Zila Administration

A grade 20 official shall be posted as the DCO to coordinate the Zila administration. There shall be 12 offices each headed by an Executive District Officer who shall for the most part coordinate the work of the sub-office. There will be an internal audit office under the Zila Nazim. District officers shall head sub-offices at the district headquarters. Deputy District Officers shall be in charge of specific functions at the tehsil level. [78]


An incentive system shall be established to quickly reward good performance by the public servants. End user satisfaction shall determine the grant of these public service rewards. In addition, unsatisfactory performance of public servants shall be punished.

The revenue and magistracy shall be separate offices.[79] This action alone has diminished the power of the erstwhile Deputy Commissioner’s office.

The Provincial Government shall still be able to post the DCO, District Police Officer, and District Officers to the districts.[80]

The following offices shall be established:[81]

(1)               The DCO shall be responsible for coordination, human resource management, and civil defense

(2)               Works & Services Department shall be responsible for housing, urban and rural development, water supply and sanitation, building and roads, energy and Industrial Promotion, and Transport

(3)               Finance and Planning Department shall be responsible for finance and budget, planning and development and Accounts

(4)               Agriculture Department shall be responsible for agriculture, livestock, irrigation and drainage, fisheries and forests.

(5)               Health Department shall be responsible for public health, environment, basic and rural health units, child and woman health, and population welfare.

(6)               Education Department shall be responsible for boys and girls’ schools, technical education, and sports (educational institutions).

(7)               Literacy Department shall be responsible for literacy campaigns, continuing education, and vocational education.

(8)               Community Development Department shall be responsible for local government institutional development, community organization, labor, social welfare and special education, sports and culture, registration and cooperatives.

(9)               Information Technology (IT) Department shall be responsible for IT development, IT promotion, and database maintenance. The districts shall have transparent information systems and the IT department shall develop the automation of government systems in each district. A large amount of public data shall be accessible by citizens through the new systems.

(10)           Revenue Department shall be responsible for land revenue and estate, and excise and taxation.

(11)           Law Department shall be responsible for litigation, legal, and legislation

(12)           Magistracy

Later, in October 2000 the number of departments was reduced to ten only as some were to be merged. There would be now six departments working in the area of community development, which are:[82]

(1)   Social welfare and special education

(2)   Community development organization

(3)   Local government industrial development

(4)   Labor

(5)   Cooperatives

(6)   Sport

Functions of District Administration:[83]

(1)               Prepare budget and plans for submission to zila nazim, and upon approval by him or her and the zila council, shall carry out their implementation.

(2)               Formulate district rules and regulations for approval of zila council

(3)               Application of federal and provincial laws and regulations.

(4)               Executive oversight of implementation of policies.

(5)               Provide information and cooperation for monitoring of zila, tehsil and union council monitoring committees, and citizen community boards.

(6)               Use of information from evaluation systems at various levels.



The district shall enjoy financial autonomy and sustainability.[84] A district finance system shall be established to fulfill the following primary goals:[85]


(1)   Ensure the autonomy and financial sustainability of the local government.

(2)   Finance the new structure.

(3)   Increase public participation in the development activity by “fostering ownership through the incentive framework”.

(4)   Provide an increased level of funding for the development activity.

The three tiers of local government shall have tax collection machinery and will be given a specified schedule of local taxes for each level.[86] On the pattern of the National Finance Commission, there shall be a provincial finance commission for the purpose of resource allocation among the districts. A formula for fiscal transfers from the provinces will be devised and implemented.[87] The finance system at best is very vague at present.

District Ombudsman

The office is established to redress citizens’ grievances. The District Ombudsman shall investigate matters and redress matters suo moto or on receiving a citizen’s complaint. It shall be selected and appointed by Zila Council.[88]


District Police

The police service in Pakistan is notoriously corrupt, inefficient, and ineffective. General Musharraf claims that through new reform and measures, the police will be purged of corruption and it will be converted into an honest, people-friendly, and efficient department. He has admitted that the existing police force “failed to inspire people and earn them [sic Ed.] confidence” and that the police is regarded as “a highly inefficient, corrupt and a politically motivated department.”[89] Nevertheless, the government is committed to ensure rule of law and good governance, says General Musharraf. He claimed that the regime would soon implement police reforms to “restructure the force to make it modern, efficient and respectable”.[90] The efforts are now in an advanced stage and that a comprehensive strategy regarding police reforms has been formulated which includes:[91]


(a)    Recruitment and promotion on merit.

(b)   Revised salary structures. The NRB has proposed a 100% increase in salaries to eliminate corruption in the service.[92]

(c)    Latest equipment.

(d)   Improved physical facilities.

(e)    Effective monitoring system.

The police reform LG Plan has been jointly prepared by the NRB and the Interior Ministry and is expected to get the approval of the Cabinet very soon.

As regards the district-level police service, the LG Plan says explicitly that:[93] “law and order will remain a provincial subject. The provinces will be responsible for raising, organizing, equipping, training, and maintaining the police for the district in all respects”. Thus, the control of the police at the district level shall remain the same as before. Locals, as far as possible, shall operate the district police, however.[94]

While, on the one hand, it is said that law and order shall remain a provincial subject, on the other hand, it is said that the district police will be exclusively responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the districts.[95] The province will maintain all police facilities but the districts may also add to them for the purpose of greater efficiency.[96]

The police will be restructured with the aim of providing it with proper remuneration, training, equipment, and accommodation facilities.[97]


It has been planned that the Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) officers shall head the police station eventually.[98] Note that the ASP is the entry-level posting of a grade-17 police officer in the Central Superior Services (CSS) and is recruited through the standard FPSC examination system. Generally, the current Station House Officer (SHO) heading the local police station is a junior officer and not part of the CSS system. Among other reforms, the police have also been given protection from undue political interference. The LG Plan says that no police official besides the DPO shall be directly answerable to any elected representative, board, or committee.[99] One of the factors often cited for police ineffectiveness is the undue political interference in the normal working of the service. An attempt is being made to rectify the problem. Another factor cited is the untrained and sometimes barely literate SHO being in charge in the “thana” (local police stations). The culture of the Thana invariably has become notorious for bad behavior, corruption, and abuse. It might be somewhat improved when better trained and senior officers operate them. Meanwhile, a serious exercise is being undertaken right now to replace the 1861 police act with a new one.

There is an obvious duality in the LG Plan’s district police service. In addition, there is an obvious apprehension that the nascent district governments shall be unable to handle the awesome responsibility of policing. Therefore, it is best left in provincial hands. This line of argument has apparently won the day in the corridors of power. People fear too much change happening too soon. The question remains as to whether the duality shall adversely affect the working of the district administration. Much depends on how ground events unfold in realty. Perhaps, the system might operate without encumbrance. In that case, current apprehensions may prove to be largely unfounded.


The LG Plan has some other checks on police abuse, namely:[100]

(1) District Public Safety Commissions to monitor police performance. The commission shall be composed of 8-12 members, half of whom shall be elected by the Zila Council and the other half to be appointed by the provincial Chief Minister on the recommendations of a selection panel consisting of:

(a)    A District and Sessions judge.

(b)   A non-elected nominee of the Zila Nazim.

(c)    A non-elected nominee of the provincial Chief Minister

As far as possible, one-third of the members shall be women.

(2) The differentiation of functions in the service. For example, the function of prosecution shall not be part of the function of the police. Investigation function has also been separated from normal police duties. It shall be performed by a separate chain of command accountable to the District Police Officer. The investigation head is responsible to the police chief of the province through a Deputy Inspector General of Police Crimes Branch. [101]

(3) An FIR can also be registered outside the police stations (already being done in Karachi).

Public oversight has been strengthened. The citizens’ community boards and the Public Safety Committees at various levels shall monitor the performance of the district police. There shall also be a criminal justice coordination committee.

A Police Complaint Authority to guarantee fundamental rights is also being envisaged. The PCA shall be established in all provinces and districts, if required. It shall consist of a chairperson and six members.[102] The chairman shall be appointed by the chief minister of the province whereas the Home minister of the province shall appoint the members upon recommendation of a list of candidates by the Public Safety Commission of the said province.[103]

Each province shall have a Provincial Safety Commission (PSC). It will have 12 members, the Provincial assembly will elect six, and the remaining six will be appointed by the Governor of the province in his discretion, from a list of candidates given to him or her by a panel. The recommending panel shall consist of the following:[104]

(a)    A non-elected nominee of the Chief Minister of the province.

(b)   A non-elected nominee of the Chief executive.

(c)    Chief Justice of the High Court.

As far as possible, one-third of the independent as well as elected members of the PPSC shall be women.

The commission itself shall select the chairperson of the PSC. The person shall serve the term on a quarterly rotation basis.[105]


District-level criminal justice system

The criminal justice system suffers from a number of flaws that need to be rectified. Some proposals submitted by the Good Governance Group (G-3), GOP in 1999[106] is already under consideration.

(1)               Complete separation of judiciary from the executive has not yet taken place, in the light of the concept of separation propounded in the Constitution. For its efficient working, the judiciary is still dependent on the police regarding production of under trial prisoners on dates of hearing, service of summons, warrants, attendance of witnesses, submission of "challans" within reasonable time, completion of investigation of different cases at various stages. However, progress has been made in the process of separation of executive from the judiciary. It is time that other essential changes in the system are affected without any further dilly-dallying so that the people start getting the feel of a criminal justice system which is fair, less cumbersome, relatively inexpensive and above all, efficient and effective.

(2)               Selection of the judicial officers is not on based on merit alone. There is no Federal Judicial Service established to ensure better functioning.

(3)               The main reason for the delay in the disposal of criminal cases is due to the shortage of Judicial Magistrates. Presently, as many as 3000 cases are pending before the Judicial Magistrates. Given the backlog it is impossible for these officials to properly attend to these pending cases.

(4)               With a view to resolving the problem of the backlog and ensuring quick disposal of cases, there should be an increase in the number of judges and judicial officers.

(5)               Investigation and prosecution cadres should be separated from general police duties.

(6)               Uniform laws should be applied all over the country.

(7)               Civil society groups can concentrate more on helping combat crime. The problem of endless postings and transfers will be controllable. Civic groups want to work with the same set of people and do not want to deal with different officers all the time.

(8)               The training of the police services needs to be revamped. Better-trained police officers can only come about if we have better qualified recruits. The educational level of recruits in the police forces will have to be increased from what it is today. The local police station culture is messed up because of illiterate policemen, among other reasons.

(9)               The investigational aspect of police work needs to be stressed. Investigation is a technical specialty requiring specialized training. It should be separated from the normal police work. Police beatings and other torture in our police stations are common and must end. Confessions through torture should not be made admissible in court.

(10)           The state-persecuting arm is wholly inadequate. A powerful Federal Advocate General’s office should be created with its counterparts in the provinces. The present Ehtesab Bureau setup should be discontinued. The main prosecuting agency will be the advocate general. All powers now belonging to the Ehtesab chief will belong to a civil service agency – the Advocate General.

(11)           The compensation of the entire state service employees needs to be increased. An honest state service is not just a consequence of good intentions and ground facilities but also monetary compensation. For example, the civil services of Hong Kong and Singapore are honest because they are better paid. That we do not have the resources to increase salaries is a lame excuse. We do not have a choice in the matter. Penny wise and pound-foolish policies defy logic and common sense. Effective government is a function of satisfied and contented officials and is not possible otherwise. Simple as that. Moreover, this principle of good governance is accepted universally. No one has yet challenged its efficacy.


Judicial System

A common criticism of the judicial process in all regions of Pakistan is that it is cumbersome, costly, and time-consuming. The idea that everyone is equal before the law does not make practical sense if people are prevented, or dissuaded from going to the law courts by the sheer cost involved. Critics of the system argue that not only is the system costly it is also riddled with corruption, especially at the lowest levels. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these observations are largely accurate. The GOP needs to make the judiciary much more efficient in terms of cases adjudicated in a given year. Court cases have piled up, and the backlog of cases is formidable. Even the higher judiciary suffers from a high degree of caseloads and delays. The GOP also needs to increase the equality and effectiveness of our judicial system. The quality of judgments can only be improved by the recruitment of quality judges. You cannot have quality judgments by mediocre judges. This is most important at the highest level.

No work plan has been chalked for the district judiciary for the simple reason that, after the approval of recommendations by the National Security Council, they have been sent to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He is now considering them for implementation.[107] The previous NRB document of the Local Government Plan released in May 2000 has vague references on improving the working of the judicial system. However, the higher judiciary itself is engaged in the revamping of the system. Details are not known yet.


Recommendations to Strengthen the Regional Judiciary System

The GOP is considering major reforms in the subordinate judiciary. A report by Asian Development Bank on the subject, plus proposals submitted by provincial law ministries and bar councils, combined in a final document have been submitted to the Chief Executive. The said document contains the following proposals:[108]


(a)                Resolve public complaints against negligent practice by lawyers through a formal Disciplinary Committee mechanism. The committee consists of a High Court judge and senior members of the bar.

(b)               Control mushroom growth of private law colleges. Improve entrance requirements to law colleges. Require a written bar examination for permission to practice the profession.

(c)                Improve quality of subordinate judiciary. No appointment of Additional District and Session Judges from the bar.

(d)               Tighten entry requirements for civil judges. Only advocates with a minimum of 2-4 years should be eligible for appointments as civil judges.

(e)                Improve the salaries and other benefits of the subordinate judiciary.

(f)                 Recruitment, promotion is to be based only on merit. No other consideration is made, especially in the selection of the higher judiciary.

(g)                The bifurcation of the judiciary and the executive should be enhanced. For a proper functioning of the judiciary, it must be separated from the executive and not be dominated by it. Otherwise, the cause of justice cannot be served.

(h)                The number of courts is inadequate to serve a growing population. Therefore, a bigger court system should be established.

(i)                 Laws may be simplified and Islamized gradually. A hotchpotch of laws: Islamic, British, and traditional [customary ?], cannot be effective, especially if they cover the same subject matter. Laws need to be consolidated under the rubric of Islamic law, as far as possible.

(j)                 Selection for higher judiciary positions should be made a more difficult and painstaking process rather than as it is at present, similar to most developed countries. An elected public body be also involved in the ratification of nominations for higher judiciary positions cleared by both the executive and the higher judiciary itself. The intention is to get the best people to be appointed as judges. The ratification process must involve interview sessions open to the public, as in the USA.


Apprehensions about the LG Plan and Public Reaction

Some issues are still left undecided, the most important being the announcement of a date for provincial and national assembly elections. Other less important issues are:

(a)    The manner of interaction between the districts and the provinces.

(b)   Financial autonomy issues. Exact working of the new provincial finance commission.

(c)    Taxation issues. For example, nature and extent of formulas for direct grants from provinces and the federal government.

(d)   Actual implementation of the rules and regulations pertaining to elections by the Election Commission


Funding of the Local Government

Much like its counterparts elsewhere, the GOP shall also make the following transfers:[109]

(a)    Block transfer.

(b)   Matching grants.

(c)    Specific purpose grants.

However, the details of these transfers have yet to be spelled out.


Decentralized Governance of Large Cities

Big cities in Pakistan are in a mess as their administrations are highly inefficient.  Therefore, urban areas need immediate attention of the Musharraf regime to resolve their myriad problems.  Rampant urbanization has put tremendous pressure on the government to deliver services to an increasing population.  Social decay, crime, and loss of community feelings have resulted because of the inability of government to properly handle the situations. Shantytowns, around and in some of the big cities, are proof of a lack of proper planning to manage urban development.  Problems have piled up and, if let unchecked, will prove explosive, politically speaking. The problems in all the cities differ only in quantum, but the nature of the problem is the same. No large city has been able to develop a decent mass transit system; there is lack of discipline and chaos on the roads, etc. The Good Governance Group: GOP held a workshop on the subject in 1998 which came up with some key objectives of a reform strategy that include:[110]

(a)    Function of cities is dependent upon appropriate government structures. The mess created in all big cities is the result of non-functioning of elected local bodies. Constitutional guarantee to be provided for the function of the local bodies as provided for by provincial and federal governments.

(b)   The problem of water and sanitation cannot be resolved independently without bringing drastic and revolutionary changes in the present set up and the rethinking of the federal and provincial government roles and responsibilities. Retreat from the provision of services and lexical decision-making. Their roles shall be restricted to strategic planning and management. They shall be facilitators rather than service providers.

(c)    Unrealistic planning causes low-income housings. Therefore, regularize and improve Katchi Abadis (slums) through self-help and public participation as undertaken in the highly successful Orangi Pilot Project, Karachi. In addition, establish micro credit schemes for home improvement and incremental housing construction. The Khuda-Ki-Basti model should be replicated in other cities also.

(d)   City management is weak and needs to be revamped. There is no clear demarcation of functions at the level of city government.  This needs to be streamlined immediately. A great many agencies are providing services without proper coordination or even accountability. Proper demarcation of functions must be realized. The control of the cities should not be vested in the hands of political representatives but only in the bureaucracy.


(i) The Issue of Increasing the Number of Provinces

In 1997, we have strongly recommended the creation of at least fifteen provinces in Pakistan. Under the new federal scheme, the Punjab province can be split into five; Sindh into three; NWFP into three; Baluchistan into three; and FATA Northern Areas and Kashmir can be consolidated into the fifteenth province.[111] The breakup of the federation into smaller units must necessarily be initiated from the Punjab because of its heavy domination of the country’s politics. This measure is politically very difficult for any government because of deep-seated fears of national disintegration. These fears are unfounded, however. We strongly urge the Musharraf regime to take the bold step of breaking up Punjab in the initial phase.  Only the military regime can take such a courageous step given the unique circumstances. Many eminent Pakistanis, like Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri, [112]Altaf Husain leader of MQM (Haqiqi), Shahid Javed Burki, have already proposed more provinces to be created in Pakistan.[113]

Why create more provinces? Earlier, we have argued that comparative analysis indicated that the number of constituent units in a federation have an important impact upon its effectiveness and operation. The fact that Switzerland has 26 cantons, Germany has 16 landers; Canada has 10 provinces, and the 50 states comprising the USA did explain different overall performance.[114] Recently the Russian federation adopted a new constitution that has 89 constituent units. Federal systems are suited for either very large countries or ones, like Pakistan, that have numerous ethnic, cultural and linguistic cleavages. Gunlicks points out that a study of Belgium, Spain, Russia, India, Canada, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and South Africa indicates that the most significant factor behind the establishment of several federations is linguistic, ethnic, religious or racial strains, real or potential.[115] The Malakand tribal belt is unlike cosmopolitan Karachi, and the Potahar region in northern Punjab is dissimilar to the Seraiki belt in the south of the province. Hence, a new formula for federalism needs to be adopted. Pakistan will not be the first or the last federation to change its setup. India did it, so can we? From only 12 provinces at the time of Independence India has gone up to 25. We must realize that all countries evolve new political structures to solve their conflicts and that there is nothing sacred in the current federal setup of Pakistan. If by discarding the current setup we are able to lessen Pakistan’s problems of governance then we should not hesitate to incorporate the necessary changes. In addition, there seems to be an increasing consensus in the country for changing the current federal structure. In fact, Pakistan has too few provinces for its size and is a glaring exception in this regard. For example, Austria and Belgium each have nine provinces; Brazil 22 provinces, Egypt 26; France 21, Indonesia 27; Iran 23; Iraq 18; Japan 47; Nigeria 19; Malaysia 14 and Turkey 67.  

The increase in number of provinces must necessarily accompany decentralization and devolution of power to regional and local levels of government. Pakistan suffers from an over centralization of power in Islamabad. Provinces should be granted greater autonomy and devolution of power must necessarily take place immediately. A highly centralized government is increasingly becoming unpopular in the minority provinces. The constitution of Pakistan should be modeled on that of Canada where the federal government is weak in comparison to the provinces. The federal government of Pakistan must retain only a few clearly spelled out powers in the Constitution. The country needs a looser federal setup because of its great diversity both social and economic. Provinces must have greater control over their purse strings and should have the freedom to allocate a greater bulk of their resources, as they deem fit. Jurisdiction over a number of subjects from the Concurrent List of the Constitution of 1973 can be permanently transferred to the provinces. It is about time that we stressed the principle of federal restructuring. The details of provincial autonomy should be worked out. The Musharraf regime has shown some movement in this regard. Omar Asghar Khan, federal minister said that certain subjects would be handed over to the provinces ending duplication of ministries at the two levels. He sounded confident that reduction of ministries at the federal level would prove helpful in saving national resources and in implementing the devolution plan.[116]

Pakistan needs a better administrative setup to fulfill the demands of sustainable development for the benefit of the people. The regime must increase the number of provinces in the country. From four provinces, we should go up to eight or so. Remember there is nothing sacred in the present dispensation. The present administrative setup is inherited from the colonial era of the British Raj.  It is now obsolete to meet the demands of the 21st century. Many will agree that restructuring of the system of government is the need of the hour. The number of provinces in India has increased from the original ten at independence to 27 today. Every federation alters its setup to solve its most pressing problems. Why not us? In addition, Pakistan is unlike any other federation in the world where only one majority province (Punjab) has more weight than all the other remaining ones. Most importantly, the other three provinces (NWFP, Baluchistan and Sindh) resent this occurrence. The imbalance must be immediately rectified. A healthier dispensation will call for the creation of more provinces but in a gradual fashion spread over a reasonable time. We propose a new federal scheme where the Punjab province can be split into three (North-central-south); Sindh into two (north-south); NWFP; Baluchistan, FATA, and Northern Areas and Kashmir can be consolidated into the eighth province. The breakup of the federation into smaller units must necessarily be initiated from the Punjab because of its heavy domination of the country’s politics. This measure is politically very difficult for any government because of deep-seated fears of national disintegration, however.

Several nationalist movements have sprung up during the years. Nationalist parties are protesting of being deliberately ignored in the present setup. A new PONM - an alliance of nationalists is in the making. On the eve of the census in September 1997, different Seraiki nationalist parties protested the absence of the Seraiki language as an option in the census form. The Seraiki Qaumi Movement led the protest. Akram Shaheen, a central leader of the party, claimed that there are over 37 million Seraikis in Pakistan and some 25 million reside in Bahawalpur, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sargodha divisions alone. Previously in 1973, Riaz Hadhari had formed the Seraiki Suba Mahaz in Bahawalpur. Demand for a separate province is being echoed by a number of other Seraiki parties which included: Jag Seraiki Party, Seraiki Qaumi Inqalabi party, Seraik Qaumi Tehrik, Pakistan Seraiki Party (PSP), Seraikistan National Front, Seraiki Mazdoor Mahaz, Seraiki Inqalabi Council. Asad Langah, leader of PSP, has asserted that the Seraiki area is ignored and the demand for a separate province is widespread.[117]


Decentralization and devolution of powers

(a)   Need for adequate checks-and balances in the political system.

Pakistan also suffers from a weak checks-and-balances system that has led to abuse of power. Today, in Pakistan, for all practical purposes, we have shifted towards a presidential system instead of the earlier parliamentary system. The development is commendable. A presidential system is more suited for our purposes than a Westminster parliamentary type. Our Islamic legacy points to a powerful single office of the Emir, or Khalifah. There is no need for a fragmentation of power at the highest level as is the case in a parliamentary system. We have here both a premier and president, which is unnecessary. In a parliamentary system, a chief executive can become a “dictator”. Many premiers have been accused of having dictatorial tendencies, such as Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi. The only difference between a dictator and a strong leader is the ideological perspective of the person making the evaluation. Opponents paradoxically perceive what supporters see as “strong leadership” as “dictatorship” - simply meaning that you might agree or disagree with the accusation of dictatorship on the grounds of your own ideological moorings. If you are for the chief executive, then you will look up to him as a strong leader. On the other hand, if you oppose him, for whatever reasons, then you will think of the person as a dictator. The point is that it all depends on individual preferences and that the notion is relative. Only a strong presidential system with a built-in system to check abuse of executive power can possibly work in Pakistan. We must improve the quality of the Cabinet. A move towards a permanent presidential system will take care of the mediocrity problem in the Cabinet. Personal failure of ruling MNAs has hurt us the most. Very few of them are capable of handling the affairs of state. Yet, they filled the ranks of the Cabinet. This is done at the cost of the nation. In a presidential system, we can scout for the best talent available. That is a necessary condition for the revival of democracy. Recently, General Musharraf said that he is “completely committed” to the timetables for elections in 2002 given to him by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and that he  “cannot visualize stayingon beyond that deadline”. [118] He also talked about the need for “checks and balances” on any future chief executive to prevent him or her from abusing power. The quality of politicians needs to be improved, as they have been a “dismal failure”, said the General. The Plan is a good beginning in that direction. Let us adopt the presidential system in Pakistan, as it is more suitable for our requirements. General Musharraf should become the president of the republic immediately. President Rafiq Tarar must also resign at once.


Later, the military regime needs to revamp the National Assembly and Senate. This is very essential for the future working of the political system. Strengthen the two institutions because their performance up until now has been less than satisfactory. Require that the Senate be popularly elected. Let an equal number of Senators be elected from each province. End Presidential Ordinances and require that all laws, even if of an immediate nature, be passed by the parliament. Provide full media coverage for the proceedings of the parliament to educate the citizens. Strengthen the committee system to oversee the business of the federal government. Have a minimum education requirement for MNAs and Senators. Get rid of the Thirteenth Amendment, which is meant to stifle dissent within the ranks of the ruling party. We have suffered from the results of this heavy-handedness on the part of Nawaz Sharif. We should not let it happen again. Let people in parliament speak their mind. After all, the people elected them for that very purpose.


(b)   Need to strengthen the political party system.

The regime needs to revamp the political party system. We badly need strong political parties that can deliver what they promise. Currently, it is totally beyond the capability of any one individual to deliver results. He or she cannot even comprehend the complexity of the age, let alone find appropriate solutions. Therefore, teamwork is a necessity. Groupthink can possibly work where a single individual might easily fail. Political observers suggest that Pakistan has a weak political party system. It has been argued that political parties are weak simply because they are never given a chance to take roots in Pakistani political soil. Pakistan has been ruled by the military for nearly half of its history. There were two significantly long spells of military rule: General Ayub Khan’s (58-68) and General Zia’s rule (77-88). Both are commonly considered as failures. General Musharraf’s current military rule has interrupted the growth of the system yet once again. There is some reason in this argument though. The counter-argument is that the military intervened only when the country was/is threatened from within and that the Army was/is a reluctant ruler of Pakistan. It is also true of General Musharraf’s seizing power in October 1999. Nevertheless, the military has cast a long shadow on the political party system in Pakistan. Most political parties owe their existence to the Army’s Intelligence services. Such is the power of the Army that its support is widely thought to be indispensable for the establishment and continuation of political parties in the country. An underlying authoritarian culture in Pakistan makes this significant for politics. In other words, the democratic institutions of which the political parties constitute one significant element have never established themselves as they have done elsewhere, say, as in India.

Political parties, with very few exceptions, are undemocratic establishments where “personalistic” politics are the norm. Leadership is not chosen in democratic fashion nor is internal democracy practiced in any significant manner. There is mere lip service to democracy. Once in power they act(ed) with authoritarian impulses and weakened internal democracy even further. Moreover, patronage politics and massive corruption in party ranks have eroded popular faith in the party system itself. Most seriously, parties in power have failed to deliver according to the expectations of the people, including their own ranks. Disenchantment with the two parties ruling Pakistan for more than a decade - the PPP and PML - is at an all time high. Politics as a notion by itself has a disreputable ring to it owing to the scandals of the main political parties. Popular perceptions about politicians as such are negative, at least now more so than earlier on. People felt that things had grown from bad to worse in the last period of civilian rule from 1988 (after Zia’s death) to 1999 (when General Musharraf took power in October). Pakistan has witnessed a criminalized form of politics since 1988. The political leadership has failed to come to the country’s rescue.  No doubt, there was great failure in the governance style of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. They  have both developed circumspect personalities. Mediocrity, sycophancy, mismanagement have wreaked havoc with the administrative machinery of the state. The failures in Pakistan are obviously greater than those of its rulers. After all, the people of Pakistan chose them as their leaders and therefore should share the blame for their failures. It is a universal maxim that you get the leadership you deserve. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also taught this maxim. Political parties have a vital function in democratic governance. A political party is simply an aggregate of groups holding similar views that aspire to gain power over the state machinery to implement their priorities. They offer the public clear choices in the elections and are accountable to it. Upon winning elections, political parties form governments to implement their manifestos. Political parties offer the public the means with which to participate in the political process. They serve as channels of communication between the people and government leadership. Political parties assist in recruitment of candidates for elections and canvass for them.[119] Different parties can have different priorities but they have one thing in common: the appreciation of politics as the art of the possible. Parties help to select candidates for elections, campaign for them, and provide winners with the support necessary to bring in tangible reform. Parties also help recruit members, articulate a program, and try to propagate it throughout the country. Thus, party politics is extremely important for a healthy democracy. Most importantly, local politics is the platform for entry on the higher levels. Future party leadership is nurtured at the local level. All strong political parties sponsor or have adjunct think tanks to do research and provide like-minded intellectuals some space to use their abilities. The above account is theory only. The reality, however, in Pakistan is quite different. The tragedy is that Pakistan’s political parties, with very few exceptions, do not come close to the requirement. No wonder they are ill-prepared to implement their agenda. The required personnel are simply not there for the optimum use by the party. Hence the failure. This has occurred for a host of reasons, which need not detain us here.


(c) Reform of the Legal and Judicial System

A consensus exists on the importance of Pakistan's legal/judicial system to economic development.  The GOP is committed towards a quick and fair administration of justice in the common citizen’s favour.  The system of the administration of justice has been [sic Ed.] such that it should inspire confidence in the ability of the courts to administer justice fairly and impartially.  The existing system is being improved to remove inadequacies and delays in the dispensation of justice. The Ministry of Law is conducting a study, with ADB assistance, to analyse ways to improve the efficiency and capacity of Pakistan's legal and judicial system.  Key priority areas for legal reforms are given as hereunder:


(A) Judicial Administration:

The GOP is alleviating problems existing in the organization, administration, procedures, policies, human resources, and financing of the judiciary. It is revamping and strengthening the governance and administration of the court system. The GOP is carrying out a plan for the establishment of an elaborate Court Information System.



(B) Legal Education and the Legal Profession

The GOP is addressing the human resource needs of the legal profession and the judiciary. It is implementing the strategy by establishing new institutions to promote professionalism in the judiciary.

Training programs to be conducted by various public sector training institutions not only cover skills and knowledge but also emphasize on work ethics and values, such as, personal, leadership, professional and religious values. All government training institutions will inject elements of values and work ethics into their training curriculum.


5. Dysfunctional public services

Pakistan suffers from a crisis of governance. The efficiency and effectiveness of government departments are getting worse not better, with very few exceptions. The need for re-engineering the system of governance is being felt by many in Pakistan. It is unanimously agreed that the existing system is failing to deliver the services demanded by the public. Every one acknowledges this stark fact. Perhaps, never in the history of Pakistan has public perceptions been so negative about the bureaucracy. Problems have piled upon each other with no quick solution in sight. Obviously, there is some use of hyperbole in the print media that adds to public frustration and anger at government agencies. Nevertheless, public frustration is real and increasing. To its credit, the regime has somewhat stemmed the tide of bureaucratic malfunction. The newly set up National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) is working on a practical plan to overhaul the entire administrative machinery. The work of the NRB suffers from being a somewhat closed affair. It has been asked to ensure that unnecessary duplication of government tasks will end. Thus, the military regime is moving in the right direction. Lack of accountability has resulted in corruption of horrendous proportions, threatening the very basis of our society. The term “Ehtesab” has been abused to such an extent that it has lost its meaning. There is thus a need to reestablish faith in the process of accountability. No one disagrees with the General on this observation. However, the question is what the military regime intends to do about the problem? It hopes to tackle fundamental problems in a systematic way. One might take for granted the fact that the revamping of the civil service system has become necessary for a quick revival of the economy. The civil service system in the central government needs to be restructured for the purpose. The performance of the state bureaucracy is not as could be expected because of some existing structural flaws and bad working practices acquired over time. The Musharraf regime should pursue civil service reforms in all earnest. What is wrong with it? The civil service has an overly centralized organizational structure. It is slow, ineffective, rigid and unimaginative. Discipline is lax and rules are not evenly enforced. Internal mechanisms of accountability have weakened over time. External accountability via parliament and the legal system has become ineffective. With time, professionalism has eroded. Politicization of the civil service and political interference has reduced the effectiveness of state machinery. The bureaucracy has simply not kept up with the modernization trends in other advanced countries. Pakistan faces a crisis of weakening state capacity and poor public sector management. There is a crying need to increase effectiveness and efficiency of its administrative system. What is the problem with the bureaucratic setup?

Even after more than fifty-three years of independence, the civil service has not been able to come out of the shadows of the colonial era. Colonial administration focused on law and order, the extraction of taxes, and export of primary commodities. The social and economic needs and desires of the ‘native’ population attracted minimum concern. Power was vested in the hands of a small elite. Although, the colonial legacy varied from country to country a common set of features can be identified: ambiguity about the roles and relationship of politicians and public administrators; a tradition that senior civil service appointments should be allocated to generalist administrators, rather than to those having technical backgrounds; relatively high level of non-salary compensation for middle and senior level officers (for example free or highly subsidized housing); limited consultations with the public and little recognition for a role of the media; a reluctance to provide information to those outside of the administration; an emphasis on written communication and processing paper; an undue emphasis on the role of the office, rules and procedures rather than accomplishment of assigned tasks. To some extent, the colonial style of administration is still in vogue in Pakistan. Thus, we are behind the times. This state of affairs is tragic. Several previous attempts at reform failed to make a difference. Red tape and mal-administration is now legendary in public administration. The requirements of the contemporary era dictate the need for establishing an effective and efficient public administration. Pakistan has a weak administrative apparatus. Problems with the administrative setup include poor planning, waste, mismanagement, inefficiency, and the absence of a work ethic. Malfunction is the norm and not the exception in the bureaucratic structure of the country. Overlapping of jurisdictions and the absence of clear-cut demarcations of authority and administrative control has wreaked havoc with GOP performance. Independent observers agree that the overall state performance is poor or lackluster at best in all regions of Pakistan. The gap between policy-making and policy-execution is wide, partly due to the politicization of the bureaucracy and the generally low quality of state personnel. The State restructuring efforts have been largely haphazard and ill-planned. Nearly all the state apparatuses are still in a mess with no easy solution in sight. All observers also agree that bureaucratic red tape in the civil service is legendary. People are sick and tired of administrative inefficiency, unresponsiveness, and arrogance.

The World Bank, among others, has noted that the country faces problems, which includes the waning effectiveness and capacity of public institutions and weakness of local governments and other civil society organizations. These factors have severely reduced the effectiveness of public expenditures, undermined macroeconomic management, debilitated the environment, and worsened the other structural problems.[120]  Public frustration is real and increasing.

The need for re-engineering the public service system is being felt by many in Pakistan.  State performance is not as expected because of some existing structural flaws and bad working practices acquired over time. Honesty, integrity, and hard work are not sufficiently rewarded. Previously, unprecedented political interference in normal routine affairs of the government services badly hurt state performance. The existing state system in all regions of Pakistan has failed to deliver the myriad services demanded by the public. A careful study of the problems of governance may yield insights of what is wrong and why? However, a detailed analysis is beyond the scope of the present study. The Musharraf regime is prepared to launch a major institutional reform initiative to introduce accountability in the administration. It is keen to provide information that is previously denied to the public. This was to ensure accountability and transparency in its administrative system. The regime realizes that the ongoing planned interventions have to be designed and implemented within a strategic framework of reform initiatives. The military regime realizes the immensity of the problem. It is now in the process of studying the problems in some organized fashion. Thus, a beginning has been made. This should have been done years back though. Nonetheless, it is never too late. To its credit, the military regime has somewhat stemmed the tide of bureaucratic malfunction in Pakistan. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done. We are actually racing against time. Given the dismal state of affairs, a reform process must be immediately accelerated. The military regime’s main objective should be to urgently train government officials who can help create the conditions that shall assure Pakistan’s appropriate response and adaptability to new and unforeseen changes looming across the horizon. For the operation of an effective, efficient, and responsive public service, a wide range of reforms is needed. Several civil service reform commissions have done valuable work in the past. They may be urgently reviewed to find out what can be done immediately.

All public sector financial resources will be effectively managed through appropriate budgeting, accounting and reporting systems and by eliminating inefficiency. For the purpose, a Financial Management System will provide for up-to-date information and standard indicators on the performance of a government agency. This system will enable management to examine the income and expenditure breakdown. Review monthly and quarterly figures on income and expenditures as well as variances in relation to the budget. In addition, administrators will be able to review the balance sheet to obtain the overall situation of assets, liabilities and equity. Technical help is available from agencies like the World Bank and the ADB to bring in these reforms. However, not much success has been achieved in the past.

A low level of accountability and discipline has created a mess in the government public sector. Officials are not fulfilling their trust with full responsibility. Tasks are not completed efficiently in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. At the same time, public servants are not adequately accountable to the relevant authorities for their performance. The integrity and credibility of the civil service has fallen. Thus, the service is no longer considered as the ultimate trustee of public and national interests.  It is important that the credibility of the service be restored. The background of many evils present in the system lies in improper incentives and controls. There is a need to develop package proposals to improve the functioning of the public sector. In the quest for excellence in the public service, the regime requires that a culture of innovation, creativity, and efficiency be inculcated in all state agencies. These organizations are required to review and update procedures and regulations that are obsolete and implement effective work systems to ensure that their outputs satisfy customers. The public service must fully recognize the role played by a culture of excellence, creativity and innovations in the quality improvement of service and towards increasing public satisfaction. The Musharraf regime is fully committed to the concept of individual recognition. Besides individual recognition, the regime should also give due recognition to public sector organizations through various awards. This recognition will act as a motivator for others. These awards should represent the higher recognition by the regime to organizations and individuals that have successfully implemented innovations. At the same time, all ministries, departments and statutory bodies, in their efforts to encourage their staff to strive towards excellence, should be continuously innovative and creative, and establish their own individual systems of recognition. Only in this way can values of excellence  be successfully institutionalized in the culture of the public service. The scheme consists of giving awards for individual excellence. The Musharraf regime envisaged nothing less than the re-inventing of government in Pakistan. A tall order indeed. This required research and experimentation with various issues for developing a model that works at the practical level. The Musharraf regime should aim at creating public services that not only fulfills the demands of the common man but which is also capable of meeting the requirements of the coming century. A wide range of reforms and re-engineering of the public service is required. The task is not easy, however. The implementation of the reform program requires comprehensive planning and a reasonable gestation time. The main emphasis is to be on improving existing mechanisms and finding more effective ways of enforcing these mechanisms. It bears repetition that all previous plans suffered most, not at the policy-level, but, at the implementation stage simply because the people are not involved in the decision that are significant to them. It should be reiterated that no valid design of a good governance model can be created which could possibly last very long. Such is the pace of change in our lives. Good governance is a very complex issue. The isolation of citizens from the significant process of government policy-making needed to be ended. Improvement in governance is not something new to Pakistan. Since independence, as many as 26 commissions and committees have looked into the issue. While recommendations of these committees and commissions did make a difference in some areas, structural flaws needed to be addressed. In April 1999, the Nawaz Government formulated a strategy for improving governance that at the outset pointed out the common themes recurring in the previous government reports of the committees and commissions as:[121]


(i)   Corruption: Because of the discretionary power at various levels of government, unfair considerations, motivated by illegitimate financial transactions or political and personal favors creep in.


(ii)  Inefficiency: Public institutions fail to adequately provide law & order, justice, education, health, civic services and public utilities. Those responsible for running these institutions perceive themselves as rulers and regulators rather than service providers and accountable to their clients.


(iii) Ineffectiveness: State institutions become ineffective when it comes to meeting new challenges thrust upon society by changing local and international environment, new technology, social climate and expectations.


(iv) Inaccessibility:  The system is not participatory and the plans and policies are formulated without consulting those who are affected by those policies.


(v)  Intractability: The public sector has grown out of proportion. It operates in areas, which should be left to the private sector and even within its own legitimate areas of operations it can operate with a leaner strength.


(vi) Lack of motivation and incentives: The incentives and motivations offered by the public service system do not attract the best people. It does not motivate them to improve personal skills or to work towards excellence”. [Bold typeface Ed.’s]


The Musharraf regime recognizes the need to increase effectiveness and efficiency of its administrative system.  Lack of timely, reliable and accurate information is considered as a constraint in efficiency of government operations.  The new regime is prepared to launch a major institutional reform initiative to introduce accountability in the administration.  It is keen to provide information that is previously denied to the public.  This is to ensure accountability and transparency in its administrative system.  The regime should realize that the ongoing and planned interventions have to be designed and implemented within a strategy framework of reform initiatives.



The Issue of Downsizing

The GOP has become bloated and needs to be cut down to size. The caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi (1996-97) reduced the number of governmental ministries/divisions from 46 to 34 made a notable attempt in this direction. The attempt to cut government size failed as the successor Benazir Administration decided to reverse the trimming of the federal government. The Nawaz Government supposedly desired to reverse the trend of ever-expanding government machinery. In 1997, Hafeez Pasha, then Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, claimed that it was the first time in Pakistan that the Government was putting all emphasis on reduction of non-developmental expenditures by reducing the number of divisions and ministries in the Pakistan federal government. Pasha's committee on downsizing proposed reduction of ministries from 26 to 18. The committee had also recommended the merger of many departments and divisions. The IMF desired that the GOP remove at least 100,000 out of 275,000 state employees in order to achieve a substantial cut in the expenditure. By carrying out the unpopular exercise the GOP will save about Rs10 billion annually. Another estimate puts the saving at Rs15 billion. The second Nawaz Government was wary of carrying out the exercise for obvious political reasons. Throwing people out from jobs is never easy for any political government. The same was true for this government. However, critics argued that some bold measures were expected by the GOP to prove its seriousness about reform. The new military regime is expected to carry out these tough reform measures. We believe that these measures if carried out gradually and methodically, will have a positive impact on government performance.

The government system of Pakistan has become bloated. The federal government has grown with time. There are now 36 ministries/divisions with 17 federal ministers, ministers of state, and advisors running this huge setup.[122]  Bold measures are urgently needed to cut the size of the government. How many cuts are feasible? Like elsewhere, the GOP has grown over the years. For example, the Benazir Administration had added nine independent ministries. The divisions constituted or approved by the Administration included: Statistics Division, Culture Division, Minorities Division, Federal Investigative Division, Aviation Division, Zakat and Usher Division, Maritime Division, Human Rights Division, and Intelligence Bureau. The Revenue Division is abolished. This is the controlling ministry of the Central Board of Revenue. It is placed directly under the finance ministry. At the same time, Benazir indicated her resolve of trimming and revamping the bureaucracy in order to make it more efficient and economical. The Chatta Commission, named after MNA Hamid Nasir Chatta who headed it, was looking into the matter.   Recommendations had yet to be made public when the second Benazir Administration was removed. We believe that the said commission was mere eyewash. As a matter of fact, the second Benazir Administration had increased government expenditure. Waste, mismanagement and poor planning are the hallmarks of her second term. For example, a full-fledged Ministry of Investment was specially established for the first spouse. The Privatization Commission is turned into another full-fledged ministry. The question is why create more bureaucracies without any good reason. Bureaucracies once created are difficult to dismantle. A separate ministry for human rights is not at all needed. The Law Ministry could have handled the work. After all, the whole issue of human rights is part of the larger picture of citizens’ rights, which is a concern of the aforementioned ministry. Unnecessary state expenditures are hurting the nation. The caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi’s reduction of the number of governmental ministries/divisions from 46 to 34 made a notable attempt in this direction.  Highly trained and competent government servants are needed to carry out good and clean administration. It is indispensable that the employees of the civil service and other government departments be better paid than what is now the case. The new military regime must gradually cut the size of the state bureaucracies and the savings realized can be utilized to create a better-paid and trained state service. The trend in the Western countries seems to point towards a smaller state bureaucracy. For example, in Britain the civil service strength is cut from 732,000 to 541,800 during the period from 1979 to 1994. Further cuts are planned. In Pakistan the total number of state employees number some 3.5 million. The Musharraf regime should reduce it by a million or so in a year or two. The question is why downsize. A better-paid public service is the only way to boost sagging morale.  In addition, the government services should be protected from undue political pressures and interference. Government servants are given tenure so that they can remain neutral. The Government’s performance is not as it can be expected because of some existing structural flaws and bad working practices acquired over time. We strongly believe that state employees do need the security of tenure in order to resist such unwanted political obstructions. This does not mean  that sloppiness, negligence, and poor working habits should be tolerated. . Strict disciplinary action should be taken against all such employees who indulge in these practices. All we are suggesting is that outright dismissal of state employees by political heads without due process of law be made impossible. Nothing less than a constitutional amendment is needed to ensure this development. The state should perform only vital functions and leave the rest to the private sector. The result of the frequent and ill-planned changes in the Benazir state setup is certainly going to add to the difficulty of future governments. We wish to point out that there is inherently nothing decisively wrong or bad in adding administrative structures to the government provided there is enough justification. In 1984, Italy had 28 ministries, Britain 22, Germany 17, while France had a grand total of 42. The size of the Cabinet in the second Nawaz Sharif Government was extremely large. The total number of effective ministers was only 19, however. Currently, the military regime has a Cabinet of 17 only. Every government strives for and initiates experiments to improve management of its numerous agencies and departments. This is essentially an integral function of the government itself. In Pakistan, there is an agency for the purpose - Organization & Methods in the Cabinet Division. The performance of the division, like others in the government, is also not up to  mark and hence reforms fail. Previous attempts at structural reforms having largely failed successive governments opt for the privatization strategy. This, we believe, is however done in haste. It has become a fashion these days to pontificate that privatization is the key to national economic efficiency, development and progress. Capitalist theoreticians will have us believe that the lesser the direct government economic activity the better for society. The slogan is let the free market operate unhindered by the strong hand of the state. This is clearly a myth. The philosophy was a favorite theme of the deposed Benazir and Nawaz Sharif administrations reflecting their pro-capitalist bias and very unlike the earlier outlook of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. It needs to be stressed that unlike the private enterprises sector, the objective of the state sector is not just the profit or the supposed bottom line criteria but also the availability of other much needed societal services. In case of high unemployment and poverty, as is the case in Pakistan, it is ultimately the responsibility of the military regime and not the private sector to provide decent jobs for the people. Where do the poor and underprivileged go if not to the military regime? The new regime cannot be cruel to these weaker segments of society. After all, the rich do not need state assistance only the poor do. In an Islamic state, the state should accept responsibility for assisting the poor as it once happened in the time of Umar, the second Khalifah Rashidun. The Musharraf regime is bound to follow downsizing of banks and sack a large number of employees because it is seeking financial and banking sector loans from the World Bank The World Bank has earlier expressed strong reservations on issues of weak governance, corruption and financial weakness of the banking sector. The World Bank believes that the GOP has embarked on a multi-year comprehensive reform program to increase growth and improve the balance of payments position. The bank is considering a loan of $1.9 billion to Pakistan. The GOP is carrying on with the privatization policies of its predecessors, though slowly at present. Under a three-year arrangement with the IMF in which Pakistan is to receive $1.6 billion loan facility, the GOP is committed, among other things, to overhauling the public sector and to reducing non-developmental expenditures. As part of the Program, most public sector entities and financial institutions are to be privatized. A caveat is in order here. Pakistan must be careful of its family silver. From available evidence worldwide, it is indisputable that the private enterprise sector is not necessarily more efficient than the public sector. There are many public sector enterprises in Pakistan doing splendidly well. For example, Fauji Fertilizer a subsidiary of the Fauji Foundation and the Pakistan State Oil are just two among others. On the other hand, numerous private corporations exist to make money fast and easy and do not have any qualms about fleecing the public. The point is that outright privatization is not the answer to all problems of inefficient public sector performance.

The Musharraf regime should restructure the federal government on a functional basis only. Thus we shall have an Accounts Service, a Police Service, a Revenue Service, a Medical Service, a Teaching Service, a Foreign Service, an Agriculture Service, a National Parks Service, an Intelligence/Investigation Service, etc. All these state services shall be fully independent and will have their own organizational setups. They shall deal with all aspects of the administration of the particular service including selection of most of the personnel and the devising of appropriate career ladders. Promotion and transfers will remain within the preserve of a single service. Once a young entrant joins a particular service, he cannot move out of it except for a short deputation or another secondment. The purpose is to create a sense of belonging, an esprit de corps, and loyalty to a particular service. A career-ladder based on specialization, training and experience should be offered. The attainment of expertise and quality performance requires time and therefore proper training opportunities should be available within each service. Performance and morale will improve with time when each service grows a distinct personality and culture. However, for the time being the Federal Public Service Commission will act as the primary recruiting agency for the highest-ranking officers and for coordinating functions.

The regime is working on a plan to overhaul the entire administrative machinery. Unnecessary duplication of tasks will end. Merger of various divisions will be initiated immediately. A guarded optimism is in order because it seems that the new military regime is serious this time around.

For the sake of greater efficiency and effectiveness, the administrative machinery needs to be further restructured.

Reform agenda: proposals for consideration

(1)                 Merge the divisions of Education and Scientific & Technological Research into a new super ministry – the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The model to be adapted is that of Germany. An independent agency to be called the General Services Administration is to be created to take care of the entire housekeeping functions of the federal government. Economies of scale will be realized in the procurement of essential goods and services. This new division essentially merges all current efforts in the area. No new recruitment is planned for the purpose.

(2)                 The Planning Commission is to be upgraded into a full-fledged Ministry of Planning to serve as another super agency responsible for strategic planning and development activity in the entire country. In addition to the established Five-Year Plan concept, a Ten-Year Plan will be introduced.

(3)                 The current Establishment and Cabinet Divisions are to be contained in a Cabinet Secretariat under the charge of the Chief Executive himself. A new ministry is to be created - the Ministry of the Cabinet Office. The division of Parliamentary Affairs will be merged into this ministry. The newly set up ministry shall be the heart of the state. The Minister for the Cabinet Office will be considered as one of the most influential persons in the military regime. The model to be adapted is that of Britain.

(4)                 Create more regulatory authorities such as the Food and Drug Agency to regulate the entire sector of food and drugs.

(5)                 Create a National Forest Service to administer the country’s forests.

(6)                 Over-centralization has resulted in delays, inefficiency and dissatisfaction among the people as they struggle with a myriad nature of problems that affect their daily lives. The traditional top-down model of management is to be discarded in favour of a team approach. The top officials are to see themselves as the leaders of the team rather than bosses who give orders and demand compliance. Education and training of officers will reorient them towards the new paradigm. An attitude change is needed.

(7)                 Confusion over staff, line, and house keeping functions of Ministries and departments must end. For example, the Ministry of Planning & Development and Ministry of Finance are to function as policy-making agencies. They should not assume any line function, as they are staff agencies. Establishment, budgeting, planning, management and services are to be considered as general staff operations only. These agencies should avoid becoming involved in the detailed work of the line departments.  House keeping functions may be reorganized in a central agency to achieve maximum efficiency.  Economy of scale principle is to be applied.  It is proposed that a General Services Administration be created for the purpose.  A committee to study the proposal. Responsibilities of the lower management need to be clearly pointed out along with organizational performance measures. Individual performance must also be evaluated in a scientific manner. There should be delegation of authority within each organization. Decentralization of authority must begin at the top and move towards the bottom layers of the hierarchy. District planning should be started and made effective. Ministries must allow autonomous bodies to function within their domain without interference. Each attached department must work within its own limits. Effective implementation is not possible without efficient administrative machinery at appropriate levels of the hierarchy. Decentralization is to be accompanied by devolution of authority to make service delivery people friendly.

(8)                 Measures to enhance effectiveness of financial management in public sector agencies must be reassuring. The AGPR shall evaluate the annual financial performance of all government agencies following an international format (PIFRA). The Government shall ensure that up to date and complete information must be provided by the financial management systems of all Government departments and agencies.

(9)                 An incentives and control system needs to be established. Performance will only improve if public servants are well paid. There is no consistency between the packages being offered by the public and the private sector. A comparative analysis of remuneration available will show consistent deterioration in real incomes of public sector officials. A balance will be achieved to attract professionals into the system and avoid perverse incentives for corruption. The Government realizes that without progress in this area all other efforts at reform of the Civil Service are doomed to failure. A pay commission will be instituted immediately for recommending salary increase for the civil servants.

(10)             A new system of pay progression should be introduced. To reinforce the arrangements for merit based incentives and rewards, it is proposed that pay progression through annual increments be linked to satisfactory performance rather than remain an automatic feature as at present. Those whose contribution is found excellent can get premature increments or personal pay on quarterly basis with a cap on three increments; the top performers can earn even additional perks in the form of special bonus equal to a maximum of two months salary. The proposed bonus will be declared non-taxable.

(11)             Senior positions in the Federal Secretariat, autonomous bodies and other attached organizations will be opened to all those eligible through horizontal mobility.

(12)             The CV’s of all officers should be maintained in a computer database in the Establishment Division. This database should be used in making plans for postings and transfers, in accordance with job descriptions and TORs of officials

(13)             Lateral entry into the government services should be allowed again. Jobs requiring skills and experience more readily found in the private sector will be recruited directly. Exchange of personnel between the private sector and the public sector should be encouraged. Rigid boundaries between the two sectors are not conducive to better mutual understanding and appreciation.

(14)             A system of performance contract with officers is to be recommended for heads of divisions and attached departments. The successful among them should be provided bonuses based on evaluated performance on mutually agreed contract keeping in view of the major targets to be achieved.

(15)             Secondments or deputation appointments to be encouraged. This also includes using private sector secondments in departments and state enterprises on an ad hoc basis to work on project teams. Such exchanges contribute towards better communications and a better mutual understanding of both the needs of the GOP and the business sector. However, just as importantly, they brought [sic Ed.]fresh insights, specialist skills and different attitudes into the process of government itself. The GOP is the richer for this experience.

(16)             Give high priority to cost-effective, better-targeted training, which offers value for money. It should provide open and distance learning options offering flexibility. All departments and state enterprises will set targets, quantifiable wherever possible, for improvement agency performance in these areas and monitor progress. These targets will reflect differing departmental functions and priorities. For the GOP will be looking to departments to ensure, through their action plans, that they are addressing each important area, as necessary.

(17)             Performance will only improve if public servants are well paid. There is no consistency between the packages being offered by the public and the private sector. A comparative analysis of remuneration available will show consistent deterioration in real incomes of public sector officials. A balance will be achieved to attract professionals in the system and avoid perverse incentives for corruption. Without progress in this area all other efforts at reform of the public sector are doomed to failure. In 1999, the GOP had announced a 25% rise in basic salaries of all government employees and pensioners up to grade 16 and 20% increase for grade 17 and above. The total wage bill is estimated to be at Rs. 100 billion. Despite the recent pay increases, the public sector wages are still low.  For honest civil servants, survival has become impossible. It should be no surprise that corruption flourishes under such conditions. An appropriate Cost of Living Allowance for the civil service is required in the next budget.

(18)             Reform the structure of the Central Superior Services. The civil service is organized as a two-tier system. The central government controlled the Central Superior Services (CSS), which are classified into 14 groups, such as foreign, police, district management, secretariat, accounts, etc. The Federal Public Service Commission made the selections to the CSS. The four provincial governments have their own Provincial Public Service Commissions such as Punjab Public Service Commission, Sindh Public Service Commission, etc. These Commissions did the recruitment to the provincial civil services. There is no lateral entry in the CSS. A Secretary headed each division. There are 35 divisions in all. Very few specialists are taken as Advisors to the various Ministries who are not from the CSS. Entry into the civil service, at both the central and the provincial levels, is achieved through a competitive examination system. Over the years, various reform commissions and committees have submitted recommendations for the revamping of the civil service. [Ed.: What follows is a repetition of earlier statements on the subject: What is wrong with the civil service? The civil service has an overly centralized organizational structure. It is slow, ineffective, rigid and unimaginative. Discipline is lax and rules are not evenly enforced. Internal mechanisms of accountability have weakened over time. External accountability via parliament and legal system has become ineffective. With time, “professionalization” has eroded. Politicization of the civil service, and political interference has reduced the effectiveness of state machinery. The performance of the state bureaucracy is not as expected because of some existing structural flaws and bad working practices acquired over time. Honesty, integrity, and hard work are not sufficiently rewarded. Moreover, sloppiness, and poor work habits are tolerated and no action taken against bad officers. Therefore, performance has suffered. Establish a new and better civil service by introducing new management techniques and organizational structures. In future, the staff will be better skilled and better trained. A wide range of reforms and re-engineering of the public administration system is required. The implementation of the reform program involved comprehensive planning and a reasonable gestation period. Emphasis is being placed not on creating new institutions but on improving standing structures and mechanisms, and finding more effective ways of enforcing these mechanisms.]

(19)             Instead of a single service, CSS has various All-Pakistan services as in other countries. For example, India has three such services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service, and the Indian Police Service. Create a pilot National Education Service, Health Service on the pattern of Great Britain, a National Parks Service, and an Agriculture Service to be patterned after the USA model. The choice of these particular services is because of their fundamental significance in Pakistan’s sustainable development agenda. Each professional service should develop its own code of conduct and performance appraisal system.  No one system can offer an all-time solution in this regard.

(20)             An extensive training in office administration and administrative methods needs to be imparted to all the officers, especially the top grade services of the provincial governments should be required to acquire computer literacy. The present scheme of civil service training needs to be revamped. The training of newly recruited officials at the Civil Services Academy is to be revamped. This emphasis is an integral part of the GOP’s effort to increase the quality of the Civil Service at every level, including the entry-level.

(21)             There is an urgent need to ensure much longer tenures than what is being enjoyed by the officers of the Central Superior Services. The practice of designating an official as an Officer on Special Duty  (OSD) purely as a form of punishment is a repugnant practice and needs to be eliminated.

(22)             The civil service is reoriented along certain specializations. These can include international trade, law and order, energy and transport, district administration, local government, economic administration, industrial management, management of environment, financial management, etc. Efforts are made to build a distinct ethos of the civil service. This is possible by encouraging officials of the civil service to formulate their own code of conduct and design their own rules, procedures and systems.

(23)             A trained and efficient intelligence service can reduce corruption. The FIA be strengthened to investigate white-collar crime and sophisticated corruption at the highest levels. Current investigation efforts are consolidated immediately, and unnecessary duplication of efforts is eliminated. The media can become an ally in the fight against corruption.  A vibrant media helps control bribery by exposing graft in government offices. Therefore, the media’s “watch-dog” function is promoted by rewarding investigative reporting. An awards scheme is formulated for the purpose.  The panel of judges should include senior journalists of proven integrity.

(24)             Give due recognition to developing top public service administrators. The commitment of top administrators to learning and development is obviously essential. Within the partnership, the top administrators in each department and state enterprise are responsible for ensuring that there is a skilled, flexible and experienced workforce to deliver the goals of the organization. Top administrators are responsible for providing leadership, and providing the motivation and vision to the staff to work as a team in order to make the goals  realities.

(25)             There shall be a minimum tenure of posting. Frequency of transfers shall be avoided. In the past, it has led to wastage of resources and promotion of despair. It also leads to the undesired phenomena "Feather nesting" where civil servants waste precious energy to granting future appointments and transfers.

(26)             Streamline systems and procedures shall become a major focus area. Emphasis shall be given in 2001 to improving work processes through the use of modern technology; proper record keeping and managing information; composite forms and licenses; clearly defined criteria to speed up decision making and more simplified application forms, etc.

(27)             End waste through corruption and mismanagement with an iron hand. Anecdotal evidence suggested that billions of rupees could be saved through strict measures. Bold measures are urgently needed. Various intelligence agencies must be consolidated and strengthened to fight against corruption. Only a strong intelligence apparatus can investigate corruption at the highest level on a large scale and make a difference.

(28)             The state auditing services need to be revamped. The Accountant General of Pakistan’s annual reports have to become timely in future. For this the office of the Auditor General has to be strengthened. In the absence of the parliament, there is no proper mechanism to follow up the recommendations in the AGP annual reports. A beginning has been made. The Musharraf regime has made an ad hoc arrangement where a federal public accounts committee, headed by H. U. Beg, a very senior bureaucrat, is reviewing audit reports of government departments. So far, it has unearthed irregularities in state agencies like National Shipping Corporation (NSC), Gwader fish harbor project, Port Qasim Authority, etc. The total amount of irregularities unearthed in just the NSC amount to Rs4 billion. The committee is referring cases of fraud and criminal negligence to NAB and a quarterly review will be conducted to ensure implementation of committee directives. [123]

(29)             A basic requirement of corruption control is a viable legal framework that enforces the law without fear or favour. The swift arm of the law must be made secure. Punishment as sure as hell should be meted out to the criminals. Thus, revamping our police services, courts, and civil society will all help eradicate corruption. Moreover, corruption is fought from within the civil service through the Accountant General and Advocate General’s offices – the normal accounting and legal arm of the GOP.

(30)             A system of performance contract with officers is recommended for heads of some autonomous agencies.

(31)             Monetization [sic Ed.] of salaries to end injustice, wastage and abuse of power.

(32)             Job description and terms of reference for officers must be provided. It should be monitored and made the basis of promotions and benefits. In this reference, quarterly performance evaluation may be carried out and provided to the officer concerned.

(33)             The ACR system has to be modernized. Design an appraisal system, which places emphasis on a more comprehensive, fair, and objective evaluation of annual work outputs and performance of civil service personnel. Work of an individual is measured in terms of time spent, quantity, and quality of output.  Give detailed “weightage” for essential activities in different categories of employment. The ACR form is revised to suit the change in requirements of various public services.  Make the ACR available to the “assessed”. However, third party restrictions are still applicable (i.e., no other person will have access to the ACRs, other than the assessed).

(34)             The record management system of the GOP needs to be revamped. Information is not easily and speedily retrievable by those requiring it. Records are not efficiently managed and unnecessary delays result. An efficient records management system needs to be built urgently. Systematic registration of records, easy retrieval of files, systematic storage facilities and the proper maintenance of files are not ensured in GOP agencies. All Government agencies introduce measures to improve their records systems. Computerized file management system is introduced in key ministries like Finance and Planning. On-line records management system should be introduced in various departments like transport, police, etc. Records management systems in all GOP agencies must ensure: - (a) Fast retrieval of records. (b) The absence of duplicate files. (c) Reduction in the number of records lost. (d) One-stop facility is created for essential services (telephones, gas, utilities, and water).

(2)               A Federal Government link service be provided with the objective of providing efficient and fast retrieval of information by using up-to-date information technology. Such information will be supplemented and updated from time to time. All current information sources on the computer network and Internet will be linked in a giant network for easy access. The setting up of the FGL will facilitate local and foreign businessmen and investors in obtaining information on the administrations. The users are provided with a choice in information retrieval whereby information can be channeled on-line, through fax or delivered to their required destinations. A small service fee will be charged for this service. The citizens can also use the FGL as a resource centre. Great progress has been made in introducing Information Age Government in Pakistan. A number of pilot projects have been developed for "electronic government” in the three major state departments: police, justice and district administration. The new information system being introduced in the police department is going to link 1,300 police stations, the total across the country, into a single network of records. Thus, data regarding crime and other information will be instantaneously available all over Pakistan through this computer network system.

(3)               Freedom of Information Ordinance must be promulgated immediately. Implicit in the right to free speech and press freedom is the freedom of information. The GOP record is not open to public scrutiny. Some of the GOP records are needlessly kept out of public view. Thus, the public right to know is hampered. The interim Government of Meraj Khalid produced a working document on the subject. It was not followed up later. The law may be based on the work of this period.

(4)               Management of development projects needs to be modernized. The civil service, which is the largest implementing machinery of the GOP, plays a key role in implementing development projects. Efforts to improve the management of development projects in terms of their planning, implementation and monitoring have not been successful. Delays, mismanagement and waste results. Focus should be on intergovernmental cooperation. Regulations and procedures are not streamlined.

(5)               House keeping functions of the entire federal government must be reorganized in a central agency to achieve economies of scale.  A General Services Administration should be created for the purpose. It is to be instituted as an autonomous organization under the Establishment Division




6. A problematic development agenda

Pakistan suffers form a sustainable development crisis of staggering proportions. It has failed to undertake a sensible development path that might have led to material prosperity for all and at the same time by not damaging the country’s environment. Instead of a pragmatic approach based on participatory management, a bottom-up strategy and the democratic governance paradigm, the Pakistan has followed an overly centralized, top-down, and bureaucratized approach with little or no citizen involvement. Pakistan failed to develop as a result. By far the most serious issue in sustainable development is Pakistan’s rampant population growth. Today Pakistan’s total population is about 140 million, which ranks it as the seventh most populated country in the world. The population growth rate is a high 2.6%. Therefore, by the year 2050 the population of the country will have climbed to 300 million.[124] The stark reality is that unless the population growth rate is brought under control, Pakistan will not be able to provide for the basic needs of its teeming millions: food, water, energy, even fresh air in cities. Moreover, the scarcity of food and water will cause the breakdown of law and order and make the country difficult to govern. Pakistan’s family planning program needs to be re-energized immediately. Pakistan cannot afford failure on this score.

There exists a strong relationship between increased population growth and increased poverty in the country. Obviously, they are both directly related. Pakistan faced a formidable challenge in tackling the twin problems of poverty and degraded environment. The country does not have the means nor the capacity to turn things around soon enough. The world community must render the country immediate assistance. There is some recognition in the UN and other international agencies that much more needs to be done for countries like Pakistan. Gustave Speth, Administrator, UNDP says that poverty cannot be eradicated without environmental security, among other things.[125] One of the greatest failures in Pakistan is its growing poverty and corresponding low human development. The incidence of poverty is very high in Pakistan. What is the exact figure? An editorial in Dawn in October 2000 says that the poverty rate figure is merely guesswork as the economy is mostly undocumented, especially in the informal and rural sector. But poverty and unemployment has increased in Pakistan. The figure is now over 34%.[126] Javed Jabbar, ex-Advisor to the Chief Executive on National Affairs and Information said in January 2000 that 35% of Pakistanis live below the poverty line.[127] According to the Basic-Need Approach, it is 46.0% and according to the Calorie-Based Approach, it is 27.3%. An earlier editorial in the newspaper Dawn stated that during the 1990s, poverty had increased in Pakistan and some 25-30% of the population, some 30 million, were affected.[128] The Finance Minister has acknowledged, “Poverty is posing a serious threat to the social cohesion and peace of civil society”.[129] The UNDP’s Human Development Report 2000 estimates that absolute poverty in Pakistan has increased from 34 million to 50 million. Absolute poverty increased from 30% in late 1980s to 34% today. The poverty index has worsened, according to the UNDP.[130]  Shahid Javed Burki, a respected author, estimated that the incidence of poverty in Pakistan has risen to around 36% today up from 18% in the 1980s.[131] Associated with the poverty issue is that of rapidly growing population. The World Bank estimates that Pakistan’s population is currently growing at a rate of 3%, and is projected to double in the next two decades. The country’s fertility rate is 65% higher than the average for all low-income countries. However, Pakistan made some progress in the area of human development from the early 1970s to early 1990s. Despite the progress, the country still lags far behind the average for low-income countries.[132] Pakistan’s infant mortality rate remained a high 88 while it is 71 in India. However, Pakistan’s life expectancy is slighted higher at 63 than 62 for India. [133]  The GOP’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, 1999 stated that Pakistan ranked 138 among 174 developing countries in the quality of life index. The document says that the bottom line is that poverty is rising in Pakistan. It is estimated that at least 36 million people fell below the poverty line. [134] The quality of life indicators like education, health, and nutrition showed no appreciable development. Poverty remained prevalent. In reality, the poor have become poorer. This confirms the observation that rapid growth in GNP and income does not guarantee a sufficient degree of fulfillment of the basic needs for everyone in the country. The current Human Development Index ranking, as reported by the United Nations Human Development Report 2000, is a low 135 out of 174 countries surveyed. For the sake of comparison, India’s ranking is 128, China is 99, Sri Lanka is 84, Bangladesh 146, and Myanmar is 125.[135] Previously, in 1993 Pakistan ranked 132. In other words other nations are developing faster than Pakistan. For example, India was at 134 in 1993, which was lower than Pakistan. India has now jumped up to 128.[136] Thus, Pakistan has failed to develop reasonably. Given its present state of weakness, sustainable human development seems to be a pipe dream for Pakistan in the near future. Pakistan faced the challenge of a weak economy and increasing poverty. In the last ten years or so, the poverty level has more than doubled from 16% to around 35%.[137] In 1991, the estimated figure was 34%.[138] Recent government reports indicate that the figure has actually further risen to 40%.[139] The latest Asian Development Bank estimates put incidence of poverty, which is measured at $1 per day, in Pakistan at 28%, while in India it is 35%, Bangladesh is 36%, Nepal is 42% and Sri Lanka is at 21%.[140] While the real poverty figure might be anywhere in-between 34% to 40%, depending upon source and method of calculation, there is absolutely no doubt that the problem has worsened and the current situation is indeed desperate. What is the Musharraf regime doing about the problem? The eradication of poverty is one of the foremost tasks of the Musharraf regime. This is a daunting challenge that must be met at all costs. The country depends upon success in this field. The Musharraf regime must spend more on the social sector by increasing the allocations for the Public Sector Development Programs (PSDP). These PSDPs are financed out of the annual budget. In 1991-92 budget, the development expenditure was only 7% of GDP, and was lowered to 5% in 1992-93. It was further lowered to 3.3% in 1997-98, and 3.2% in 1998-99. It increased to 3.4% in 1999-2000. For 1998-99, the PSDP was allocated Rs. 110 billion but was reduced to Rs. 98 billion in October 1998. For 1999-2000, Rs. 116 billion is allocated.[141] The public sector development in 1997-98 was allocated only Rs. 90 billion.[142] A major initiative of the Nawaz Government was the launching of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund outside the PSDP for the development of micro-enterprises, community organizations, instituting credit services to the poor through non-governmental organizations (NGO) and community-based organizations (CBO) as partner organizations.[143] The Musharraf regime has allocated a sizeable sum for poverty allocation, as mentioned above.

Available data indicates that the iniquity in the income distribution is getting worse.[144]This state of affairs is intolerable in an Islamic state, which calls for social and economic justice. The assumption of capitalism is that if the growth of the economy brought national prosperity every one will benefit. The rising tide will lift all boats; they will have us believe. It bears repeating that a growing economy benefiting everyone is not necessarily the case. The old theory of “trickle down economics” has been discredited. Poverty is not reduced just because the economy is growing. The military regime cannot ignore the very poor. The state cannot abdicate its responsibility to its most hapless citizens. It is the state’s  responsibility to transfer wealth or, at least, afford decent economic and employment opportunities to the weaker segments of society. This is an Islamic requirement. Pakistan has failed to translate this ideal into practice, unfortunately. Progress and development must translate into a better quality of life for not only a small elite but also the masses. Any thing less is unfair, deplorable and a gross injustice. The political parties must make the establishment of an egalitarian society a central plank of their election manifestos. Egalitarianism is a cardinal Islamic value and the military regime must embrace it wholeheartedly and practice it firmly. The continued practice of supply-side economics without immediate relief to the very poor should be taken as a betrayal of public trust.. The nation The Musharraf regime must bring about real change for the better for the people of Pakistan. The continuation of past practices and usual status quo politics will be a disaster for the nation must believe in the establishment of an egalitarian Islamic order.

Will the reform measures to decrease poverty be enough? Yes, they are to a certain extent but these measures are too short of making any reasonable dent in the country’s poverty situation. Simply put, much more needs to be done to have a turnaround. There are other problems that thwart Pakistan’s sustainable development.  Currently, planners are obsessed with economic growth alone. Clearly, economic growth by itself did not make a better society. Meanwhile, social scientists are increasingly challenging the current development paradigm. What is real development? The debate pertained to the calculation of the real worth of nations taking into consideration a new set of standards. A recent thought-provoking report by the World Bank have ranked nations by what is known as “greener” set of standards. Traditional measures such as GDP have been downgraded and new weightage is given to national resources, education, social flexibility, environmental protection, and other assets of a country, which have been undervalued but which can be significant instruments of long-term growth. The system has challenged conventional comprehension of development by looking at not only income but also a country’s wealth. This approach expands the concept of wealth beyond investment and money. The new method gives the highest rankings to countries with small, comparatively skilled populations and national resources. The first in the list is Australia followed by Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Japan, and Sweden. The USA ranks 12th on the list. Pakistan is not among the top twenty nor is it among the bottom 20, which included India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Tanzania, etc. The World Bank conclusions need to be stressed. Rich countries became prosperous because they followed a policy of investing more in human resources. Good environmental policies made sense because they are ultimately good economic policies and vice versa. Apparently, the World Bank is re-evaluating its policies regarding Third World development. Previously, the World Bank had been criticized as being uncaring for the environment and the quality of life of the poor. Today, the World Bank, to its credit, is trying to be more environmentally conscious and people-friendly. It recommends that the best way for a country to develop and grow is to change attitudes towards the subject. Growth must not only be vigorous but sustainable also. The Musharraf regime must take appropriate note and act accordingly. To its credit, an elaborate environmental policy has already been enacted. It remains to be implemented, however. Betterment of the nation does not necessarily mean having a strong defence establishment but should actually mean healthy and well-educated people living in peace in neat and clean surroundings. Anything less is a betrayal of the trust the nation has bestowed on the new military leadership. It must take the lead in pushing Pakistan to a newer direction where the social welfare, health and education of the population is emphasized along with the defence and national security of the country. Pakistan must re-think its overall priorities and direction. Why does it need to spend so much on defence while the social sectors stagnate? Military spending in Pakistan is indeed very high. The allocation for the 1996-97 budget for the defence sector was an astronomical 4.2% of the projected GDP, up from 4.0% of GDP in 1995-96.[145]  In the 1998 fiscal year, Pakistan’s defence allocation was $3.3 billion, or Rs. 145 billion, as compared to India’s defence allocation, which was $9.8 billion. Pakistan’s defence budget has increased by 8% from the previous year, which was Rs. 134 billion. In comparison, India’s 1998 defence budget is $9.8 billion slightly lower than $10 billion in 1997. India’s defence budget in 1994 was $8 billion, which increased to $8.8 billion in 1995, then slightly decreased to $8.6 billion in 1996. [146]Undoubtedly, Pakistan spends a vast amount on its defence. The defence sector’s allocation in fiscal 1997-98 had decreased by 8% in real terms from the 1996-97 allocation of Rs. 131 billion. Military spending was then 29% of total expenditure.[147] The defence allocation for 1999-2000 was reduced to Rs. 173 billion, which was still a staggering 45% of the total tax revenue. Subsequently, the defence budget was slightly cut by the Musharraf regime. In the current budget the outlay is officially given as slightly less than last year.   In reality the defence expenditure had increased, however. The Musharraf regime had lumped Rs 26 billion outlays of military pensions within the civilian pension outlay.  Most importantly, the ratio of Pakistan’s military expenditure as percentage of GNP is twice the average of global military expenditure.[148] Clearly, Pakistan is swimming against the tide. We need to cut down on defence because scarce resources are better utilized elsewhere. According to the Human Development Report, military expenditures as percentage of combined education and health expenditures in 1989-90 are much higher than in some other Muslim countries, with the exception of Iraq.[149] Earlier, Mahbub-ul Haq had estimated that defence spending consumes 6% of Pakistan’s GNP.  Calculated on a per capita basis it costs $28 per year. The military expenditure is 125% of social spending on health and education. Comparatively Pakistan carries a heavier defence burden than India, which spends only 3% of its GNP on defence. The comparative Indian figures for per capita cost is $10 and for the ratio of military to social spending ration is 65%. In aggregate terms, India spends three times more than Pakistan. Objective analysis will indicate that both countries are spending far too much on defence and far too little on health and education. This situation has made them fall behind many African countries in terms of human development. The cost of military spending in terms of human development is very high. Since Pakistan’s policy is based on reaction to Indian moves it will be impractical to expect that Pakistan will be able to unilaterally cut down its military expenditures, argued Mahbub-ul Haq.[150]  He maintained that the country has resources for both development and military expenses. The problem is that Pakistanis are managing them poorly. The country can raise at least another Rs100 billion yearly from proper collection of taxes, exchanging costly domestic debt against the sale of public assets, stern checks against corruption and embezzlement of public resources, and better quality control of public expenditure.[151] If the money is obtained then there can be a reduction of the budget deficit, which would permit financing the dilapidated social sector, while maintaining the current defence burden. Only strong leadership can make it happen given the obvious difficulty of the task. Meanwhile, Pakistan must do what is best for it in the given circumstances. It must not ape any country, least of all India. Benazir had claimed that one of the three major factors that had strained the economy was the heavy defence expenditure. The other two were the increasing burden of debts and the need for “economic democratization”.[152] The proponents of heavy defence expenditures have failed to make a convincing case especially when comparatively speaking the social sectors are so far behind in terms of resource allocation. It needs to be pointed out that bigger state spending does not automatically mean better defence. Pakistan can and should learn to do with less.

As in the case of much of the developing world, Pakistan is a fragmented society that is most easily witnessed in the country’s politics. In addition, several hundred families at the most have ruled Pakistan since independence. This is indeed a recipe for a political confrontation.  A very low rate of literacy restricted flow of information across cultural divides, thereby perpetuating linguistic, ethnic and sectarian differences. Almost two-thirds of the country’s labor force is employed in agriculture, with most of them earning a minimal standard of living. The development paradigm pursued so far has failed to better the lives of a very large segment of the country’s population. What good is the development policy when it is not reaching every one? The question is why, and more importantly, what can the Musharraf regime do about rectifying the problem? In sum, the nation must question the old paradigm for its usefulness. Let the Pakistanis debate the issues anew. A new Islamic direction needs to be a   ddressed. The Musharraf regime is expected to create a new Islamic paradigm of development and conservation. It is universally accepted that the participatory approach is embedded in Pakistan’s Islamic value system. The modern participatory approach is nothing but the operationalization of the values of shura and ijma. In addition, this is widely seen as necessary for integrated sustainable development, especially at the grassroots level.


Towards Sustainable Development: Reform Agenda

The Musharraf regime needs to immediately create a robust public, civil society, and a new private citizens’ partnership. The creation of a vibrant civil society is an essential pre-condition for the country’s progress. The NGOs have played a vital role in the provision of social services and eradication of poverty in various parts of the world and in various communities within Pakistan. There are over 10,000 NGOs in the country. The regime should desire to tap into their considerable expertise and resource base for the country’s sustainable development. It should encourage them by providing financial support. The Musharraf Regime should establish a sound and transparent enabling regulatory framework for NGOs and CBOs. It should embark upon a process of debate, consultation and dialogue between itself and NGOs for the development of a policy framework for their proper functioning. To its credit, the Musharraf regime was aware of the need. Omar Asghar Khan, federal minister, has recently declared that no institutional reform policy, no matter how good it looks on paper, can be implemented without the active participation of the people. It can be hoped that the military regime will take the necessary steps to achieve this desired partnership. Even before the establishment of the local governments, the regime has instructed local officials to get input from the newly elected local government officials in some parts of the country.  How should the Musharraf regime proceed? It should articulate a grand design and vision for Pakistan in the new century. The regime should follow the example of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” initiative in 1932. According to this approach, the US federal Government undertook a massive job-creation program all over the country through a number of state programs especially set up for the purpose. The Musharraf regime must kill two birds with one stone. Build the local government infrastructure,  and mitigate the rural-to-urban migration phenomenon. In addition, give an opportunity for the establishment of direct democratic practices at the local level. It is here that the future aspirants of political careers should receive their first training in democracy. It is important that mistakes of the past be avoided, rather than plan for boondoggles like the Yellow Cabs Scheme, Mera Ghar Scheme, Green Tractors Scheme, and the like. Instead, the military regime must go for massive infrastructure projects of small size, mostly in rural areas, that can produce maximum employment opportunities. The regime’s efforts at decentralization and devolution must occur simultaneously with this grand infrastructure programme. The purposes of the programme are manifold: (1) to provide jobs, (2) stop rural-to-urban migration, and (3) establish the third tier of Government. The state should build local schools, hospitals, roads, parks, sanitation facilities, roads, and the like. Let the people through the District Boards decide what are their priorities. The Federal Government should only guide them with technical assistance. Comprehensive planning is the need of the hour. Stronger district government systems are a possible solution and a vital element of the programmed turnaround of the country Roundtable mechanisms at the regional level are to be established that should start anew the direct democracy experiment. A true partnership between the important stakeholders is envisioned. Thus, the various state agencies should be brought together on one forum with locally active NGOs and CBOs. Remember that the state cannot do it alone, especially in poor countries like Pakistan, where resources are scarce and the task immense. Therefore, it is even more important that collective efforts be made. Such is the immensity of the sustainable development task before the nation. A true partnership approach is urgently needed.  The Musharraf regime must also implement a new conservation strategy suitable for the country. Some progress has been made in this direction. The Pakistan Environment Protection Act, 1997 has established a Pakistan Environment Protection Council (PEPC) to be headed by the Chief executive and an Environment Protection Agency is to act as the executive arm. The Musharraf regime attaches the utmost significance to conservation and sustainable development. It is expected to promote actions to conserve the environment, reduce pollution, try to curb the wasteful exploitation and consumption of resources and energy. The regime is also expected to assure that sustainable development takes place from now on. The National Conservation Strategy (NCS) will be implemented as a high priority through a new Action Plan. However, the implementation of NCS will remain problematic because of shortage of skills needed in critical categories. The new regime must realize that it itself cannot carry out the task. Therefore, for implementing the NCS, it should collaborate with international conservation agencies like IUCN, WWF; donor agencies like UNDP, UNIDO; and domestic NGOs of repute. The primary responsibility for the preparation of the action plan will be with the GOP itself, however. Plan to strengthen the capacity of civil society partners to find appropriate solutions by supporting new ground initiatives. Some progress has been made in the field. Much more needs to be done, however. In the area of conservation, the Musharraf regime should enter a broad-based alliance with reputable international NGOs like IUCN- the World Conservation Union and WWF. The purpose of the exercise is to chalk out a viable plan of action to protect the environment and promote conservation efforts. Similarly, in the area of sustainable development the regime must work with successful domestic agencies like the AKRSP, Sungi, NRSP, Orangi Pilot project, etc. The new regime shall [?] create regional Roundtables for Conservation and Development. It will also seek collaboration in specific programs. For example, the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority (an entity set up by the Government in 1987) can collaborate with UNDP, a district administration in Sind, and the Planning Commission, to work out collaboration for the purpose of development of a particular division. The purpose is to link the officials concerned with the entire government system - federal, provincial, district and local governments – together with international agencies like UNDP, WWF, IUCN, etc. and local NGO network.  A similar initiative can be started in Peshawar division, NWFP where IUCN, Govt. of NWFP, UNDP, which are already working together for conservation and development.


Concluding Remark

Pakistan, after fifty-three years of existence stands at historical crossroads. It continues to face a multi-dimensional governance crisis of immense proportions. The Musharraf regime is trying to tackle them in a disciplined and systematic manner. However, tangible results are limited as yet. The regime faces a serious governance challenge that cannot be easily overcome. Pakistan has grave systematic failures and structural faults in its political and economic systems. These faults remained prevalent for too long. Therefore, the system has seriously malfunctioned as a result. The political and economic situation in the country can only be described as serious, if not dismal. The military government’s reform agenda is an earnest attempt to pull the country back from the precipice. Attainment of the goals set forth in this agenda require serious and sustained hard work by all Pakistanis, with full commitment to building up social and economic strength, in an environment of peace and order. Given Pakistan’s fundamental crisis, the future seems to be bleak indeed. Unless and until the regime is able to augment Pakistan’s resources and capacity in a formidable manner to turn the country around quickly, the country is destined to remain in a perpetual crisis of very serious dimensions.




ADP- Asian Development Bank

AGP- Auditor General Pakistan

AGPR- Accountant General Pakistan Revenue

AKRSP- Agha Khan Rural Support Program

ANP- Awami National Party

CBO- Community-based organization

CSS- Central Superior Services

EU-European Union

FAO-Food and Agriculture Organization

FATA-Federally Administered Tribal Areas

FANA- Federally Administered Northern Areas

FGL-Federal Government Link

FIA-Federal Investigation Agency

FIR-First Information Report

GDP-Gross domestic product

GNP-Gross national product

GOP-Government of Pakistan

G-3-Good Governance Group

GST-General Sales Tax

IMF-International Monetary Fund

IUCN-The World Conservation Union

KESC-Karachi Electric Supply Corporation

MQM-Muttahida Qaumi Mahaz (formerly Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz)

MNA-Member of the National Assembly

NAB-National Accountability Bureau

NAFTA- North American Free Trade Area

NAP-National Awami Party

NCS-National Conservation Strategy

NFC-National Finance Commission

NRB-National Reconstruction Bureau

NRSP-National Rural Support Program

NWFP-North-West Frontier Province (Sarhad)

OGDC-Oil and Gas Development Company

PAEC-Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission

PCA-Police Complaint Authority

PIA-Pakistan International Airlines

PIDC-Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation

PMDC-Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation

PML-Pakistan Muslim league

PPP-Pakistan Peoples Party

PPSC-Provincial Public Safety Commission

PSC-Provincial Safety Commission

PSDP-Public Sector Development Program

PTCL-Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited

SDPI-Sustainable Development Policy Institute

SNGPL-Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited

SPCS-Sarhad Provincial Conservation Strategy

UK-United Kingdom

UNDP-United Nations Development Program

UNIDO-United Nations Industrial Development Organization

USAID-United States Agency for Internal Development

VO-village organization

WAPDA-Water and Power Development Authority

WWF-World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund)






2. Glossary of Islamic Terms


Allah                Arabic for God

Amir                Chief, commander

Caliph             the Prophet Muhammad’s successor ruler


Din                  complete code of life


Fiqh                 Islamic jurisprudence


Hadith             Oral or written account of the sayings or deeds of Prophet Muhammad


Ijma                 consensus


Ijtihad             intellectual innovation according to individual capacity


Jihad               struggle in the name of Islam


Khalifah          Caliph


Khalifah-i-Rashidun                The Rightly Guided Caliphs, the first four caliphs of Islam (Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali who ruled from 630-62 AD)


Majlis              a consultative meeting


Madrassahs    religious schools


Shariah                       Islamic law


Shura              consultation


Sunnah                        practice of the Prophet Muhammad


Sultan              king


Ulema              plural of Aalim, Muslim religious scholars


Ummah            nation


Zakat               obligatory charity at the rate of 2-½%





1.General Bibliography


Agha Khan Rural Support Program (1996) Précis Number: 111, Looking to the Future (AKRSP: Operations Evaluation Department)


Beazley, Mitchell (1993) “Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Survival, (Reed International Books in association with IUCN, UNEF, and WWF)


Bouckaert, Geert  (1993) “Governance between Legitimacy & Efficiency Citizen Participation in the Belgium Fire Services". Modern Governance: New Government Society Interactions, ed. by Jan Kooiman (London: Sage)


Central Intelligence Agency (1999) The World Fact Book (Pakistan. Fact book home page/Pakistan.htm.)


Covert, Richard (1991). In the Era of Human Capital: The Emergence of Talent, Intelligence and Knowledge as the World Economic Force and What it Means to Managers and Investors (New York: Harper Collins)


Crawford, Richard (1991) In the Era of Human Capital (New York: Harper Collins)

Derbyshire & Derbyshire (1987) The Business of Government (Edinburgh: Chambers)


Government of Pakistan (various years) Economic Surveys (Finance Division, Economic Affairs Wing).


Government of Pakistan (2000) Local Government Plan 2000(Chief Executive Secretariat, National Reconstruction Bureau)


Government of Pakistan and UNDP (1998) "The Effectiveness of Aid to Pakistan" (Islamabad: Economic Affairs Division)


Government of Pakistan (n.d.) The Pakistan National Conservation Strategy (Karachi: Environment and Urban Affairs Division, GOP and IUCN)


Government of Pakistan (1999) Strategy for Improving Governance (Planning Commission; Planning and Development Division)


Government of Pakistan (1999) D-8 Conference Report on Good Governance and Institutional Reforms. February 20-21, 1991, Islamabad (Good Governance Group, Planning and Development Division)


Government of NWFP, Pakistan and IUCN (2000). Sarhad Provincial Conservation Strategy (Peshawar: IUCN)


Government of Pakistan and UNDP (1990) The Effectiveness of Aid to Pakistan


Gress, Franz. The American Federal System


Grindle, Marilee (1997) "The Good Government Imperative: Human Resources, Organization, and Institutions", Getting Good Government: Capacity building in the public sector of developing countries, ed., Marilee Grindle (Harvard Institute of International Development/Harvard University Press)


Hussein, Zahid Hussein (2000) “A Nation of Tax Resisters” Newsweek, July 17


Kooiman, Jan (1993) Modern Governance: New Government-Society Interactions (London: Sage)



Kaelin, Walter Kaelin (1998) Legal Aspects of Decentralization in Pakistan (UNDP Pakistan/Swiss Development Cooperation Pakistan office)


Khan, Rashid Ahmad and Sohail Mahmood (2000) Analysis of National Reconstruction Bureau’s Plan for Decentralization and Devolution of Power and Responsibility (Lahore: Punjab University, Department of Political Science)


Khan, Shahrukh Rafi. Ed. (1999) Fifty Years of Pakistan Economy: Traditional Topics and Contemporary Concerns (Karachi: Oxford University Press)



Mahmood, Sohail (1995) Islamic Fundamentalism in Pakistan, Egypt, and Iran (Lahore: Vanguard).


Mahmood, Sohail (1985) The Concept of Islamic State (Lahore: Progressive)


Malik, Iftikhar (1997) State and Civil Society in Pakistan: Politics pf Authority, Ideology and Ethnicity (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan Press)


Middleton, Nick  (1995) The Global Casino - An Introduction to Environment Issues, (New York & London: Edward Arnold)


Overseas Development Administration (1993) Good Government, Technical Note no. 10  (London: ODA); World Bank (1992) Governance and Development (Washington D.C.: World Bank).


Rossi, Marco Rossi,  (1999) Decentralization and Development (Berne: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation)                                                                                                                                                     


State Bank of Pakistan (various years) Annual Report (Karachi)


Talbot, Ian (1999) Pakistan: A modern History (Lahore: Vanguard)


Tribe, Derek (1994) Feeding and Greening the World: The Role of International Agriculture Research (Oxon, UK: Cab International)


UNDP (2000) “Forward”, Global Public Goods (UNDP html. home web page)


UNO (1998) Commission on Global Governance


Weiss, (1995) Pakistan: A Country Study, (Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress)


World Bank (2000) Entering the 21st Century: World Development Report, 1999-2000 (Washington, DC: World Bank)


World Bank (1994) World Development Report (Washington, DC: The World Bank)


World Bank (several years) Country Brief: Pakistan


World Conservation-IUCN (1999) “Forest under Fire” (IUCN: 3-4/99)






[1] “The World Economic Survey”, The Economist, 1997, [ ? Ed.]

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Entering the 21st Century: World Development Report 1999/2000: Summary (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2000), 4.

[5] Clive Crook, [? Ed.]


[7] Entering the 21st Century: World Development Report 1999/2000: Summary (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2000), 4.

[8] Ibid, 4-5.

[9] Pakistan Observer, Sept. 1, 2000.

[10] The News, Aug. 29, 2000.

[11] Newsline, (monthly), July 2000, 36.

[12] Newsline, (monthly), Oct. 2000, 18.

[13] Pakistan Observer, Dec. 21, 2000.

[14] Russet & Starr, 355

[15] See Annual Report of the State Bank of Pakistan, 1998-99 reprinted in The News, Dec. 20, 1999.

[16] Dawn, Jan 8, 2001.

[17] The News, Jan. 8, 2000.

[18] The News, Dec. 13, 1999.

[19] Pakistan & Gulf Economist, Dec. 11-17, 2000, 27.

[20] Pakistan Observer, Jan. 1, 2001.

[21] The News, Sept. 4, 2000.

[22] Figures taken from the Annual Report of the State Bank of Pakistan, 1998-99 reported in The Nation, December 20, 1999.


[23] The News, December 17, 1999.

[24] Sultan Ahmed, “Higher growth or more taxes?” Dawn, Dec. 21, 2000.

[25] Dawn, July 26, 2000

[26] Zahid Hussein, “A Nation of Tax Resisters”, op. cit., 23.

[27] Khaleej Times (daily), July 14, 2000.

[28] Pakistan Observer, Aug. 30, 2000.

[29] Figures are from UNDP’s Human Development Report, 2000, in Dawn Jan. 8, 2001

[30] See “Bottom Line”, Asiaweek, Nov. 17, 2000, 51 and The Nation, Nov. 27, 2000.

[31]  See Pakistan Observer, Dec. 17, 2000, The Nation, Dec. 17, 1999 and The News, Dec. 13 & 17, 1999, The News, Jan. 3, 2001.

[32] PO, Jan. 12, 2001.

[33] PO, Jan. 8, 2002 [sic Ed.].

[34] PO, Jan. 8, 2001

[35] Pakistan Observer, Jan. 7, 2001.

[36] The News, August 27, 2000.

[37] Pakistan Observer, Aug. 28, 2000

[38] The News, August 24, 2000.

[39] Pakistan Observer, Jan. 9, 2001

[40] PO, Jan. 14, 2001.

[41] The news, Jan. 9, 2000.

[42] News, Oct. 26, 2000

[43] The News, Dec. 13, 2000.

[44] Pakistan Observer, Jan. 7, 2001.

[45] See Bottomline, Asia week, Nov. 17, 2000, 51

[46] See Bottomline, Asia week, Nov. 17, 2000, 51

[47] Nation, Jan. 7, 2001.

[48] See Bottomline, Asia week, Nov. 17, 2000, 51

[49] See Bottomline, Asia week, Nov. 17, 2000, 51

[50] Newsline, October 2000, 18

[51] Dawn, May 24, 1999.

[52] The Government of Baluchistan has decided to decrease the number of districts in the province by two. The decision was taken in or about January 2001. Similarly, the Government of NWFO was contemplating to decrease the number of districts by perhaps a total of one, as reported in the press at the end of 2000.

[53] Dawn, May 24, 1999.

[54] Dawn, Dec. 22, 2000.

[55] Marco Rossi, “Decentralization – Initial Experiences and Expectations of the SDC”, Decentralization and Development (Berne: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation”, 1999), 14.


[56] Pakistan Observer, Aug. 30, 2000

[57] Pakistan Observer, Jan. 12, 2001

[58] See para 68 of the “LG Plan”, Dawn August 16, 2000.

[59] See para 71 of the Local Government LG Plan

[60] Ibid.

[61] See para 72 of the local Government LG Plan.

[62] See para 76 of the LG Plan

[63] See para 48 of the Local Government LG Plan.

[64] See para 50 of the LG Plan.

[65] See para 52 of the LG Plan.

[66] Ibid.

[67] See para 96 of the LG Plan.

[68] See para 18 of the LG Plan.

[69] See para 20 of the LG Plan.

[70] See para 25 of the LG Plan.

[71] See para 23 of the LG Plan.

[72] See para 26of the LG Plan.

[73] See para 24 of the LG Plan.

[74] See para 23 of the LG Plan.

[75] See para 26 of the LG Plan.

[76] See para 37 of the LG Plan.

[77] See para 22 of the LG Plan.

[78] See Para 27 of the LG Plan.

[79] See para 28 of the LG Plan.

[80] See para 32 of the LG Plan.

[81] See para 38 of the LG Plan.

[82] Dawn, Oct. 18, 2000.

[83] See para 40 of the LG Plan.

[84] See para 142 of the Local Government LG Plan.

[85] See para 142 of the LG Plan.

[86] See para 143 of the Local Government LG Plan.

[87] See para 146 of the LG Plan

[88] See para 41 of the LG Plan.

[89] The News, Aug. 29, 2000.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid.

[92] PO, Jan. 13, 2001.

[93] See para 101 of the LG Plan.

[94] See para 101 f LG Plan.

[95] See para 102 of the LG Plan.

[96] See para 104.

[97] See para 106.

[98] See para 105.

[99] See para 103 of LG Plan

[100] See para 107 of the LG Plan.

[101] See para 102 of the LG Plan

[102] See para 125.

[103] See para 126.

[104] See para 128

[105] See papa 128.

[106] District Level Criminal Justice Reforms, unpublished report, G3, Planning and development Division, GOP, 1999.

[107] See parra43.

[108] The Friday Times, June 21-27, 2000, 4

[109] LG Plan, 60

[110] See unpublished report by Good Governance Group, Planning & Development Division, GOP, 1998

[111] “An Analysis of Pakistan’s Transition towards Democracy: Performance in the First Half Century”, National Development and Security (quarterly) Vol. VI No. 2, Nov. 1997, 136.

[112] Kasuri expressed his desire for creating 26 provinces in Pakistan in his speech in the News Seminar reported in The News, Jan. 29, 2000

[113] Nation, Jan. 23, 2000.

[114] Franz Gress, Detlef Fechtner & Matthias Hannes, The American Federal System: Federal Balance in Comparative Perspective (New York & Paris: Peter Lang, 1994), 207.

[115] Ibid, 218.

[116] PO, Jan. 3, 2001.

[117] The News, Sep. 26, 97.

[118] Pakistan Observer, July 28, 2000.

[119] Phil Cocker, Essential Topics in Modern British Politics and Government (London: Tudor, 1994), 73-73.

[120] Country Brief: Pakistan (World Bank web page)

[121] Strategy for Improving Governance (Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, April 1999), pp. 3-4

[122] The divisions in the federal government are in alphabetical order: Capital Administration & Development, Aviation, Cabinet, Commerce, Communications, Culture, Sports, Tourism, & Youth Affairs, Defense, Defense Production, Economic Affairs, Education, Environment, Local Government & Rural Development, Establishment, Finance, Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Foreign Affairs, Health, Housing and Works, Industries & Production, Information & Media Development, Interior, Kashmir Affairs, Northern Areas and State & Frontier Regions, Labor, Manpower, & Overseas Pakistanis, Law, Justice & Human Rights, Narcotics Control, Petroleum & Natural Resources, Planning & Development, Population Welfare, Railways, Religious Affairs, Minority Affairs, and Zakat & Usher, Scientific & Technological Research, Statistics, Water & Power, Women Development, Social Welfare, and Special Education, Parliamentary Affairs, Privatization, Revenue



[123] Pakistan Observer, Nov. 29, 2000

[124] The Nation, July 13, 2000. For figure for population growth rate see “Bottom Line”, Asiaweek, Nov. 17, 2000, 51.

[125] See Forward, Global Public Goods, UNDP web page.


[126] See editorial “Will the jobs come”, Dawn, Oct. 25, 2000.

[127] The Nation, January 23, 2000.

[128] See editorial, Dawn, Dec. 17, 1999.

[129] Dawn, Dec. 17, 1999.

[130] See Dawn, Jan. 8, 20001.

[131] The News, Jan. 16, 2000.

[132] Dawn, Feb. 5, 1996.

[133] See Bottomline, Asia week, Nov. 17, 2000, 51

[134]Human Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, April 1999 (Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan), 2.  

[135] Khaleej Times (daily), July 14, 2000.

[136] Dawn, Jan. 8, 2001.

[137] The Nation, July 13, 2000.

[138] See CIA’s the World Fact Book, 1999: Pakistan. Fact book home page/Pakistan.htm.

[139] Zahid Hussein, “A Nation of Tax Resisters”, Newsweek, July 17, 2000, 23.

[140] See Special Issue of the 33rd. Annual Meeting of Board of Governors, May 2000, Asian Development Review, vol. 32, no. 1, 2000, 23.

[141] Public Sector Development Program: New Initiatives 1999 (Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, n.d.), 2

[142] Hasan Iqbal Jafri, “Sink or Swim?” The Herald (monthly), July 1997, 136.

[143] Public Sector Development Program: New Initiatives 1999 (Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan), 7

[144] Ibid. 171.

[145]  “Federal Budget in Brief, Finance Division, Government of Pakistan”, Dawn, June 22, 1996.

[146] The Military Balance, 1994-98 (London: The International Institute of Strategic Studies, 1998), 147.

[147] The Herald (monthly), July 1997

[148] The News, Jan. 2, 2000.

[149]  See “Human Development Report, 1992” in American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Vol. 12 No. 3, fall 1995, 337.

[150] Mahbub-ul Haq, “Security Without Starvation”, The News, May 22, 1996.

[151] Ibid.

[152] “Federal Budget”, Dawn, June 22, 1996