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In democratic societies around the world, hope isn’t just a fleeting feeling of individual optimism. Instead, it stands as a sturdy pillar, a collective sentiment crucial for maintaining societal harmony and progress.

Hope serves as the anchor that helps people believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow, ensuring that they remain engaged and participative in the democratic process.

Yet, in Pakistan, this invaluable social capital is on the decline with erosion in trust towards its political and judicial systems.

The nation’s economy, which should ideally reflect the health and potential of a country, has unfortunately stagnated.

There’s a glaring absence of significant improvement, casting doubts about future prospects. But even more distressing is the observed negligence towards the enforcement of fundamental rights. These rights, enshrined in the nation’s constitution and highlighted in Articles 9, 10A, 14, 19A, 25, and 25A, serve as the bedrock of a just and equitable society.

Yet, vast sections of the populace find themselves marginalized, devoid of equal opportunities and basic human rights. Such systemic oversights or neglect mean that essential human needs, both material and emotional, are left unfulfilled. As a result, an overwhelming cloud of desperation and disillusionment hangs heavy, affecting the collective psyche of the nation.

Recent scholarly investigations and in-depth analyses have brought into focus the prevailing concerns within Pakistan’s socio-political fabric. These studies, echoing the collective voice of the general public, depict a troubling scenario.

A palpable erosion in public confidence is evident, especially in institutions that should stand as pillars of trust and reliability in a democratic society. The situation is exacerbated by the apparent sidelining of the constitution and the bureaucracy’s reluctance to implement the judiciary’s judgments. Such systemic issues not only breed uncertainties but also chip away at the very foundations of a stable society.

For a nation to truly flourish, unwavering faith in its core institutions is indispensable. A democratic nation’s health hinges on the seamless functioning of its judiciary, legislative, and executive branches. Yet, Pakistan’s political milieu is beset with formidable challenges. From rampant corruption to the glaring inefficiencies of civil entities and a conspicuous lack of accountability, the problems are manifold.

As Pakistan stands at this critical juncture, the way forward calls for profound introspection. It demands the instigation of sweeping reforms to rectify systemic flaws and a reinvigoration of the nation’s commitment to its democratic ideals.

The collective aspiration must be to cultivate an environment where the rule of law is paramount, and every individual, irrespective of their societal stature, can trust the nation’s institutions to safeguard their rights and aspirations.

At the heart of many of these issues lies the post-independence evolution—or lack thereof—of the All India Muslim League. Their inability to pivot from a freedom movement to a structured political entity with a clear post-independence vision is palpable.

Their shortcomings in framing a foundational constitutional path that could have fostered a cohesive national spirit have had lasting repercussions.

Furthermore, Pakistan’s economic compass seems bereft of true north. Those championed as economists, with their education often rooted in Western schools of thought, appear to be tethered to the philosophies of international financial giants rather than being in tune with the unique needs of Pakistan’s citizenry. The historical economic narrative has leaned heavily towards GDP growth rather than equitable wealth distribution.

What’s even more troubling is the perspective that the economically disadvantaged need only exert more effort, absolving systemic failures. Many, unfortunately, have been conditioned to view their economic hardships as preordained rather than the result of systemic neglect.

A deeper dive into Pakistan’s governance quandaries reveals that the post-independence period saw administrative tendencies shaped significantly by the vestiges of the colonial system. The Muslim League’s disintegration in 1948 created a leadership vacuum, opportunistically filled by a non- representative dispensations and pseudo democratic architecture, backed by shifting global geopolitical dynamics. So, where does the roadmap to reform begin?

For tangible transformation, two pivotal actions are essential:

1- Undertake a modernization of the judicial system, drawing inspiration from successful models such as the digital transformation of the Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan and integrating global best practices. Collaborative efforts with organizations like UNDP can accelerate this transformation. Additionally, emulate the comprehensive digital integration seen in governments and economic processes of countries like Estonia, Singapore, and China.

2- Rigorously implement sections 5 and 6 of both federal and provincial acts pertaining to access to information and transparency. By doing so, the system’s transparency, accountability and efficiency are expected to improve by an estimated 60 to 70 percent. By wholeheartedly integrating digital tools and upholding transparency, Pakistan can pave the way for a reformed and more resilient governance structure.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Dr Murtaza Khuhro

The writer is a retired Civil Servant and Advocate at the High Court. [email protected]


Comments are closed.

KU Nov 01, 2023 11:58am
Good article. The educated and literate people acknowledge one simple truth, fear rules the democratic country, while any kind of freedom of expression or critique against the role of the judiciary, government, or establishment is punishable by mysterious laws. People are faced with many shades of law and its interpretation, arm-twisting or threat of financial ruin or miserable time spent in courts on alleged crimes, all are familiar tactics that damage the society, economy, and the country.
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PT Nov 04, 2023 12:20pm
Pakistan is not a democratic country! For democracy to work in Pakistan! The grade 22 officer has to follow the constitution of Pakistan! Unless generals are tamed democracy will not take root in Pakistan! And Pakistan will continue to be like a DHA colonized by few compromised generals!
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