Elected representatives, including those in the National Assembly, provincial assemblies, Senate, and local governments, hold a critical responsibility towards the Pakistani people, particularly those from underprivileged and impoverished communities.

Their role is not just about representation but about embodying the trust and aspirations of those who elect them. It is essential that these representatives possess a deep understanding of the Constitution, especially key articles that safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens, and ensure they are well-equipped to uphold these principles.

The duty of elected officials extends beyond mere governance; it encompasses the moral and ethical obligation to act with integrity, honesty, and a sense of justice. They must embody values that are commendable, demonstrating qualities that reflect their dedication to serving the public good. Their decisions should be autonomous, aligned with the rule of law, the constitution, and the best interests of their constituents.

It is paramount that they connect genuinely with the populace, empathizing with the struggles of the less fortunate, and acknowledging their humanity and rights. This connection should translate into active efforts aimed at improving the welfare of the people, guided by a vision that includes the well-being of all citizens, irrespective of their economic status.

The affiliation of these representatives with their political parties should be a reflection of a genuine commitment to public service, characterized by actions that prioritise the welfare of the people over party or personal gains. They should actively work towards alleviating the suffering of the impoverished, recognizing them as equals deserving of dignity, rights, and opportunities.

In essence, the true measure of elected representatives’ effectiveness lies in their ability to honor the trust placed in them, to govern with conscience and dignity, and to make decisions that are in the best interest of all citizens, ensuring a just and equitable society for future generations.

The crucial question remains: Why have the elected representatives failed in their duties over the past 76 years? The answer is both simple and complex. In 1947, when the new country was founded, the reins of power were effectively held by the pre-existing colonial bureaucracy, which lacked an understanding of politics or political methods for resolving disputes. Their approach was rooted in the administrative practices of the British colonial era in India.

From 1947 to 1951, the civil bureaucracy was in charge, but the situation shifted with General Ayub Khan’s induction, transitioning the power structure towards the military and its allies under the command of the Commander-in-Chief.

In 1958, martial law was imposed, later legitimized by the Supreme Court of Pakistan through the case of Dosso. Civilian rule was only reinstated after the separation of East Pakistan, with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto emerging as a key figure, initially appointed as the Chief Martial Law Administrator and later as President. Bhutto, a man of significant stature and potential for transformative leadership, unfortunately, committed crucial errors. Instead of fortifying democratic forces and structuring his party on democratic principles to empower the populace, he leveraged his charismatic personality and political acumen primarily for international politics and to maintain his popularity domestically.

Concurrently, he permitted his party members to engage in corruption and abuse their power. Furthermore, Bhutto not only oppressed the opposition but also yielded to the misguided advice of military leadership, taking severe actions against the so-called Baloch rebellion and other dissenters. When faced with challenges, even those influenced by foreign interventions, his isolation led to compromises that ultimately proved futile.

Since July 5, 1977, democracy in the country has struggled to flourish, overshadowed by governance that often hinged on compromises and manipulations by the establishment. A particularly disheartening aspect of this period has been the actions of two major political parties and their leaders, who have engaged in widespread corruption and mismanagement, severely plundering national resources. The entities wielding real power have consistently exploited the vulnerabilities of political parties, dictating terms and partaking in corruption whenever opportunities arose.

The absence of good governance—characterized by transparency, accountability, efficiency, and minimal corruption—has plunged the country into a severe economic turmoil. The pathway out of this quagmire involves several critical steps. Firstly, there must be a decisive separation and removal of unconstitutional forces from political spheres. Secondly, the reorganization of political parties along democratic lines, from the grassroots to the highest levels, must be undertaken with an unwavering commitment to transparency and accountability within their own structures. Importantly, political parties need to grasp the historical evolution of technology and science, from the Industrial Revolution to the current advancements in generative artificial intelligence and the potential of future Artificial General Intelligence.

The prevailing Western economic philosophy, which has dominated discourse for the past two centuries, is increasingly seen as obsolete. The economic stagnation in Japan, the crises in Western Europe, the challenges faced by developed capitalist countries, and the rise of developing nations in Asia, including the Middle East and Africa, offer valuable lessons.

To achieve immediate and tangible results, elected representatives should prioritize a five-point agenda:

  1. Complete digitization and digitalization of government processes: This involves transforming all government operations into digital formats to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accessibility.

  2. Enforcement of transparency measures: Implementing sections 5/6 of the Federal and Provincial Right to Information Acts to ensure proactive disclosure and dissemination of government information, including detailed accounts of expenditures backed by verifiable evidence.

  3. Universal access to education and high-tech skill development: Leveraging simulations and other innovative methods to offer universal education and skill development, essential for navigating the demands of a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

  4. Energy accessibility and internet connectivity: Ensuring sustainable and affordable energy solutions, like solar power, alongside the provision of at least 4G internet connectivity to every household and educational institution. This will underpin the universal access to education and digital literacy.

  5. Judicial system digitization: It aims to modernise the judicial process with digital tools to quicken legal proceedings, ensure prompt delivery of justice, and make the legal system more accessible and efficient for everyone. This step is crucial for improving the overall procedural efficiency and ensuring fair access to justice for all members of the community.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Dr Murtaza Khuhro

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

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Naveed Ahmed Tunio Apr 08, 2024 10:44am
You wrote facts and figures about the current scenari. I appriciate your words.
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KU Apr 08, 2024 01:53pm
Another good take on our ills. One only needs to visit the ministries and power brokers to understand the scale and breadth of callousness, greed and dangers to the state of Pakistan. Its hopeless.
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