The Institutional Decay in Pakistan


Right from independence in 1947 till 1956 we had no constitution.It appears to be ridiculous and unimaginable to run a country without any constitution for such a long time. This constitutional vacuum badly affected all the institutions supposed to flourish in a newly born country. Unfortunately the three main organs of state Legislature, Executive and judiciary could not work within parameters of any definite and organized direction.

In absence of constitutional mandate our civil Bureaucracy started intrigues to become a major player in power politics, off course with the blessings of some invisible powers. This was the time when our judiciary also borrowed the notorious idea of “Law of necessity” which undeniably earned a bad name for the institution for all times to come.

Probably these were the dominant reasons that instead of strengthening the institutions we started hero worship and preferred the individuals over the institutions and its disastrous results were obvious which this nation is constantly sustaining for over seven decades.

I would like to share an interesting dialogue of Former Prime Minister and Governor General of Pakistan Kh. Nazim ud Din, a Bengali origin, a real patriot and gentleman once replied to a query that in Pakistan whether Prime Minister is stronger than Governor General and vice versa.

What a reply by Khawja Nazim ud Din in a very simple but straight manner that “when he was Governor General of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan was the Prime Minister and Liaquat Ali Khan was stronger, while when he (Kh sahib) became Prime minister then Ghulam Muhammad was Governor General and Ghulam Muhammad was stronger” This sentence uttered in a lighter tone depicts real faces of institutions.

A country which could not had a constitutional Assembly for sufficient long time how could expect the strengthening of institutions. Although we had two constitutions in 1956 and 1962 yet none of the assemblies approved said constitutions were truly represented by the masses of this country. It was for the first time in 1970 when every citizen of 21 years of age could cast his vote in the general elections and ultimately the Assembly passed the 1973 constitution still prevalent and undeniably a strong bond to keep the federation intact.

The most pertinent question is who made these institutions weak and dysfunctional. The answer is a bit pinching but one has to admit this naked reality that this society as a whole is responsible for this mess. As a nation collectively we never realized that strengthening of institutions means to promote a stable , sustainable democracy.

Probably democracy never suited to our ruling elite whether they are civilian or Military. Here different types of tailored democracies were tested in the chequered history of Democracy in Pakistan. Neither Bureaucracy in real sense groomed for a democratic environment nor judiciary was allowed to work in real independence. The same sorry state of affairs was prevailing in other institutions, resultantly we observed rapid deterioration in our star institutions like bureaucracy, police, Judiciary and many others.

In topsy-turvy history of our institutions where almost all the state institutions were badly affected, judiciary was not an exception. Although a number of reforms from time to time were introduced to show some betterment in these institutions yet these were half baked and visionless reforms without any determination and will of the ruling elite to see any visible improvement in these institutions. It was our sheer bad luck that we did not find even a single such ruler since independence who actually wanted to see the institutions stable, stronger and functional .

When in Police and Administration all appointments, posting transfers will be purely on political compulsions and constraints, how even dream of any independence, fair play and justice can be expected or even visualized. It is really painful to observe that almost every political party in every election in the manifestos made tall claims to strengthen the institutions but when in power hardly any such political party ever bothered to even go through the manifesto. It appears to be well thought out strategy formulated by our ruling elite under the influence of establishment to keep the institutions weaker and fragile.

At times we found certain conscious attempts to make these institutions controversial as well. Naturally when there is lack of continuity and sustainability in the institutions they can’t work independently and thus bound to deliver below the expectations of a common man. Such a trend prevalent for the last 70 years has in fact caused serious damage to our social fabric as well and apparently the common man appears to be alienated from the main stream. It is really a dangerous trend that our common man has started distrusting the institutions.

The reasons are obvious that we could not build public friendly institutions. We are raising slogans for establishing” State of Madina” but without even fulfilling the basic criteria of any such welfare state. We normally lost sight of the atrocities of state institutions being committed upon a common man. Can anybody expect respect and dignity in” Thana kutchery” for a common man who compels to visit these places without any protocol while facing atrocities of police and revenue officials.

For last many years we are hearing reforms in “Thana and Patwar culture” but without any tangible and visible change. Where the responsibility lies for such a naked failure,” on the inefficient and corrupt system, mal-administration, nepotism, lethargy, indiscipline , visionless and directionless leadership over the last 70 years or so.

The most lamentable aspect is that we never encouraged and promoted merit oriented system. We promoted a “Mai Baap” culture based upon liking disliking, lobbies, out of Box ways and means to support the blue eyed in every institution. Instances are not lacking when many of such appointments made in contravention of rules just to accommodate blue eyed were set aside by our superior courts.
It is high time to ponder over for our policy makers, legislature and ruling elite to re visit the old rotten and out dated approach to run the state institutions.

A complete independence and transparency not only in recruitment at every level but merit oriented appointments promotions, posting transfers in every institution including judiciary is need of the hour. We have painfully observed the reaction of Bar Associations time and again on the appointments of Judges in Higher judiciary.

We need to demonstrate wisdom, foresightedness and Sagacity to strengthen our institutions. We need to promote, encourage and strengthen the institutions instead of individuals. Concept of hero worship has to be put on back burner and to promote merit based working in the institutions. Needless to point out that despite all these heavy odds we have produced very able, competent and strong bureaucrats and police officers.

Undoubtedly we produced judges of high caliber, integrity and stature but they were individuals in every field of life, however we could not cultivate a system to get the breed of such talented people on regular basis. Almost for 30 years w e saw Military regimes for rest of period we had civilian governments but there was no visible difference in performance and evaluation in our institutions either in Military or democratic regimes.


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