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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Institutional stagnation in Pakistan

Stagnation is a term widely used in economic and financial disciplines. Because it is mainly concerned with growth, development and progress. It is usually referred to the slow growth and development that is not much crucial in accounts.

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Since its inception, it is proudly claimed that Pakistan is an ideological state. The Islamic ideological foundation has made Pakistan a unique country in the world. Yet, Pakistan and its Islamic ideology are poles apart. Even there is no actual coincide between the state and ideology but nominal. Pakistan has been derailed in socio-economic and political terms due to the inherited archaic and imported mixed legacies. Currently, all the concerned institutions of Pakistan are stagnant. Elites of the country deliberately demean state institutions to enjoy their hegemony.

Stagnation is a term widely used in economic and financial disciplines. Because it is mainly concerned with growth, development and progress. In other words, stagnation is the inconsiderable and ignorable change or growth. It is usually referred to the slow growth and development that is not much crucial in accounts.

Currently, Pakistani institutions have been going through a stagnation phase

Historically, Pakistani society could not be liberated from social taboos and limitations. The perception of independence was more theoretical and physical. The people of Pakistan are yet dependent on psychologically and practically. People of all ages and genders have certain social complexities that back-pedal development. For instance, Pakistani society is yet reluctant to recognize women’s rights and chastity in socio-economic and political spheres. Domestic violence and deprivation of women in their inheritance are hurdles in the way of progress and development. According to the Economic Survey 2022, the current literacy rate in Pakistan is 63 percent in which female literacy ratio is 46 percent. These factors are causing stagnation in the social sphere. What to do to eradicate social stagnation?

Likewise, Pakistan’s economy has been in a dwindling condition since its inception. It was due to unjust and unequal distribution during the partition plan. After that state has been borrowing and spending since 1947 on security measures. Even after 75 years, Pakistan could not develop the industrial sector. Likely individuals prefer services in the public sector and then the private sector. The educational system failed to find a knowledge economy.

The entire economic system has been placed for the miracle of divine authority. Even the agriculture of Pakistan could not be reached the epitome because of a lack of scientific research. In the same way, women are half of the population of the country but they are merely confined to domestic chores. They have minimum opportunity to contribute to the national economy.

On the other hand, temporary relief packages by the government have made people lazy and easy-way seekers. The taxation system is outdated. The flawed tax collection and distribution system has engraved injustice and inequality in society. To date, resource distribution is the imbalance that keeps people and state institutions at daggers drawn with each other.

In addition, political stagnation has been causing severe harm to the spirit of independence. In practice, the British political legacy could not be replaced. Political elites and demagogues grab power through blame game theory to uphold hegemony in state politics. Almost all the political parties and institutions have been occupied by old gurus for decades. These elites and old gurus run political affairs with archaic techniques to enjoy their hegemony. It always boosts up dynastic politics. New faces hardly make room in politics. All the political parties prefer electable(s) rather than political ideology and intellectuals. Political institutions have been taken up by a few families. How positive change, progress and development would take place with old prejudiced demagogues, old ways and old laws?

Furthermore, Pakistan inherited the colonial administrative system as a whole which was based on suppressive, coercive and prejudiced techniques. Public administrators are rules rather than servants. They deliberately create more complexities for common men than facilitation. Yet, Pakistan could not alter the titles, positions, functions and jurisdiction of administrative institutions and personnel. The bureaucrats project their personal desires as national interests. They have instincts of nepotism, favoritism and red-tapism in their routine work. The personnel, in administration, are under the complex paradigm of power. They cannot take firm decisions in time to address the prevailing circumstances. It has jeopardized justice in society.

Administrative stagnation has degraded Pakistan to the lowest ebb 

Undoubtedly, the aforementioned socio-economic, political and administrative problems in terms of stagnation are severe. These issues cannot be addressed in a day. It needs behavioral modulation, sincerity and rationality to address these problems. Pakistan is in dire need of comprehensive and long-run reforms in socioeconomic, political and administrative spheres. Positive changes in social life need to be encouraged and enforced. The whole economic system of the country needs to be overhauled and harmonized with the contemporary international lines and the growing population at home.

In politics, old gurus should step down from national institutions and limit themselves up to the guidance of youth. New faces must be given space to enhance their capabilities to serve the nation with modern techniques. In the same way, administrative personnel must come out from the paradox of the colonial era. They need to serve the nation as servants rather than rulers. Collective and comprehensive efforts can erode institutional stagnation and track the country on the path of progress, prosperity and development.

Live Long Pakistan!


The writer is a PhD candidate in Political Science at International Islamic University, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.