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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Pakistan’s Governance System: Needs major repairs?

The challenges of 21st century and governance crisis in our country cannot be tackled without imparting modern scientific knowledge to our civil servants -who are the main stakeholders in this process- plus enabling the public to partake in decision-making process; proclaims a Quetta based PCS officer.

Breakdown of governance system and its possible causes

Our governance system calls for major repairs than the recommendations such as curtailing the number of vacancies, introducing lateral inductions of specialists, rotation policy of assignments, increasing promotion threshold with performance indicators and mandatory retention review on qualifying twenty years of service and a little of professional acquisition of knowledge at the mid-career level.

It seems the pivot of all reform mechanism was the civil servants rather than the disgruntled public who are pissed off in this non-yielding and non-responsive spinning governance design structured chiefly by the forces of status quo.

We need to study our governance system through adopting scientific means, methods and models to diagnose the ailments properly to only be able to treat them properly rather than applying treatment based on prescriptive knowledge on the explodes of some personality cults.

We must be careful while being reformers as acting in the godly manner where we may be creating another uglier monster only in a whim of killing the present one.

Read more: Opinion: Governance crisis in Balochistan: Time to introduce reforms and get rid of conventional practices

Being a highly consumptive nation, Total Quality Management, like all other good management concepts, was an alien term for us requiring, like all other foreign concepts, a textual and conceptual localization to match our functional rhyme and reason.

Thanks to Dr Naveed Yousaf, Associate Director of Assessment in the Agha Khan Examination Board who tailored it in a classy manner to synch it with our indigenous framework of comprehension.

He has created an interesting and interactive TQM model based on 6 basic principles of leadership, customers, employees, suppliers, and quality improvement and performance measures.

The assessment of the yield and output of our governance system chiefly crafted and executed by the civil servants through this TQM model renders us with some most horrific findings and conclusions.

As per the model, it is the leadership which must do both the tasks of defining the quality and maintaining the quality within the governance system

Locating Leadership is a tricky thing in our governance system. There is a duality of job one being the functional leadership which falls within the civil service fraternity and other being the oversight leadership acted by the politicians.

Academically, the former must ensure that the quality of public services is maintained while the later provides the public impulse beat as an additive ingredient to make a productive confluence with the public institute work plan.

But practically it is the ministerial leadership which engulfs the operative and functional leadership while simultaneously, it is the functional leadership under the civil service which deviates from thinking in the public interest and switches over to becoming a ministerial protectorate.

Read more: Governance Crisis in Punjab: Should Punjab’s first man be changed?

As per the model, it is the leadership which must do both the tasks of defining the quality and maintaining the quality within the governance system.

This is where our sorry state of civil structure begins where the public institution is turned maid to the elected representative and quality management is compromised to garnering and perpetuating self-interests and hence the vicious circle widens ever so.

This can be safely embraced that our governance system is devoid of any real and meaningful leadership committed to quality supervision and management at the highest strategic level possible.

Role of public in ensuring good governance

The next pair is the one for whom the entire body of the state stands, it is the customers who in this case happens to be the public.

This would not require any lengthy elucidations after observing all our public miseries in terms of poor health, illiteracy, unemployment, crime and felony and all the ugly transactions of institutional chaos of financial and intellectual corruption.

The public and the government have become poles apart entirely alienated entities. The government-public disconnect has given room to dissipating civic inclusiveness in the realm of public governance system and therefore has erected all the possible barricades towards any material progress and self-realization.

A graduate in political science is made responsible for increasing the agriculture growth and per hectare yield and imagine what would happen?

The governance system has deteriorated to have completely divulged into a one man show where the most important stakeholders of the decision-making process, which is the Public, are prohibited from partaking in this process.

The customer in our case is a silently morbid entity with zero functionality in this model.

The way forward

With the breakdown of these two pivots, the rest of the governance system is rubble good for no reason. The structure has not cracked but has rather fragmented and we are dealing with the debris left over attempting manually to improve its worth and working.

The pillars of employees and the continuous improvement of the quality in the given model when applied to our governance system do not fit in and the conflict resonance becomes so frequent that the equation erupts in some nonsense product.

The over generalized status of the civil service is the same as the one laid down by the British East India Company and therefore it is meant to manage a colony of enslaved hearts and minds and not responsive enough in complementing towards managing a free country posed with the challenges of the 21st century where professional precision and technically scientific knowledge of the fields decide the destiny of any successful sector be it economics, education, industry, aviation, agriculture or any other sector.

Read more: Where do we start – Good governance and performance?

A graduate in political science is made responsible for increasing the agriculture growth and per hectare yield and imagine what would happen?

The governance system in Pakistan is not delivering any good while remaining staunchly adherent to its doctrine of existentialism stemming in the colonial times when the then Sovereign had a colony and so he required the masters and the slaves to run the affairs of the colony.

The genetic material of the colonial evolution is still coding the specie of civil service in the paralyzing ranks and files of the master and the slave.

The governance system is mercilessly at collusive altar of politicians and civil servants, the twin forces of status quo, and are the only ones getting benefited from the governance system which is meant to benefit the 220 million people of the country.

Muhammad Jahangir Kakar is a civil servant and socio-political analyst based in Quetta works for the government of Baluchistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.