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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Governing The Ungovernable

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About the author

The book “Governing the Ungovernable” is written by Dr. Ishrat Hussain. Ishrat Hussain is a profound economist, and writer. Moreover, he remained the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan  (SBP), advisor to the ex-prime minister  Imran Khan on institutional reforms, and worked with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) in the Middle East.

The Book

Dr. Ishrat Hussain has suggested reforms in institutions to govern the democratic governance of Pakistan. He writes that the fate of any nation is, in the hands of institutions. If institutions are strong then the government will be stable, if government is stable then the nation will be successful in any platform. He gives the reference to the book “Why Nations Fail ” that the main cause of the failure of the nation written in that book is the weakness of institutions. If institutions are weak then the nation will fail.

He writes that during the 20 years after independence, Pakistan was ahead of India, Turkey, China, Vietnam, and Malaysia in terms of economic growth and export. During these years Pakistan experienced  6 percent economic growth. The main reason for this stable economic growth was political stability, the effectiveness of the institutions, and the continuity of policies. Unfortunately, today Pakistan lacks these three factors that play a vital role in the economic growth of any country.

Sadly, he writes that the Election Commission of Pakistan, the judiciary, the Bureaucracy, the police, and so on have been politicized. Bureaucracy is working for the interests of politicians rather than for the public. The police Is subjugated to politicians and feudal lords rather than to providing security and justice to the masses. Access to justice for the common man has become difficult and myth.

Moreover, he writes that political instability has halted the economic growth of Pakistan. It has demotivated Foreign Direct Investment FDI in Pakistan. Sadly, the perpetual political instability has created a vacuum which is always filled by the Military.

In the chapter on relations with countries, Ishrat suggests that Pakistan must play a neutral role between China and America. Pakistan is not in a condition to join any block.

To make democracy strong and stable he writes that media and civil society should play their role. They must be vigilant to look for everyone. Media can play important role in making democracy more stable and transparent.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has experienced severe terrorism incidents after it’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.  He writes that Extremism and terrorism increased after the Zia’s regime. Pakistan has lost more than seventy thousand people and loss of billions of dollars in the war against terrorism.

In the last but not the least, Dr. Ishrat Hussain provides a way for Pakistan to overcome all challenges. The local government system should be empowered because the common man will be empowered with the empowerment of the Local government. Election Commission should bring reforms, like the eligibility of the candidate, the candidate must be securitized before contesting the election, and intra-party elections should be suggested to all parties. Bureaucracy should be empowered and it  must work for the betterment of society.

However, the police, the judiciary, and the Election Commission, all need reforms from the root. Certainly, if institutions become strong, independent, and stable then the nation will become progressive and prosperous.

Final note

The book is worth reading. To understand Pakistan’s governance system, the reading of this book should be done by everyone. The book provides ways for institutional reforms. The reading of this book flourishes the ideas of readers and gives them plans for making Pakistan strong and stable.

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Jinsar Ali is a student of International Relations at NUML, Islamabad.

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