Failure of governance.

INDIA, a large, imperfect democracy with its many ethnolinguistic and religious groups, separatist forces, occupied territories, etc, is certainly not easier to govern than Pakistan. Up until the 1980s, Pakistan was ahead of India in most economic indicators. Then, in the early 1990s, India dismantled its licence raj and shot past Pakistan.

Today, its annual foreign direct investment is 40 times more than that of Pakistan. Its central bank reserves are over $580 billion; ours are $8bn. It is now well ahead of Pakistan in most human development indicators.

Bangladesh, with a land mass the size of Sindh, half of which is underwater, is a resource-poor nation under a corrupt, authoritarian government. At the time of its separation, East Pakistan's income per head was half that of West Pakistan. Today, it is ahead of Pakistan in income, exports, education, population control, life expectancy - in fact in almost all economic and social indicators.

Pakistan's per capita income is below every country in South Asia except Nepal, and below even the average of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In human development indicators such as education, infant mortality, etc, we do even worse.

We often have a debate in Pakistan about whether we should have presidential or parliamentary democracy, or even a military dictatorship. Other countries have progressed under all three. We have done badly under all. The problem isn't the type of government we have.

The problem is that governance in Pakistan is just ineffective: in 75 years, our governments haven't been able to deliver economic growth, security of life or property, education or health, or even clean drinking water. The hard truth is that our governments haven't been able to solve any major problems facing Pakistan.

All countries have problems but successful nations resolve them.

All countries have problems but successful nations resolve them. Our governments only put off resolving problems and, in the process, exacerbate them. From population planning to illiteracy to extremism to budget and trade deficits to local autonomy to privatisation to growth to income disparity - our governments have been unable to fix any issue. We can't even resolve the simple issue of moonsighting!

Take, for instance, the circular debt. This arose during Gen Musharraf's regime and was around Rs25bn. It grew to Rs500bn under PPP, Rs1,100bn under the PMLN and Rs2,500bn under the PTI. No government has been able to fix the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT