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Why Reforms in Governament

  • Date Submitted: 10/17/2011 09:53 AM
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GOVERNANCE REFORMS IN PAKISTAN
ISHRAT HUSAIN

GOVERNANCE, INSTITUTIONS AND DEVELOPMENT

The link between good governance and economic and social development has been well established in the last few decades. Although it is hard to have a precise definition of governance there is a wide consensus that good governance must lead to broad-based inclusive economic growth and social development. It must enable the state, the civil society and the private sector to enhance the well being of a large segment of the population. If this definition is accepted then economic growth in Pakistan is likely to become unsustainable if a widespread perception persists that the majority of the population has not been gaining from recent growth.   This perception, whether right or wrong, erodes political support for continuation of present economic policies and reforms.

Why does this perception persist?   The main reason is that the overall governance structure through which economics policies are intermediated and translated into economic and social benefits for the vast majority has become corroded and dysfunctional.   The governance structure of any country consists of Judiciary, Executive and Legislature.   If the access to the institutions of governance for common citizens is difficult, time consuming and costly the benefits from growth get distributed unevenly as only those who enjoy preferential access to these institutions are the gainers. How far is this true can be gauged by reference to the current state of Governance prevailing in the region but particularly applicable in Pakistan? The 1999 and 2005 reports on Human Development in South Asia aptly summarize the situation in the following two extracts:

      ‚ÄúSouth Asia presents a fascinating combination of many contradictions.   It has governments that are high on governing and low on serving; it has parliaments that are elected by the poor but aid the rich; and society that asserts the rights of some but...

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