Collective default


Iftikhar Ahmad
A persistent policy in Pakistan is the ineffective implementation of plans and policies. We need to mend our ways at all levels or polity and politics by giving up an attitude of contempt and disrespect for the rule of law. There is a need to correct wrongs in all spheres of life and get out of dilemmas which are the cause of multiple crises that Pakistan confronts today. An enabling culture is required to ensure the dispensation of social justice. The self-serving and self-seeking politicians and government functionaries cannot be expected to serve the cause of national security and the welfare of people. There is collective default that negatively impacts our society, economy, and national image.
The system of accountability has to guide the processes of authority and responsibility. If there is disconnect in the relationship of these three elements of effective management we will never ever be close to achieving good governance and rule of law. There should be a system of ‘recall’ so that those who are supposed to serve the people do not become exploitative masters. The elected representatives of the people are supposed to be friends of the people. By creating an environment for effective policy formulation and implementation, and by removing procedural and technical difficulties. The effective support for this purpose comes from trained civil servants or bureaucracy. Tensions between political bosses and the bureaucracy means a waste of precious national resources. Merit must be the base of all decisions even if it involves all means of corruption being blocked and closed. Making the parliament and other institutions dysfunctional is a sort of corruption and dishonesty that cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. Disconnect between the government and the people is because of wrong priorities as the focus drifts away from the needs of the people. Time wasted in useless debates and accusations and unnecessary criticism takes us away from real issues. Those claiming to be champions of democracy must demonstrate democratic behaviour. They need to respect the constitution and all state institutions. The recent advice of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to have firm belief in the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court is timely. “Judiciary is like an elder, don’t abuse your elder,” said the Chief Justice Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.
Pakistan needs honest, able, capable and sincere public representatives to lead the people and establish a true democratic order. Right thinking Citizens are concerned about worrisome issues reflecting on security and governance and irresponsible elements and groups with extreme behaviours and use of violence as their approach to terrifying and terrorism as a weapon. Sociology of such extreme groups must be studied to save the country of existential threats.
No religion supports violence and extremism. If you find clergy that violates true religious norms, they are not the true believers. Pakistan needs an enabling culture that can help promote welfare of the people and bring about all-out reforms for self-reliance and the way forward. We need a new political culture to replace the corrupt ‘power elite’ who have failed to provide even basic amenities to the people. There is a disconnect between the elite and the masses. Our political Parties are to blame for the backwardness of our society. Such a state of affairs in the 21st century is unthinkable. Pakistan needs fundamental structural reforms to ensure equity and social justice.
The fundamental principle is that administrative discretion can only be exercised within the framework of laws provided by the legislature and under the principle set forth by the Supreme Court. No one is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity. All the officers of the government, from the highest to the lowest, are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it. But the responsibility can only be performed where there is provision for definite and adequate judicial review of administrative action.