: Dr. Sarfraz Khawaja
Mr. Books, Super Market, Islamabad, Pakistan
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Public Policy does not have teeth but it bites’ Is that what happens? Pakistan is in a perpetual state of slide and is facing existential crises where the Max Weber’s principles of political economy would seem to be helpless. During the last ten years since 2000, Country is groaning under huge pressure of socio-economic decline. By the end of June 2013, Pakistan is burdened with US$60.87 billion foreign debt and Rupees 8,800 billion of internal debt. Foreign investment has declined to US$ 853 million from US$3.7 billion in 2008. The foreign exchange reserves with the Central Bank amounts to US$ 6.5 billion which is barely enough for 60 days of imports. During the next 12 months, US$ 5 billion had to be given back to IMF as loan repayment. The GDP ratio is 3.7% whereas inflation is 9%. The country is also facing trade deficit of US$ 12.54 billion. The stuck up loans of local banks have amounted to the tune of one trillion rupees. Is this enough of biting? This is only part of economic mismanagement notwithstanding the bad governess, thousands of lives lost in terrorist attacks, deteriorating general crime situation and above all the massive corruption in the public sector organizations, miss-management in government offices and institutions. The extreme shortage of gas, petrol and electricity particularly for industry and ordinary household has demonstrated the negligence and inefficiency of the government. The entire country suffers from electricity load shedding of 16 hours or more in 24 hours depending on geographical proximity of the resident. The province of Punjab is the worst hit and the province of Sindh is the least sufferer. This all happened in the presence and declaration of different public policies of several ministries, sectors and departments including monetary and fiscal policies announced from time to time with regular intervals. What happens if there is no public policy? The solace is far away because the non policy situation is no better option than the declared bad Policy. The awful governance, poverty, unemployment, target killings in Karachi, unrest in Baluchistan and above all USA Drone attacks and so on are the results of no public policies. Pakistan has been a very serious victim of terrorist activities since 2000 but unfortunately no policy stipulation has been enacted as a Policy against Terrorism. Who is responsible for the lack of policy formulation on critical areas such as anti terrorism, security (especially human security plus external security) power shortage, food security and several others? Is it legislature (mostly politicians), executive (bureaucracy) Judiciary (apex Courts) or all powerful institution (armed forces)? All of them are equally responsible because each of privileged and powerful key stake holders preferred to stay in their comfort zones. Was it done intentionally or because of poor understanding about the policies of the country and its implication? It resonates that Pakistan is not short of public policies. That may be the situation if the policy is seen as hybrid declaration of reactive statements by the Chief Executive or Head of the State. Public policy is a sacred trust, a commitment of the stake holders and an instrument of public support for the well being of its people and advancement of the country. If these two things do not combine then the policy existence is farce and misleading. There has been rampant corruption in Pakistan. It is assumed that in most of the cases it is greed factor and in rare situation need factor can be seen. In reality corruption is system based in Pakistan. Hence it needs systemic remedy. But no consistent anti- corruption policy has been developed and even if there are some announcements in bits and pieces against corruption the implementation is haphazard. In most of the developing countries like Pakistan public policy has been used as a vehicle of growth and hardly entailed change. This is also correct in most of the policies related to different ministries and departments. This was because of the legacy of colonial rule in which social institutions and state policy were used as an instrument of repression to perpetuate power. Every situation was perceived as a law and order problem which could disrupt the revenue collection by the state apparatus. The excitement of independence and sovereignty was so over whelming that structure and design of social institutions and public policy were not modified. The changed status of the society, not only in geographical sense, but more so in the context of social, political and economic development, the needed institutions to meet the demands of a new country were neither created nor developed. The needs and expectations of the new polity were not compatible with the existing state institutions. The resulting chaos and mismanagement is the manifestation of conflict between the development process which presupposes to work for societal needs and the state policy which is dominated to protect the interest of elite groups. The state institutions whether dealing with the governance of the masses or the dispensation of justice, the operations of finances or the functions of civic amenities worked primarily through force, coercion, nepotism or any other such means. The long years of master subject relationship with little sharing of authority with people has resulted in a psyche which has become intolerant, short tempered and confrontationist. These tendencies run through in all the facets from politics to family life. The roles of social institutions were relegated to authoritarian culture fully supported by the state power. As a result this institutional structure did not take cognizance of the demands of the independence which brought socio political awakening in the people. This situation of a strange anomaly was created which needs corrective actions through the democratization of social institutions. Do the existing social institutions and public policy match the needs of changing realities of our society? The answer is an embarrassing No. The public policy and social institutions working coherently provide structure to the society to make the life of its people organized, manageable and generally satisfied. Hence the rules of business of these institutions have to be framed and practiced in a judicious way to accommodate the needs, requirements and aspirations of the people who are being governed by these institutions. The conflict arose because of the use of discretionary authority without judicious interpretation. The results have been: i) Failure of the institutions in the achievement of its objectives, ii) Reaction by the polity rendered the institutions ineffective and redundant. It is imminent that planners, managers, administrators and implementers need to be qualified and trained in public policy formulation, implementation and analysis. It is obvious that rules of business for managing the human resources have to be different than plastic commodities. This leads to the domain of human relations, communication, motivation and discipline. There are several options to resolve conflict situations which will lead to consensus building on institutional basis. But this change needs more than rhetoric. It needs a change of attitude. Human attitudes and behaviors do not change easily, since they are firmly rooted in their psyche. If we intend to change the behavior of our management structures we will have to scientifically organize and affect a meaningful change in our human resource departments who are responsible for formulation, implementation and analysis of public policy and social institutions. The early draft of this book was read by Dr. Ghais ul Haq, Masood Muzaffar and Asad Wahidi. Masood examined and analyzed the manuscript thoroughly despite his overseas travel commitments. It helped to improve the draft and challenged some assumptions. Asad also examined the draft as a keen analyst and provided useful interventions some of which have been included. I am appreciative of their time, effort and help. I am grateful to Dr. Zahid Hussain for the final editing of this book. Having said all that, I would appreciate candid comments from readers on this modest though challenging effort. My special thanks are due to Zulfiqar Ali Joya and Muhammad Usman Gujjar for the great pains they took in composing, formatting and presenting this book. However, I am solely responsible for any errors or omissions in this book.