Why do our governments fail ? – Pakistan

The fundamental principal of democracy, is to empower the people to manage their quality of life as per their ability and choice. More and more governments of the world are working towards devolution of powers to the local communities, to establish, what’s commonly known as home rule.

Pakistan, on the face of it, has a federation system, but on-ground it is a unitary system of governance, where the provincial units’  powers may be broadened and narrowed, by the central government, though political power may be delegated through devolution to local government by statute, but the central government remains supreme and can abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers.

Local communities are given power of well-being – aimed at providing substantial scope for them to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas. Central government however, focus on maintaining national security and exercising international diplomacy, including the right to sign binding treaties with other countries. 

The central government basically have the power to make laws for the whole country, in contrast with local governments, which covers the issues of local community. Today, local government is considered the most important function of the government, because it directly effects the issues faced by common men. The public is more affected by local government (lowest level of government) and can more easily influence local government than any other level of government. Most of the services provided by government that affects the everyday lives of locals are provided through their local bodies/public institutions, cities, special districts and administrative units. Whether it is drinking water, sewer services, public schools, irrigation water, roads, police, courts, jails or trash disposal, local government is at the core of it.

Even election are simpler for local government, that constitute few voters and their meetings are open and accessible to everyone, citizens can change their city and district government much more readily than the provincial or national government. Even running for office on the local level is easier and much less expensive than even for the state legislature.
The state constitution has tried to give more power to the voters and less power to the politicians and political parties. All city elections are non-partisan and thus candidates for mayor or city council run without party labels. In practice, this means that individual councils can determine what they need to do to ensure “…the peace, order and good governance…” of their municipalities. Essentially each council makes its own decisions based on its collective beliefs, the advice it receives, various financial considerations, legislative powers and so on.

In Pakistan, unitary system is a perfect system for feudalism, to commit corruption from far, while local representatives will say, I’m powerless, all decisions are made in Islamabad or in provincial HQ. Karachi is perfect example of this, nobody owns in, everyone blames each other: local govt, provincial, federal. That’s the reason how govt. get away with not performing their duties, because the locals don’t see them daily. The people in power are far, far away from locals’ accountability. Most of the time, they’re not familiar with the problems of the local community. People of Pakistan (majority of who are naive), have no hope in their local community situation getting better through govt. that’s way they don’t vote. The problem of Pakistan.

Under the current circumstances (ie Capitalist democracy), I would support further addition of provinces in Pakistan, based on its geography, population and governance needs today. Basically, I would support more empowerment to local communities, that’s how the world democracies functions today. So, that local representatives are able to serve their localities better, instead of rulers making decision thousands of kilometers away, from govt empires. This would dispel the culture of government rulers, instead promote government servants, were smartest from every locality comes up to serve their respective locality, understanding its needs and the resource constraints.

I’m sure there are many cities/towns/villages deprived of political rights in Pakistan, but Karachi is an easy example in this context, which is suffering from acute lack of equal rights in government, resulting in imbalance of resources to/from Karachi, where locals does not have power to manage the city and it’s a mess since decades. Idea is to empower the locals for home rule, where they are autonomous to create laws, charge tax, employ resources, manage complete quality of life. You can call this empowerment as: province, local government, or municipality, city-council, or whatever, Karachi remains a prime case for urban secession.

That’s good information, but I doubt it is that of a problem in Karachi. The situation is opposite in Karachi, take eg quota system in civil services, locals has 7.6% quota. I think Karachi is the most ethnically diverse place in the country. By local, I simply meant, local residents. That’s how it’s defined in local government system of the world. It can be anyone living in Karachi. Indeed, lack of political rightis not just problem of Karachi, but all of Pakistan. Karachi having high literacy rate, are more aware to object the feudal system and it’s visibly obvious how powerless Karachi’s elected representatives are.

Everyone empowers people today, Central govt is a thing of the past. Under current system, province still has some powers for their territory, from federal, so is the demand for provincial status for Karachi. But I agree, I’d demand for empowerment, whatever way it is.

Center should run foreign affairs, defense, national interests, while locals should worry about their water, roads, parks, police, healthcare, etc. Living in archaic system, we’ll face archaic problems.

Call it administrative unit.


PIA: What choices we have as a citizen

If we analyze the situation regarding PIA (Pakistan International Airline), our national carrier, here are the options we as the end user of PIA have: 

1. Let 19000+ largely incompetent employees continue to degrade the quality of service, which is at bare minimum, say 3 on a scale of 10 (10 being best). But quality enough to qualify aviation operating standards. 

2. Let 2-3 politicians/businessmen eat the goose that lays the golden eggs and up the service to 4, while still being monopoly, just like PTCL and KE. 

So, it’s confusing choice, makes no difference in our lives. I’d still go with 1, as it would at least feed 19k families. Shouldn’t we address the root cause instead of serving personal gains? – Disband nepotism and quota system from government institutions. Enforce merit! Control monopoly, and instead encourage competition and new players. 

Had the govt being sincere ever, they would have gradually fired all incompetent employees or trained them, instead of trying to sell off the problem, on the direction of IMF (our sworn enemy). If we the Pakistani can make PIA the worlds best airline, where Emirates and Singapore and several other airlines learned from, we can again make it better ourselves, without any foreign buyer or leader. There just have to be a genuine will – address the root cause. End quota system!