South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Dr Muhammad Khan
The term ‘Bad Governance’ denotes government’s inability to manage public affairs and public resources. Indeed, it is utter ‘failure of a government to meet the basic needs of its society, while making the best use of all resources at its disposal. The salient features of bad governance are; corruption, nepotism, crimes, lack of transparency, abuse of human rights, lack of responsiveness, lack of accountability, unrest in the society and no freedom of expression.
Besides, there is a poorly managed domestic and external affair of the state by ruling class. The element of bad governance is considered the root causes of all evil and suffering within a country and its social sector. Being reverse to good governance, it results into lack of socio-economic development, create distrust between government and the masses, and thus transpire into a ruling class, a minority elite club, ruling the majority through exploitative politics.
A critical evaluation of governance system in the contemporary Pakistan exactly fits into the above mention definition of bad governance. While there is unrest in the entire country, the elite class of the rulers are formulating strategies as how to prolong their rule by strengthening grip over the power, may be this is at the cost of the future of Pakistan. On the 20th day of the unrest caused in twin cities (Islamabad-Rawalpindi) by a religious group through a sit-in at the junction (Faizabad), the Government mishandled it through a failed attempt of its dispersal.
This unprofessional and immature handling of the Dharna congregation led to an outburst of protests and violence all over the country, resulting into human losses, loss of public property and above all blockade of people’s movement through roads and railways. The Dawn’s editorial declared this entire handling as; “Mishandled and underestimated by the federal government from the outset, the three-week-old protest on the outskirts of Islamabad exploded yesterday (25 November, 2017) into a dangerous and destabilising national crisis. Quite simply, the PML-N has handled every aspect of the protest; from its inception through the journey from Lahore to Islamabad to its disruptive tactics at the protest site, disastrously.”
One can imagine the seriousness or else conspiring mind-set of the Government to handle this congregation from three aspects. One, why the Government allowed them to make a well organised and pronounced move from Lahore to Islamabad and a sit-in at a critical junction in capital. Two, why did Government wait for the court’s order to disperse them, whereas it could have been done as a routine administrative or else a law and order matter. Three, the Interior Ministry mishandled the dispersal process through a highly unprofessional manner where 2000 protestors could not be dispersed by over 9000 men of Police, FC and Rangers and finally asking for the Army assistance.
Analysts’ question, was this all done through a well-planned Government strategy to pitch Army against a highly charged religious mob, now spread over the entire country. Then, the ruling elites including Chief Executive (the Prime Minister of Pakistan) had gathered in Lahore to sort out party matters, rather discharging his primary responsibility of handling state affairs, once the entire country was burning. He along with cabinet is trying please his disqualified political master at the cost of state. Getting dictate from such a ineligible man is dishonesty with the Oath of Chief Executive of Pakistan. This speaks seriousness of political elites towards state and society of Pakistan. Is this the democracy and the people’s government? This is a question for the people of Pakistan too, who vote them for this status to lead the country.
The most important question is; why the Government made changes about Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (finality of the prophethood) in the declaration form of the public office holders in its Election Bill-2017, which has now been rectified under pressure. The reason of change, the beneficiary and above all, the person who did it should be exposed and punished as per law of land. This entire episode; from its inception (change in declaration) to the current level of nationwide religious protests cannot seen as an isolated event. It is all well planned and part of a conspiracy by ruling elites, who either did it under some external pressure or in a bid to defy the Supreme Court’s verdict which is taking an ugly form through proceedings at NAB under various criminal cases.
The nation and the security apparatus of Pakistan has combated and indeed, defeated the militancy over past few years. This entire exercise of fighting the militancy cost the nation an unprecedented amount of human losses, social fragmentation and huge economic sufferance. From religious extremism and terrorism to ethnic and political rivalries, the militancy in Pakistan had many faces and forms, all meant to internally destabilise the state?
An internally destabilised state; divided into religious groupings, sub-nationalism, ethnic grouping and political rivalries and above all mishandling them will present a very vulnerable target to its rivals, thus endangering the security of the nuclear Pakistan. This all is being done because of the bad governance in Pakistan. Internal bad governance will provide the rival powers to exploit and weaken the state of Pakistan externally. At this critical juncture, Pakistan cannot afford such a mishandling of minor issues which has the potentials to threat the very existence of the state. The ruling elites must rise above the party politics and correct its perception about the contemporary developments taking place at; national, regional and international level, before it is too late.

Updated On: 27.11.2017