Rana Eijaz Ahmad
The PTI government spent its first two years in the accountability of the political dealers, not leaders but without merit and transparency. It has marred the whole process of accountability. Prime Minister Imran Khan commented in his speech at the ceremony of an Institute of Science and Technology in Topi, “I make compromises for achieving my goals, instead of compromising on my goals.” Therefore, sometimes he has to take U-turns. He emphasized on his capability of shifting the circumstances in his favour when going against him. It is real power. Hence, we may say that IK has learned the ABC of politics from the traditional political demagogues. He understands the power of the establishment and its utility in the best interest of the country. There is no country in the world where establishment remains detached from mainstream politics. The nature of the intervention of the establishment varies from state to state.
Pakistan is only seventy-three years old. It will take some time to resolve it’s horizontal (ethnic, linguistic, parochial, etc.) as well as vertical (lacuna between haves and have-nots) cleavages. The national and international intervening variables exploit these cleavages for their purposes. Therefore, we need to resolve these cleavages at the earliest. The PTI government’s performance is tainted due to the inherited meager economy. Corruption is the root cause of the feeble economy of Pakistan. The traditional political demagogues did money laundering at a large scale in Pakistan’s public exchequer. It causes serious damage to the economy of the country.
The PTI government has to perform in a difficult situation instead of blaming all the time to the previous governments. Although the PTI chairman has adopted the policy of the traditional demagogues yet in a unique fashion. Traditional demagogues like Shariefs, Zardaris, Lagharis, Chandios, Shahs, Khosas, Ranas, Bugtis, and Khans, etc., used to be corrupt and their children accumulated the wealth of Pakistan and invested abroad. Contrary to this, the PMIK is not corrupt himself, did not do any money laundering so far. It gives a new taste to the establishment to keep him at the throne to check at least one door of corruption. The impact of corruption for sure travels to the grassroots level. In the IK era, at least in the first year MNAs and MPAs did not loot the money because of empty public purse maybe. After the end of the second year of the PTI, lame opposition is criticizing the performance of the government.
Therefore, it is the call of the day that IK has to make reforms to perform in a befitting manner. He needs reforms at the following levels:
These are the major domains where reforms are indispensable to amend this moth-eaten and grungy system. The million-dollar question is who will bell the cat?
The answer is very simple no one can stop the leader of the parliament to make a system that could rescue all of us. The PMIK may be the best person to be the first drop of rain. He has to perform with reforms. Reforms are an inexpensive but long remembered and effective way to govern in a befitting manner.
Since 1947 to date the judiciary, and executive as political institutions have been working in one way or the other. The existence of legislature has always been very bleak especially after the judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The legislature is the most important political institution to sustain other institutions in the country. Unfortunately, owing to the ignorant member of parliament at the federal and provincial levels made the role of legislature dreary in Pakistan. It desolates the other political institutions and allowed the other non-political institutions like media, military, and mullah to overlap. The overlapping of the non-political elite over the political elite makes the system dysfunctional. Reforms are the call of the day to reinvent Pakistan in a new form.
Reform the Legislature
First of all, legislative reforms are needed for good governance in the country. Only graduates in political science, international relations,law,and economics should be preferred for the legislative branch of the government. The minimum qualification of the member of the parliament must be master’s in political science, international relations, law, or economics along with other social sciences. Specialization of functions is key to have good governance in society. All prospective aspirants for the future governing party are supposed to appear before the university faculties and answer their specialized questions on foreign policy, the economy of the country, and decision making systems. It will be supervised by the senior faculty of the universities. We have to rely upon the faculties of the universities initially to gain the trust of the people. The vice-chancellor of the university will preside over the scrutiny committee (SC). The members of the SC must have achieved the basic laurels in academia. For example, they must be professors, known for the best abilities in their disciplines. All other faculty members must be allowed to challenge the credibility of the SC. We have to start somewhere.
After this screening process, the prospective members must pass an indigenously prepared psychological test. After passing that psychological test, the candidate would be considered as the prospective member of the parliament. Usually, members of the parliament in Pakistan used to say that they want to serve the people and the country. Thus, for serving others, there is no need for any emoluments for policymaking. We all know that all paid members of parliaments do no significant job in lawmaking. Therefore, first, we have to stop using parliament as a money-making machine.
For this, all the public as well as private sector employees supposed to participate in general elections. They are supposed to earn from their livelihood from the profession they have been doing already instead of taking a salary from the public purse. A public purse must be used for the public only. It will also shut the doors of corruption to a certain extent. The chief executive of the country must be from all federating units. Every year one province will govern the country with the most appropriate person. The chief executive will have screened through the usual process earlier mentioned but preferably Ph.D. in social sciences. When there would be as many executives as many provinces with equal executive powers of the executive council (EC), there would be more national integration. We need to evolve a system with our local needs instead of borrowing from others. Such parliament will start legislating according to our native needs. Strict laws making is the call of the day to bridle any unbridle force in society.
Reform the judiciary
Pakistan’s judicial system is based on the reward and punishment system for more than one hundred and fifty years old. Colonial raj was ended in the subcontinent in 1947. Since then we are unable to review our political and apolitical institutions to amend them according to the demands of the twenty-first century. Of course, it needed an honest and sincere leader. Pakistan today has a kind of so he has to prove it through reforms.
Judiciary abstains from adjudicating and it gives way to military courts. It empowers the military and weakens the executive.
In the Judicial system, we need reforms on efficient lines. We need to take guidance from Islam for the judicial system. No contempt of court, as in the State of Medina the sitting ruler could be asked for his assets if that would be more than his income. Therefore, we need to stop the practice of contempt of court. In the colonial era, we were slaves and it was for slaves, therefore, we had to stop this practice. The recruitment of judges strictlyis made through a screening process. It starts with specialized studies in jurisprudence and Sariah, along with western laws. With simulation courts at the college and university levels, the scrutiny committees (SC) comprised of law experts at the law college level must evaluate the students’ capacity as judges as well as advocates. After this specialized system, we may have a better judicial system. IK needs to be proactive in this regard to rescue us from an unjust judicial system. Judges with big salaries are more corrupt than ever before. The undue protocol is deformingall our institutions.
Reform the executive
The civil bureaucracy needs to be reformed for public service instead of the public ruling. It again needs proper legislation. Accountability is the call of the day, in Pakistan, usually, we find political appointments at all top levels in any institution. It deprives the other capable people to perform. There are clear laws for all institutions for working smoothly but need to be implemented in true sense. Few reforms have already been done in the central superior examination and provincial management service examination systems to achieve the specialization of functions. Still, it needs special attention to the implementation of rules and regulations. Police and Pakistan management services need to serve the people instead of ruling upon them. Salute must be ended in all forces in Pakistan to improve the efficiency level among officers instead of increasing their pride at a young age. The officers in their early twenties need to get humility in their behaviours but salute and protocols indulge them in luxuries and they keep enjoying their status instead of serving the people. The colonial legacy was more to rule over slaves. Pakistan has been a sovereign state since 1947 but our civil servants used to perform their duties as the masters used to perform. Therefore, rigorous police and district management reforms are the call of the day.
The military has been the powerful and decisive apolitical institution in Pakistan. it needs special attention in the legislature. The military must have shared power in the main structure of the government but under the chief executives of the country. Parliament needs to ponder upon more development of common man in health and education. It will gradually lead our community towards a development state from a security state. We need to finish the salute system from all our forces. No soldier or officer is supposed to salute any senior or any other official. They can shake hands only. This salute system is undermining our society covertly. We need Islamic values to understand humanity and to be human we need Muslim values more than personality cult.
The media is unbridled in Pakistan. we need strict implementation of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority laws to harness the media. Sue against fake news, false cases, and other human losses must be activated at a large scale to rescue our society from God’s will excuses.
Masjid is another clergy institution that the colonial raj initiated under a purpose. After the 1857 war of independence, the Britishers made the Imams of Masjid to the lowest person in the society, and to date, we had been taking guidance from those ignorant. The state needs to fulfill its duty and take all Masjid under its control and make appointments in the masjids through regular public sector commissions. All Imams and Muazzins must be university graduates with doctoral degrees in sharia. They must be given state orders what to say in Juma prayers and what not to say at any moment. The government needs to pay all salaries and other benefits to all Masjid employees instead of fundraising in Juma prayers or from the charity.
The way forward
In Pakistan, people wish to join such services that have more nuisance value. How much one can harm anyone in his official capacity is considered more powerful. It needs an overhauling of the system with strict reforms at all levels. We all have to be accountable for our actions. No one is above the law. It is only possible when we evolve a system to realize the actual situation. Always take it for granted that it has been difficult to make reforms. I request to the Prime Minister of Pakistan that no institution will stop him in making such reforms. IK has to be proactive and this is the only way out for him to prove himself as the real liberator for the country. The process of national integration through more executives with equal powers and seating every year new executive will achieve the purpose of national integration. Pakistan can be renamed as the United States of Pakistan.
— The writer is Host Director Confucius Institute Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab Lahore. He can be reached at email@example.com