Dr Ikram Azam
THIS article is neither a critique, nor even a book review. It is only an introductory note on the following two publications, which merit the attention of all those who are interested in Pakistan’s governance issues. They are the key to good governance: (i) Governance Deficit: A Case Study Of Pakistan. By: Saeed Ahmad Qureshi. (Sang-E-Meel Publications, Lahore; 2016). (ii)Reforming the government In Pakistan. (Report of the national commission for government reforms). By: Ishrat Hussain, Chairman, National Commission for Government Reforms, Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad. (Vanguard Books, Pakistan; 2012).
The two authors: Both of them are too well known in Pakistan and abroad, to need any detailed formal introduction. Mr. Saeed Ahmad Qureshi had a role model brilliant career in the CSP: Civil Service of Pakistan, which he entered in 1955. His distinguished exemplary career is wide and varied — the ardent envy of many colleagues, and even seniors. With just 16 years of service, he became the Chief Secretary of Sindh in 1973. From 1981 onwards, he was appointed as Federal Secretary of various Ministries, i.e., Agriculture, Education, Commerce and Economic Affairs. In 1991, Mr. Saeed Qureshi rose to the position of the Secretary General, Finance. Soon thereafter, he was elevated to the status of a Federal Minister, as the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission of Pakistan.
After retirement in November, 1992, he was contracted as a Consultant Expert by the World, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, UNESCO and UNFPA. His assignment was incisive Studies on Governance. After that, in recent years, Saeed Qureshi has served as a “Governance Volunteer for the Civil Society”, which included the responsibility of Chairman, Red Crescent. Currently, he is Chairman of the Social Policy and Development Centre, Karachi. Her is the author of several publications, notably: (i)Issues and Challenges in Development. (ii) How to Read Balance Sheets. (iii) Rural Finance for Growth and Poverty Alleviation. (iv) Substance and Semblance in GDP Growth. His latest book: This treatise is the labour of love of the author’s 36 years’ experience generating expertise in Public Administration, including a few top-natich positions like Provincial Chief Secretary, Chairman, Federal Secretary and Minister. On: “The Focus of the Study’, he writes as under: “This book could be considered as extension of the work I did for the multinational institutions. But….. “This treatise attempts to sum up the lessons of history in the areas of governance. It does not target any particular regime….. It recounts the systematic (systemic?) weaknesses that exist in many countries, using Pakistan’s experience to illustrate the picture, shrinking governance space and delivery failures”….. (p. 31). “Faltering stewardship, fragile security environment….. and judicial inadequacies”. (- Outside Back Cover).
His subtle understatements, innuendoes and implicity are quite telling! The fact is that the Civil Services and the Police have been politicized gradually by successive governments. Imran Khan makes a strong point on the system’s corruption and incompetence. The Judiciary violated itself severally with resort to the infamous Doctrine of Necessity to justify Praetorianism: political and military. The book focuses the recurrent issues and persistent problems haunting Pakistan’s history. Equally persistent has been the Pak. People’s Popular and Civil Society’s Plea For Good Governance.
Dr Ishrat Hussain was the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan from December, 1999 to December, 2005. During this tenure he distinguished himself as a pragmatic policy maker. As a professional banker and a trained and experienced economist, his expertise was later availed of by the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, as its Director-cum-Dean, to groom and guide Pakistan’s younger generations in the related field. This is the joint creative contribution of the National Commission For Government Reforms. The Commission comprised 12 members in all, with Dr. Ishrat Hussain as its Chairman, and seven Regular Members, including three Federal Secretaries (Cabinet, Establishment and Finance Divisions) as Ex-Officio Members, and Federal Secretary, Nargis Sethi as the Secretary of the Commission. Incidentally, she was the only representative of her gender, despite numerous outstanding female politicians, economists and bankers in and of Pakistan.
Terms of Reference: There were just two Principal Terms, as reproduced below: 1.“The Commission shall review and make a clear, precise and implementable set of recommendations in respect of’: (a) to (j) subjects and issues covering all the major institutions, fields and aspects of Government, both Federnal for focus, and Provincial, for Interprovincial Coordination and Harmony. The Objective was to totally transform the traditional lack-lustre government to “Good Government”. Subset (f) comprises six specifics. It reads as under: “Public service design for all tiers of government that would include”….. 2. “The review and recommendations of the Commission shall be made remaining within the ambit of the provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. There are numerous such superb reports about all the main-major issues of government, gathering dust in govt archives. The two publications under reference are among the latest and the best. Both the Federal Govt and Provincial Govts. Are urged to heed them seriously for implementation. Additionally, the political, civil and military collective leadership, bureaucracies and their training institutions are bound to benefit by them. They are a must reading for all those who are sincerely interested in Promoting Good governance in Pakistan.
— The writer is co-founder Pakistan Futuristic Institute, Islamabad.
Dr Ikram Azam