NationalVOLUME 19 ISSUE # 7

Governance and stability issues

The current dynamics in Pakistan reflect a myriad of profound social changes with significant implications for the nation’s stability and functionality. Scholars stress the vital role of a state’s adaptability to these shifts, emphasizing that neglecting them may lead to turmoil, conflict, and instability. The existing responsiveness of Pakistan to these social transformations underscores the crucial importance of the state’s involvement in managing and addressing these shifts effectively.

According to scholars, a state, akin to an institution, can endure and thrive only by adeptly responding to evolving social dynamics within its society. The state should not instigate these changes, but when it falls short in managing them, it can foster anxiety, discord, and instability. Pakistan’s current response to social changes serves as a poignant illustration of the indispensable need for the state to adapt and oversee the evolving landscape.

Presently, Pakistan faces a near breakdown of its constitutional order, marked by widespread panic and instability. This situation is attributed to the inadequate response of key state institutions, including the federal and provincial executive branches, to substantial social changes over the past decade. The information revolution and globalization, coupled with extensive access to information, particularly through social media, have heightened awareness among Pakistanis.

As a result, any misuse of power or corruption by government institutions is quickly exposed, leading to increased awareness about rights and a growing inclination towards individualism. However, the ruling coalition, comprising thirteen political parties, remains entrenched in outdated practices, hindering the state from meeting the needs and aspirations of the majority, especially the youth.

When political entities become disconnected from prevailing social trends, it breeds consternation, panic, and conflicts. Pakistan is currently witnessing a scenario where political actors lack a meaningful connection to evolving social trends, resulting in a lack of understanding of unfolding changes, associated needs, and concerns.

In contemporary Pakistan, substantial social changes have given rise to profound societal currents. A dominant trend is the prevalent confusion and lack of direction among most Pakistanis regarding their living conditions, development, and the clash of conservative and liberal values. Additionally, segments of the population embrace anarchism or staunch ultranationalism, contributing to a pervasive sense of aimlessness. The state could play a pivotal role in mitigating this confusion by providing a sense of purpose and facilitating avenues for improvement. However, the current disinterest of the state exacerbates the confusion and poses numerous challenges.

Contemporary Pakistan grapples with a significant social shift: an incessantly growing population, propelling it to become the world’s fifth most populous country. This demographic surge carries profound implications for the nation’s politics and its political institutions. Firstly, the mounting population imposes an overwhelming burden on the state and its governance structures. Historically, Pakistan has struggled with an insufficient and ineffective state apparatus, evident in its inability to adequately address societal needs. Moreover, state policies have contributed to unbridled and sustained population growth, and the state cannot disassociate itself from responsibility for this rapid increase. Presently, it seems detached and powerless in managing population control.

A closer examination of population growth and poor governance reveals their interconnected nature. Ineffective policymaking and irrelevant decisions, emblematic of bad governance, have fueled rapid population growth. Conversely, unchecked population growth exacerbates the challenges of bad governance. Factors such as lack of education, poverty, a conservative society, and a widespread sense of purposelessness contribute to the surging population in Pakistan, with bad governance playing a significant role in enabling these factors to persist.

Radicalization and intolerance loom large in contemporary Pakistan, deeply rooted in poor governance across all levels of state action. Currently, these issues have reached alarming levels, giving rise to extremist social attitudes, occasionally manifesting as terrorism, often justified in the name of religion, sect, or ethnicity. Groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan pose a threat to the state’s existence. While the state has employed a multifaceted approach to combat terrorism, it has primarily relied on military offensives, resulting in significant societal damage and displacing millions from their livelihoods.

Although the state may have achieved some success in combating terrorism, identifying and eliminating its root causes remains a significant challenge. Furthermore, intolerance and terrorism continue to impact all aspects of society, including political institutions and culture. Intolerance among key political parties hampers the growth of democracy.

Consumerism emerges as another notable social trend in contemporary Pakistani society, propelled by the adoption of postmodernist values. While consumerism has boosted public spending, it has strained the financial stability of the state, with substantial foreign exchange reserves used for importing consumer goods.

If the government fails to respond to these social changes in Pakistan, it is crucial for other state institutions, including the military and particularly the judiciary, to intervene and address the situation actively. Failure to do so will only worsen the deteriorating conditions and amplify the problems faced by the common Pakistani citizen.

In conclusion, the ongoing social changes in Pakistan present substantial challenges to the state’s governance and stability. Rapid population growth, rooted in historical governance failures, burdens the state’s resources and structures. Radicalization and intolerance, products of persistent bad governance, have infiltrated society, leading to extremism and terrorism. Additionally, the surge in consumerism strains the financial stability of the state. It is imperative for the government and other state institutions to respond actively and effectively to these social changes, as failure to do so will further compound the challenges faced by the common Pakistani citizen and impede the nation’s progress.