Governance and Civil Service Reform in Pakistan


The horrendous and unforgivable attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 has not only pricked national conscience but also exposed governance and security vulnerabilities of the Pakistani State and its citizens. The incident appears to have roused a sense of urgency among the civil and military leadership, resulting in the National Action Plan to combat, dismantle and disrupt terrorism and its network in the country. Despite a promising awakening, deep-rooted governance failures, which have led to deterioration in services and writ, demand serious review and reform of key institutions of governance. It needs to be underscored that the edifice of democracy, representative government and good governance is built on the twin pillars of sustainable democratized political parties and modern, efficient, professionally competent and depersonalized bureaucracy. The purpose of this Policy Brief is to provide a framework for initiating discussion on the concept of governance and issues of civil service reform in Pakistan in general and Punjab in particular. The paper attempts to offer context of why governance and civil service reform have become matters of crucial significance for Pakistani state. It propounds that at the political and elite institutional level governance and reform issues are not getting the attention they deserve; therefore, a bottom’s up approach may be pursued to induce behavioral and structural change. It argues that following the implementation of the 18th Amendment, provincial and local governments should be the pivot for improving governance and pushing civil service reform.

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