• Friday, December 14, 2018

Fault in the system

Discussion in 'Pakistani Siasat' started by Solomon2, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Solomon2

    Solomon2 BANNED

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    Fault in the system

    Moeed Yusuf February 27, 2018
    [​IMG]
    The writer is a foreign policy expert based in Washington, D.C.


    A FEW years back, I invited an American law-enforcement expert to visit Pakistan. The gentleman had developed police units in the Balkans and the Caribbean. Based on demand from Pakistani police officers, I requested him to study the institution and identify global best practices that could benefit them.

    After a couple of visits and numerous consultations with the police, I asked for his impressions. He was clearly perplexed. He hadn’t seen another country where such human capacity existed and yet, collective institutional outputs often tended to be worse than countries that lacked basic infrastructure and capacities (he had most experience with such environments).

    His take on Pakistan has never left me. Perhaps because it epitomises the tragedy of our public sector. Individuals who are good enough to excel on their own — and often do when they work in the private sector or in foreign countries — are unable to turn the system around. Rather, the system stymies their growth. There is voluminous literature on the reasons for this failure. But it tends to focus disproportionately on resource constraints, technical deficiencies, and the need for overall structural reforms. This doesn’t explain why many developing country institutions plagued by the same problems are able to perform better.

    Looking at comparable cases (and Western systems), I have found three traits that are accentuated in Pakistan’s case. At one level, they are well known. Yet, almost never do you find these being identified as constraints as significant in holding the system back as resource-related and technical issues.

    There is no room to think big.

    First, the entire system is geared towards and consumed by firefighting. Bureaucracies, civil and military, jump from managing one crisis to the next. They even tend to judge themselves by their crisis management performance. Ask them and they’ll be the first ones to confirm they have zero time and little reward for strategic thinking.

    Such an environment leaves little room to think and act big. Most reform-oriented people within the system will tell you that out-of-the-box approaches make one a threat to the prevalent status quo lobbies. Job security and progression benefits from going with the flow and delivering to the liking of the political masters — themselves consumed by firefighting and short-term interests — rather than from pushing the envelope. Hardly surprising then that few people in the system want to take it upon themselves to course correct.

    Third, firefighters boxed in by status quo preferences can hardly be expected to evolve. The Pakistani bureaucracy has lost the ability to generate policy solutions in sync with the needs of a changing society and world. Policymaking in the developed world has evolved into a science of sorts that requires an ability to parse out global and domestic trends, and long-term strategic planning. While self-driven individuals offer exceptions, the Pakistani system offers no real incentives for knowledge acquisition by civil and military bureaucrats.

    One is shocked at just how much policymaking is based on intuition, partial information, or even conspiracy theories taken as facts. Or you find the public sector contracting out its policymaking functions. Even some basic policy visions for things like poverty alleviation, domestic commerce, etc. are prepared in this fashion.

    Finally, the civil-military divide colours everything. The civil bureaucracy feels overpowered by the politicians on the one hand and an overbearing military on the other. The military contends that civilians use them as scapegoats for their failures. When I ask how this disconnect is to be resolved, one hears diatribes against the other that are more suited for enemies at war than for cogs of the same wheel.

    My American colleague saw a microcosm of this in the Pakistani police. In many meetings, highly proficient officers talked about their helplessness to change things. There was a reflexive tendency to blame other parts of the system. When asked why they didn’t implement many of the reforms that were totally in their control, it quickly became obvious they had little incentive to do so. In fact, they readily acknowledged that the control-orientation of their institution — preferred also by their political masters who use the police as a political tool — remained a safer career bet than seeking to transform the police to become a truly service-oriented entity.

    A turnaround requires dedicated leadership willing to allow institutions the freedom to make hard, reform-oriented decisions. The civilian and military leadership would have to rise above an us-versus-them mindset and deliver collectively. The system also needs policymaking reform. Pakistan needs policy planning units within ministries that are populated by accomplished policy experts borrowed from the private sector/academia (à la the US model).

    None of this is going to be easy or quick. But more of the same attitude will only deepen the rot and bring us even closer to a total institutional breakdown. It is no longer an option.

    The writer is a foreign policy expert based in Washington, D.C.

    Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018
     
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  2. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    Fault in the system? Absolutely not!

    A system always delivers the results it is perfectly designed to achieve.
     
  3. BHarwana

    BHarwana ELITE MEMBER

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    No system never delivers the results it is designed to achieve because above 2 results are wrong delivered by the system.
     
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  4. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    System works for those who devise the system.

    It always work.
     
  5. somebozo

    somebozo ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistani system is deliberately designed to look good on paper but be ineffective in practice so corruption can made through loop holes..and it is serving the purpose very well..!
     
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  6. volatile

    volatile SENIOR MEMBER

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    what result this system delivers please enlighten us
     
  7. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    Keeping the elite in power since 1857
     
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  8. Solomon2

    Solomon2 BANNED

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    Wow. I fully expected most Pakistanis here to pick the author apart as "anti-Pakistani" but instead you are all in agreement - except perhaps @BHarwana and his sarcasm.

    Nevertheless, I see a fundamental flaw in the author's prescription. Who else sees it?
     
  9. Indus Pakistan

    Indus Pakistan PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    The author assumes that the Pakistani elite want to fix the system. The reality is the "flaw" is by design and the system is working very well in delivering pelf to the unaccountable elite.

    Change will only come when the elite see the "flaw" as a flaw and not as a system that actually advances their interests. Since 1947 the system has been dso designed to deliver power, money, prestige to the elite in bucketloads. And deliver religion, piety by the truckloads to the masses.

    Until the day the masses can escape religious intoxication, tribal, biradheri,ethnic cleavages the 'fault' will stay in place by intent.
     
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  10. volatile

    volatile SENIOR MEMBER

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    Bingo
     
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  11. Solomon2

    Solomon2 BANNED

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    No, that's not it; the author realizes the power elite, while dissatisfied with results, don't want to fix the system: When asked why they didn’t implement many of the reforms that were totally in their control, it quickly became obvious they had little incentive to do so.

    So close, yet so far...

    A turnaround requires dedicated leadership willing to allow institutions the freedom to make hard, reform-oriented decisions. The civilian and military leadership would have to rise above an us-versus-them mindset and deliver collectively. The system also needs policymaking reform. Pakistan needs policy planning units within ministries -
     
  12. somebozo

    somebozo ELITE MEMBER

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    We are all by product of culture. Good culture creates good nation.
    We have failed to establish a culture of high values.
    Rather our culture is nepotism, deceit, dishonest, lying..etc.
     
  13. Clutch

    Clutch SENIOR MEMBER

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    The real issue is that the police reforms have not occured in Pakistan since colonial times. During the British rule the police main function was to prevent rebellion and safeguard the ruling elites.... with little incentive to solve crime and serve the public... they are doing the same till today.

    There needs to be fundamental policing reforms and merit based system and not based on political allegiance.

    The author is a known PPP supporter hence he avoids the word corruption and likes to suck off the tits of BB and her progeny.

    We are seeing some of these reforms in the KPK province under the PTI and the depoliticizing of the police,introducing accountability and transparency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  14. Retired Troll

    Retired Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    We are creating a homogenous culture but it takes time.