Why is Pakistan perceived as an “ungovernable” state? Can anything be done to get it back on the track from where it has derailed? For forty years until 1990, Pakistan was among the top ten performing developing countries on economic and social indicators. From 1990-2015, however, Pakistan become a laggard both economically as well as in social development in the region. What caused this slowdown?
This talk debunks some of the well-entrenched and popularly held myths about the Pakistani economy, ruling out factors such as security and terrorism, foreign assistance, military rule, the global economic conditions, all of which may have played some role but were not the main determinant of the poor performance. Instead, Dr. Husain suggests that is the weakening of civilian institutions of governance that caused Pakistan to lag behind.
What can be done to redress this situation? The talk proposes reform of some of the key institutions that can help in moving towards the goal of restoring the efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness of governance. Getting these institutions back on the same pathway – merit, integrity, dedicated service and problem solving – that was their main asset historically will ensure the future and stability of democratic governance.
Dr. Ishrat Husain was until recently Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. He is Professor Emeritus and former Dean and Director of Institute of Business Administration, Karachi and Chairman, Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance (CEIF). During his term at IBA he was actively engaged in the transformation of the Institute to one of the ranking global business schools. He served as the Chairman, National Commission for Government Reforms from 2006 to 2008, producing a report on governance reforms in Pakistan. He was appointed the Governor of Pakistan’s Central Bank in 1999 and implemented a major program of restructuring of the Central Bank and reforms of the banking sector.
As a member of the economic management team of the Government, he played a key role in the impressive economic turnaround of Pakistan. In recognition of his meritorious services he was conferred the prestigious award of “Hilal-e-Imtiaz” by the President of Pakistan in 2003. Dr. Husain had a distinguished career at the World Bank for over two decades 1979-1999. He has authored 18 books and monographs and contributed more than three dozen articles in refereed journals and 27 chapters in books.