Long-term Commitment and Genuine Reforms a Must:
‘Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future’
Preventing Pakistan from further deterioration will require a long-term commitment from the Pakistan government and the United States and other international stakeholders to promote genuine reform, says a report by the Asia Society Pakistan 2020 Study Group.
The report says: “This commitment must be enshrined in a comprehensive package of policies aimed at promoting sustainable constitutional democracy, credible and effective rule of law and law-enforcement, a significant expansion and improvement of the education and health sectors”.
Some of the major recommendations of the report, titled ‘Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future’, authored by Hassan Abbas, a fellow at Asia Society and the chairman of Quaid-i-Azam seat at Columbia University, are:
The process of democratisation must continue, as there is no other way to expand civilian control over all institutions of the state. Pakistan has been ruled by generals for over half its history — another military takeover would set the country back yet again.
Pakistan’s military expenditures should be made more transparent, and there should be an increased civilian role in defence spending and security policy decisions.
Independence of the judiciary — a major Pakistani achievement in recent years — needs to be further strengthened through respect for the separation of powers enshrined in the constitution and by providing financial autonomy to the country’s judicial institutions.
To fix the education system, spending on schools needs to rise from less than 1.5 per cent to at least 4 per cent of gross domestic product — so girls don’t drop out, boys don’t end up in radical seminaries, and Pakistan overall can take part in Asia’s boom.
Along with proper upkeep of existing hydropower dams, more dams are needed to meet Pakistan’s current and future energy requirements.
Without a drastic overhaul of law enforcement, Pakistan’s internal security situation could worsen further. Major financial investment is needed — for example, half of US funding allocated for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency support could be directed towards enhancing the forensic capabilities of law enforcement and supporting scientific investigations.
While Pakistan has a reputation as a source of instability in South Asia, it also holds the key to peace in the future. Declaring Pakistan a failed or failing state resolves little. By helping Pakistan remedy its dysfunctions, its friends and allies can help ensure better, the report said.