It is not hard to guess where Pakistan stands in the World Justice Project’s latest rankings when it comes to the rule of law as well as the absence of corruption and security. At 105, Pakistan is among the worst ranked in the world a good 45 or so spots below Nepal, Sri Lanka and India. To be found at the bottom of the pile is a matter of national shame but not many people in the political hierarchy, the bureaucracy or administration are losing any sleep over it. We seem to be resigned to our fate and this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of our times. There is a deep connection between the rule of law and the level of corruption and resolving some of the country’s biggest ills.
The rule of law is of paramount importance since it guarantees rights and is a solid enabler of good governance and sustainable development. If Pakistan is to get the better of endemic corruption and fight poverty, injustice and even disease it will have to adopt as stringently as possible the rule of law. Even if it means taking help from international organisations that provide the tools and strategies needed to strengthen the rule of law. For instance, the UNDP’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development offers a road map for promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies. The goal itself will be self-enriching as it will help foster communities of equity, opportunity, and peace that underpin development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights.
An effective governance system is one that is grounded in respect for human rights and the rule of law. It is aimed at addressing historical inequalities and patterns of discrimination that spark unrest and fuel discontent. We can choose our path and set things right if we want to. But any such turnaround will take a supreme effort indeed.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2018.