Thursday June 01, 2023

Abdicating state powers creates chaos

March 26, 2023

LAHORE: Successive governments in Pakistan have regularly abdicated their powers that have created numerous security and social issues in the country. It has diluted its education, health and security responsibilities to the delight of the private sector looters.

About 25 years back, law and order and security of all citizens was the responsibility of the state. Now most of the security apparatus is used for the security of the ruling elite, high officials and dignitaries.

Industrialists and businesspersons have hired private security guards, even the shopkeepers hire private security guards. Businesspersons move around with their cars surrounded by vehicles carrying security personnel.

Politicians sitting in the opposition move with their own security guards. These guards often take law in their hands to terrify the general public. The government security apparatus sometimes is no match with the private security, its equipment and efficiency in case of any conflict.

About 30 years back, government schools were in the forefront when high school results were announced. Most of the toppers belonged to the government schools.

Now most of the state run schools show poor results. Private sector schools have overtaken them in quality and service.

In fact running schools and educational institutions has become a lucrative business. The education system stands divided in dysfunctional government schools, where mostly the poorest of the poor take admission.

The private school system is for well-to-do families and there are elite schools for the rich. In another decade, we will find that the entire government machinery would comprise of persons educated from private institutions.

The poor would only be hired for menial jobs. This transformation has already taken place in the private sector. This would not have happened had the government maintained the standard of teaching in government schools through periodic refresher courses of teachers and strict accountability on poor results.

Health has never been the priority of any government. Still we see that most of the renowned specialist doctors prefer to start their careers from government’s tertiary hospitals. They get the tag of assistant, associate or full professor which they display at their private clinics.

They perform eight hours duty at government hospitals but hardly examine a few patients as this job is assigned to the junior doctors. At their private clinics, they attend to all the patients who visit their clinic in exchange for a hefty consultation and surgery fee.

The state health facilities are now visited only by the poor as they have no recourse. The rich and well-to-do have been lured by private sector hospitals as the same specialist doctors who appear lethargic at government facilities, exhibit their expertise and good manners at private clinics.

Charges in private health facilities are very high. In all reputable hospitals even the room charges match the room rent of five star hotels.

The government lost its writ when it allowed government doctors to work in their private clinics. This facility is not available to other government servants.

Those who deviate from public duty should be treated as criminals.

The actual solution of our problems is to get rid of the criminal elements that operate freely in streets, hospitals and educational institutions without any fear.

Bad governance is the root cause of all ills in Pakistan. When the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) possesses evidence of tax evasion of over a million individuals and fails to take action this is bad governance.

When an influential person flouts the law by moving around without fear with weapon flashing thugs, this is bad governance. When a state exists within a state and thugs are more powerful than the law, one cannot expect the economy to perform to its actual potential.