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 Background


 Viable institutions are the basis for the continual reproduction of good governance values and practice. However, in post-colonial states even the most core governmental institutional functions tend to be highly deficient, including police, justice, tax collection, and land registration on one hand, and policy making, execution, monitoring and evaluation on the other. Transactions such as taxes, fees, fines, and customs collections, contracting procurement, personnel actions, and the control of all of the above are neuralgic areas for institutional entropy. The origins of these and many governance challenges that confront contemporary post-colonial countries can be traced to the colonial powers intrusion into the subsequent withdrawal from these regions during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

 The institutional restructuring of the post-colonial state of Pakistan requires adequate information and analysis as well as policy formulation that factors into its equations the history of the cultural, political, economic, and social factors that determine policy outcomes. A feedback apparatus that conveys policy implementation realities to those who make policies is badly needed. All restructuring process must be spear headed by efforts directed at key change agents, to capacitate their knowledge base, enrich their vision, empower their intellect, facilitate their professional growth, and promote shared values necessary for the required processes.

 Institutions play a crucial role in socio-economic development. Institutions conductive to economic growth guarantee property rights and minimize transaction costs. While an uncertain institutional environment and the considerable sunk costs of previous investments create large disincentives against fundamental institutional transformation, continued institutional decay and eventual breakdown incur the costs of bad governance. Good governance has a price to be sure but the cost of bad governance is not only economic in as much as it also weakens the political system which adversely affects a society’s values and regard for human rights. It is necessary to evolve an institutional matrix that effectively solves problems of social conflict management or, from a different perspective, a worked out and generally accepted framework for property rights, respect for human rights and delivery of social services within a framework of widely accepted integrity and fiscal probity.

 The emphasis in the development paradigm must be shifted from the supply to the demand side, from top-down policy modification to bottom-up change based on demand amongst key stakeholders. It is only when civil society is empowered in political spheres of influence that true citizenship may begin to be cultivated and civic affairs activated and advanced, allowing the citizen to step into the public arena. Hence, it is vital for linkages between the state and the citizenry to be institutionalized.

 As the above diagram illustrates, the restructuring of governance institutions which must address policy institutions and culture simultaneously. This is only possible through an integral, holistic approach so that the root causes rather than superficial symptoms of institutional deterioration may be successfully addressed with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to articulate, bottom up demand into strategies for political, institutional and cultural transformations.

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