My piece published in the Express-Tribune
State effectiveness, by most definitions, has been waning in Pakistan. The ability of the law enforcement agencies and institutions to deliver services and entitlements is dwindling.
Ultra-nationalists resent the ‘failed state’ branding but what else can describe a dysfunctional apparatus that is unable to provide a basic entitlement, i.e. security? After 1973, the state has undertaken no serious civil service reform and the top-down reform under former president Pervez Musharraf has failed.
Therefore Pakistan has, among other things, witnessed a near-collapse of its institutions especially the criminal justice system where the police and prosecution have lost their efficacy and millions of cases are pending in courts.
Terrorism is often viewed in the country as the handiwork of ‘anti- Pakistan’ elements. However, rarely has it been noted that our criminal justice system is unable to cope with the spiralling phenomenon called terrorism. Cases are registered but proper investigations never take place. The overstretched prosecutors, lacking incentives to deliver, seldom pursue the cases in the courts. Consequently, the courts acquit most of the accused due to lack of credible evidence. (more…)