Essay on Good Governance, its Causes, and Suggestions for CSS & PMS

This is an essay on Good Governance, its Causes, and Suggestions for CSS & PMS. Good governance relates to political and institutional processes and outcomes that are deemed necessary to achieve the goals of development. In this essay, I will explain good governance its causes and suggestions to overcome the effects of good governance. Find below the complete Essay on Good Governance, Causes of bad governance, and Suggestions.


Key attributes of good governance

  • Transparency
  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Participation
  • Responsiveness

How are good governance and human rights linked?

  • Democratic institutions
  • Service delivery
  • Rule of law
  • Anti-corruption

Good Governance in Pakistan
Brief History of governance in Pakistan
Causes of Bad Governance

  • Lack of accountability
  • Absence of rule of law
  • Incompetent politicians and martial laws
  • Relentless corruption
  • Corrupt politicians
  • No system of check & balance in the constitution
  • Limited power of the judiciary
  • Negative role of bureaucracy
  • Many social, political, and economic problems due to bad governance


  • Check & balance on politicians
  • The democratic process should be fair
  • Effective accountability
  • Independence of judiciary
  • Promote education to create awareness
  • Strengthen democracy
  • Amendment in the constitution to ensure good governance

Essay on Good Governance its Causes and Suggestions


“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development, and building good governance”. (Kofi Annan)

Good governance has been said at various times to encompass: full respect of human rights, the rule of law, effective participation, multi-actor partnerships, political pluralism, transparent and accountable processes and institutions, an efficient and effective public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information, and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability,  and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity, and tolerance.

Good governance relates to political and institutional processes and outcomes that are deemed necessary to achieve the goals of development. It has been said that good governance is the process whereby public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law. The true test of “good” governance is the degree to which it delivers on the promise of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights. The key question is: are the institutions of governance effectively guaranteeing the right to health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, fair justice, and personal security?

Key Attributes of Good Governance

The concept of good governance has been clarified by the work of the former Commission on Human Rights. In its resolution 2000/64, the Commission identified the key attributes of good governance:

Transparency, responsibility, accountability, participation & responsiveness (to the needs of the people).

By linking good governance to sustainable human development, emphasizing principles such as accountability, participation, and the enjoyment of human rights, and rejecting prescriptive approaches to development assistance, the resolution stands as an implicit endorsement of the rights-based approach to development. Resolution 2000/64 expressly linked good governance to an enabling environment conducive to the enjoyment of human rights and “prompting growth and sustainable human development.” In underscoring the importance of development cooperation for securing good governance in countries in need of external support, the resolution recognized the value of partnership approaches to development cooperation and the inappropriateness of prescriptive approaches.

Good governance and human rights are mutually reinforcing. Human rights principles provide a set of values to guide the work of governments and other political and social actors. They also provide a set of performance standards against which these actors can be held accountable. Moreover, human rights principles inform the content of good governance efforts: they may inform the development of legislative frameworks, policies, programs, budgetary allocations, and other measures. On the other hand, without good governance, human rights cannot be respected and protected in a sustainable manner. The implementation of human rights relies on a conducive and enabling environment.

How are Good Governance and Human Rights Linked?

The links between good governance and human rights can be organized around four areas:

When led by human rights values, good governance reforms of democratic institutions create avenues for the public to participate in policymaking either through formal institutions or informal consultations. They also establish mechanisms for the inclusion of multiple social groups in decision-making processes, especially locally. Finally, they may encourage civil society and local communities to formulate and express their positions on issues of importance to them.

In the realm of delivering state services to the public, good governance reforms advance human rights when they improve the state’s capacity to fulfill its responsibility to provide public goods which are essential for the protection of a number of human rights, such as the right to education, health, and food. Reform initiatives may include mechanisms of accountability and transparency, culturally sensitive policy tools to ensure that services are accessible and acceptable to all, and paths for public participation in decision-making.

When it comes to the rule of law, human rights-sensitive good governance initiatives reform legislation and assist institutions ranging from penal systems to courts and parliaments to better implement that legislation. Good governance initiatives may include advocacy for legal reforn1, public awareness-raising on the national and international legal framework, and capacity-building or reform of institutions.

In fighting corruption, good governance efforts rely on principles such as accountability, transparency, and participation to shape anti-corruption measures. Initiatives may include establishing institutions such as anti-corruption commissions, creating mechanisms of information sharing, monitoring governments’ use of public funds, and implementing of policies.

The interconnection between good governance, human rights, and sustainable development has been made directly or indirectly by the international community in a number of declarations and other global conference documents. For example, the Declaration on the Right to Development proclaims that every human person and all peoples “are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development” (Article I).

In the Millennium Declaration, world leaders affirmed their commitment to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law as well as to respect internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development. According to the United Nations strategy document on the millennium development goals (MDGs), entitled “The United Nations and the MDGs: a Core Strategy”, “the MDGs have to be situated within the broader nom1S and standards of the Millennium Declaration,” including those on “human rights, democracy, and good governance.”

Since the draw of civilization man has been striving hard to manage his affairs systematically. The desire to become systematic to the point and precise has led human beings to develop a variety of disciplines. These disciplines with the march of civilization failed to keep pace with the human driving force. Resultantly new avenues are sought for governance. In the case of Pakistan mismanagement has become a hallmark of our management. It is casting a dark shadow on our institutional setup, our cultural norms, and above all our credibility in the comity of nations.

Forced by the mismanagement, widespread corruption, and non-functioning of the national institution different governments introduced a number of reforn1S to stem the decline. For this purpose, the Nawaz Shari( government initiated serious efforts. But with the unseating of this, government and military taking over, this pace appeals to have gathered pace. For better governance institutions were set up by the military, which is making plausible efforts to achieve their objectives.

Good governance may be defined as that kind of government that is citizen-friendly. It has three major dimensions: Political, Economic, and Civic.

In the political sense, governance may be defined as the will and the ability of the government to protect and promote the fundamental rights and liberties of the people. In the economic sphere, it is the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development. In its civic sense, the good civic government is that which allows the society to flourish. In a civil society the rights of individual liberty, free speech, equal opportunities, education, etc. are guaranteed by the law. In a civil society collective sense, responsibility prevails.

As the crisis of governance deepens and public confidence in government institutions erodes, there is an urgent need for reform to reinforce the linkages between the state and society. The reasons for this sense of urgency and sense of depression are not far to seek. These may be enumerated as follows:

Good governance is needed for sustaining and maintaining a sound political system in a country. In Pakistan, we can see that the failure of democracy is due to bad governance. Every government’s failure of democracy is due to bad governance. Every governn1ent comes with great slogans to serve the nation but once it gets charged, it forgets its promises of serving the people. Every P.M. includes in his cabinet the ministers of his own choice and grabs all the powers while managing the national affairs.

The P.M. and his ministers become self-serving. In this way, they provide a handle to the opposition to stir up the angered public opinion. The aim of the opposition is always to bring down the government. When the situation gets totally out of control, it forces the Army to intervene often cutting the lifetime of the government and democracy. All such actions lead to political instability. It seeks to underline the need for good governance which in tum would yield political stability in the country.

Good governance is needed to make both the public and private sectors effective. A well-governed country has also both these sectors well administered and in harmony with each other. When a country is not politically sound its institutions will also be in poor condition. Cohesion between these sectors is impossible in the absence of good governance. In our country, we can see due to bad governance our public and private sectors are in a great mess.

Every institution of the public sector is suffering from mal-administration and the worst kind of corruption. The people reluctantly visit these institutions because they know the truants and dishonest elements would not lend half an ear shoes palm is always itching. Even for public utility tasks, people have to offer bribes. Without any favor or bribe, it’s very difficult to get any work done from the public offices. Moreover, due to the malpractices of the public officials and misappropriation of public funds the infrastructure of public institutions has become cracked and a situation like chaos is prevailing all over the country, So, good governance is strictly needed in order to make governmental machinery effective.

Whereas good governance is needed for the smooth running of public institutions, it is also essential for maintaining the sovereignty of the country. If a country is poorly governed and there is political instability, its enemies find opportunities in this situation and try to undermine it. While a badly governed country has many other problems to solve, it can not ensure its security. A well-governed country is economically strong and all the departments of the country function smoothly. It enables the rulers to strengthen the country’s security.

Good Governance in Pakistan

In Pakistan, there have been repeated military interventions into political governance from time to time. Although the country has witnessed democratic regimes as well, there has been constant experimentation with democracy in the last 50 years. That is shy no comprehensive system of governance could evolve. This poetical chaos started with the dissolution of the first constituent assembly in the most undemocratic and arbitrary manner by Governor-General Ghulam Mohammad in 1954.

Since then Pakistan’s internal strife has been plaguing including constitutional crises. He replaced Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din with Mohammad Ali Bogra, then foreign Ambassador of Pakistan in the United States. In the second cabinet of Mohammad Ali Bogra, Mohammad Ayub Khan, then C-in-C, was included. It paved the way for military martial law in 1958.

Brief History of Governance in Pakistan

The first Martial Law was imposed by Ayub Khan in 1958 and lasted till 1969. He abrogated the constitution of 1965. He introduced the Presidential system with indirect elections. His era was known as “Decade of Development” which later on proved to be “Decade of Exploitation” as his policy of privatization widened the gap between “haves” and “have nots”. The national wealth was concentrated in the Ayub also created resentment among the students.

In April 1969, General Yahya assumed lasted control of the country and again Martial Law lasted till 1971. He abrogated the constitution of 1962, banned all political activities, and dissolved National and Provincial Assemblies. Yahya’s Military regime in the history of Pakistan was void of development because there was no improvement or progress in any sphere of life. Rather there was a visible decline in political, social, and economic spheres.

Above all, the country was dismembered and the eastern wing broke away to emerge as an independent sovereign state of Bangladesh. His only aim was to transfer power to an elected body by holding free and fair elections. Yahya lived up to his promise of holding fair elections which were held in 1970 but instead of paving the way for smooth transfer of power, the results of the election sowed the seeds of disintegration which eventually led to the formation of Bangladesh in 1971.

The loss of East Pakistan in the 1971 war and the dismemberment of the country ill-reputed the Pakistan Army. The army rule could not continue and Yahya had no alternative but to quit by handing over power to Z.A Bhutto.

Z.A Bhutto was the chairman of PPP, who secured a majority in West Pakistan in the election of 1970. Bhutto possessed a charismatic personality. He introduced the concept of “Islamic Socialism”.

According to him “Islam is our faith. Democracy our policy, Socialism our economy and all power to the people”.

He raised the slogan of providing basic necessities to the people like Roti, Kapra, and Makan. His economic policy was totally different. In 1972, he undertook a massive “nationalization” program in which he nationalized all those industries set up in the private sector. In the first phase, 31 units were nationalized which fell under 10 categories. They were iron and steel Industries, basic metals, heavy engineering, etc. In the second phase, he undertook the second phase of nationalization which people were not expecting. It created great panic among the industrialist, as they were not expecting the nationalization was not an extensive exercise and could not arrest inflation effectively as it was planned to do so. The PPP government public enterprises were controlled by BIM.

The land reforms introduced by Bhutto also could not yield the desired results as landlords anticipated such reforms in advance and transferred surplus land in the names of their other family members, relatives, or even made lease-back arrangements with tenants. However, his labor reforms in 1972-73 enhanced the prestige and status of the labor class and safeguarded their rights effectively. He was the only head who was allowed to enjoy his tenure properly from 1970 to 1977.

Again Martial Law intervened in 1977 and the so-called popular leader elected by common people through dubious elections was hanged. Whatever the circumstances were, the step was unconstitutional. Zia’s Martial Regime was supposed to be the shortest one but it turned out to be the longest in the history of Pakistan. Zia did not abrogate the constitution of I973 but suspended it. At that point in time, a strong Pakistan from a military point of view was needed because of the Afghan problem and the revolution of Iran. Both of them could have repercussions beyond their boundaries. Zia’s regime opened the gates of foreign aid in Pakistan as the country was going through adverse economic crises.

Besides, Zia undertook a massive Islamic program in order to .seek legitimacy of his prolonged rule. He issued various ordinances to bring existing laws in line with the principles of the Quran and Sunnah. He decided to promulgate the 1973 Constitution with necessary amendments. He passed his famous 8 amendments curtailing the power of the head of government through article 58 2(b) and provided significant power to the president who could dissolve National Assembly whenever he thinks that need has arisen.

He held local elections m 1983 on a non-party basis. Then he held a referendum in l 984 and the main aim was to seek a public mandate for Zia’s various steps, which he had already taken since 1977. In January 1985, he held general elections which were also on a non-party basis. It became difficult to choose P.M and C.M from elected assemblies.

Handpicked civilian Govt. of Mohammad Ali Khan Juneja was placed in but it found it very difficult to work while the country was still under Martial Law Regime. The Government of Juneja was fired in 1988 through the special power enjoyed by Zia because of the 8th Amendment. The government was dismissed on the plea of the Ojhri Camp disaster. Corruption charges were leveled against it and also due to the early signing of the Geneva Accord by Juneja without the consent of President Zia.

The holding of the Round Table Conference by Junejo also annoyed Zia to which various political parties were invited. On 18 August 1988, President Zia’s airplane C-130 crashed near Bahawalpur. He died along with top brass military generals on the spot. Thus another military-civilian regime ended in a tragic manner.

The General elections were held in 1988 on a parity basis by president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Many ethnic, political, and regional parties participated in these general elections. The PPP bagged 93 seats followed by IslamiJamhoorilttehad claiming over 60 seats in National Assembly. As a result, Benazir became PM of Pakistan on 01 December 1988. The government was dissolved in 1990 due to the corruption charges leveled against her by the president of that time.

The next elections were held in October 1990 and this time IslamiJamhoorilttehad got the majority and hence Nawaz Sharif became PM. This government was also dismissed in 1993 by Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the plea of corruption, nepotism, and ethnic strife. Again elections were held in 1993 and Benazir became PM but this government was also dissolved on corruption charges in 1996.

The election was again held on 2 February I997, and Nawaz Sharif came into power. The results were amazing for everyone. The PML (N) made a clean sweep in the elections and got a wide majority. But in 1999, a military coup took place led by General Musharraf. The Army was yet again in power promising again of a smooth transfer of power to grass root level within 3 years.

Causes of Bad Governance

Following are the causes of poor governance:

Although accountability is the keynote of Islamic character yet it is not only emitted in the constitution of Pakistan but also not found even in the character of the rulers, this is a word unknown to the n1Iers of Pakistan unless accountability is introduced with all the seriousness. The process of accountability not only be swift and sure but also transparent. that it demands, the ills and curses inflicting the country will continue to inflict. Accountability should be irrespective of personality.

Secondly, the absence of rule of law leads to bad governance. In Pakistan, no law is applicable to the feudal lords. While the definition of rule of law means that everyone is equal in front of the law. There are many cases of corruption against the politicians but no case has been pursued against the politicians due to not independence of the judiciary. The cases of Hajj Scam, Steel Mill, Mehran Bank case, and others are still pending or their punishment is not given as per the law. Since the independence of Pakistan, no general, bureaucrat, politician, the minister was held accountable or any case was filed against them.

Incompetent politicians have also adversely affected the governance system in Pakistan. The basic problem is with politics. This is both systemic and generic. Systemic in the sense that our political system is not designed to perform the type of functions it is entrusted with. Generic in the sense that the political apparatus (Parliament, the government, or the cabinet) is designed for performing certain functions, essentially the sovereign functions do not have the capacity to discharge the duties assigned to them.

There is a sharp difference between our political culture and governance. In some cases it does but in many, it does not. Merit, social justice, transparency, good governance, effective economics, and enterprise management do not find a place anywhere in our politics. Politicians have a one-point agenda to attain power and that too, not for the purpose for which they are elected, but for their narrower and even personal agenda.

Undoubtedly, in Pakistan, corruption is a significant obstacle to good governance, the supremacy of law, and rational use of authority to run the affairs of the state and to maintain public cohesion and national harmony. Unfortunately, corrupt practices and misuse of public office lead to general frustration, opening windows of protest with a sense of dissent, disapproval, and conflict against the governing authority.

The environment of agitation and demonstrations carry seeds of large-scale disturbances, creating law and order situations, social disorder, and political chaos, culminating in poor governance. In a real democratic system, hence, wise rulers undertake tangible measures to fight corruption with a view to improve governance and maintain order.

It is our misfortune that rampant corruption in the country has infected the entire edifice of national institutions, while the rule of law appears to have been totally disregarded. Consequently few parasites devouringly consume the best of resources, while the poor majority remains repressed and victimized under hard economic conditions.

Since the establishment of the Pakistan Army has always had a strong desire to have a permanent place in the political setup of the country. The 4 military regimes are the proof of this. Pakistan’s history is studded with coups and coup-like actions that have affected the character of the civilian governments and their working.

It’s quite clear that four governments before the Ayub Regime and all the governments after Zia were dismissed because they were guilty of corruption, maladministration, nepotism, and ethnic strife.

All the Governments after Junejo were characterized by the royal style of the Prime Minister which was true in the case of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif because of their extravagant style of living i.e. Raiwind Palaces and Surrey Palace respectively. All the previous heads of governments both civilian and military and also the politicians exercised absolutism in style and mentality. They did not realize that their foremost duty was to serve the people not just to misrule them. Politicians during the last 64 years have not exhibited a responsible attitude.

Our constitution does not provide an effective system of check and balance. That is why, when a civilian government is elected, it becomes omnipotent i.e. all-powerful which gives rise to corruption and maladministration. There is no effective system of governance that can keep a check on the decisions and the steps taken by the PM and his cabinet. Judiciary must be made strong enough to keep a check over the legislation by the government.

The political chaos prevailing in the country has led to grave economic conditions. Now our country is on the verge of bankruptcy for some years. A feeling of hopelessness is going on. Increasing unemployment has led to a “brain drain” which is planning for the very survival of our dear homeland. This continuously deteriorating economic situation is detrimental to effective results-oriented governance.

People are also responsible for their misfortunes because they have not exerted themselves. They have failed to participate in the affairs of the state. They have allowed governments to misgovern and mismanage the economy.

In Pakistan, bureaucrats have also tried to gain political power. The examples of bureaucrats turned politicians are present here. These bureaucrats exercise undue influence and make politicians dance on their tunes. They have done enormous changes to the previous government setups by giving rise to red tapes.

Political parties have not done their job properly of inculcating political awareness among the masses. Most of the time they have failed to mobilize public opinion. Instead of securing the confidence of the people, they introduced horse-trading which has shattered the confidence of people in politicians and political parties. Moreover, political parties led to extreme political polarization in the society which affected the law and order situation in the country. Karachi provides the best example.

With the poor governance in three sectors, economic, political, and institutional, the country, despite having huge natural resources, has now entered into stagflation, which is the worst-ever scenario. Thrust, intolerance, and corruption have plagued the politics of Pakistan. Having failed to address any of these issues the government has lost its credibility and trust at home. The government is also using institutions for its personal benefits, which is causing a clash among the institutions. Investment is rapidly flying from Pakistan due to the unfavorable economic environment in the country.

The energy crisis is negatively affecting the industry and a number of industries have been closed down due to the unavailability of gas and electricity. These examples show bad governance in Pakistan as our planning machinery and policymakers are totally failed to overcome these crises.


These are some of the suggestions to overcome the impacts of Bad Governance:

There is no effective system of drafting legislation, making budget appropriations, holding hearings with experts, and subsequent oversight by specialized parliamentary committees. People who chair such committees don’t have much of a clue as to where to begin, what questions to ask, and how to hold the executive and the bureaucracy accountable. As a result, once the laws and policies are approved, and budgets passed, there is not much oversight or accountability.

The people should be represented from the grass root to the highest level throng their representatives. This democratic process should be fair to accommodate the aspirations of the man in the street throng effective governance.

In order to attain the quality of governance, people instead of the accountability of the previous or failed rulers must ask for participation in decision making and in the execution of the policies evolved through a democratic consultative process.

In order to have an effective system of governance, the participation of women should be ensured as according to the latest count men: women ratio is 48:52 respectively. The number of seats that are taken is negligible; it’s almost non-existent at the moment.

Independence of judiciary must be maintained which can exercise an effective system of check and balance and can prevent politicians from abuse of power.

Economic and political stability are deeply interlinked. Without one, the other cannot be obtained. So government must evolve strait and requires major restructuring. Then continuity of the policy is required without which no result would be obtained.

People must be educated without which they cannot protect their rights. Press can play a vital role in creating awareness among people regarding their problems and their solutions. In this way, people would be able to demand their rights and will perforn1 their duties in a more organized way.

Thus, we can say without proper civic sense good and effective governance cannot be obtained.

This is high time that consensus must be developed among the people that what system of government can suit them better. Keeping in view the pluralistic society of Pakistan, the federal system of government can serve people better but sufficient powers must be given to the provinces in order to tackle the problems of the people in an appropriate way. A direct system of election must be introduced and governments must be allowed to complete their tenure. The crucial importance of good governance can be witnessed by the experience of East Asian countries. Between 1965 and 1990, the region registered the highest growth rate in the world and combined it with high living standards. The single most important factor in this economic miracle was the fact that these countries were able to put in place a sound and sustainable framework.

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