Is there a Limited Access Order in Pakistan?

“No one, including the state, has a monopoly on violence . . . An LAO reduces violence by forming a dominant coalition containing all individuals and groups with sufficient access to violence . . . The dominant coalition creates cooperation and order by limiting access to valuable resources…therefore secures elite loyalty to the system to limits violence.” North et al., (2008)

Pakistan Elite’s State..Is there a Limited Access Order in Pakistan? Does Pakistan inherited as a natural state constituting LAO influenced through British colonization? This article summarzied some of the key paradox while analyzing the NWW Model (2008, 2009).

The patronage and the dominant capacity to regulate violence played crucial roles in predicting political outcomes, resulting in a new set of institutions with repeated coups, sectarian violence, and feudalism. While analyzing the political institution, pattern of change and attitude, we can see that rule of law has been clearly separated between legislative, judiciary and executive branches under the constitution. However, there have been frequent power struggles among these players to maintain elite power. A coup by an effective military leader in 1958 temporarily destabilized LAO and brought economic growth, but offered few opportunities for broader access and impersonal rule development, resulting in a new division between east and west of Pakistan. The division of country in 70s depicts absence of element of binding-states among the elites and showed a lack of a power-sharing formula. Therefore, from socialist revolution in Bhutto regime (1972-77) to Islamic state of Zia (1977-87), the nation faced a myriad violence. Bhutto’s ambitious attempt of state-owned economy, through strictly controlled LAO, not only harmed the economy but also evoked dissent from excluded opposition and powerful industrialists who had enjoyed the rents during 1960s. However, Zia’s LAO entered to individual bargains, which made a coalition of technocracy, bureaucracy, private firms and significantly new actors ‘the religious leaders (Islamic supremacy) under the command of military empire. The political institutions are in turmoil though it has monopoly of power to control the country, but in rural areas, landlords maintain clan-based private militia and in big cities (Karachi), political organizations (MQM) have private military wing. Pakistan’s market economy provides free & open competition for enterprises with property rights. Even acquisition of private property are defined in secular and sharia laws but acquisition and awarding of contracts remains affected by corruption, red-tapism, and nepotism that continue to plague the administration. Shared by a weak and corruption-ridden state, these circumstances resulted in a government where institutions work very differently for elite’s interests. The judicial system particularly property rights enforcement are weaker among South Asian countries . Couple with public administration and bureaucracy, politicization, distorted incentives and limited accountability has weakened the overall government machinery. The levels of fragmentation, corruption, and self-interest amongst leaders at the national, state and local levels is stunningly high. The cost of corruption has been estimated at 5~7 percent of GDP with overall fraudulent cases around 8 billion US$ for last three years .
Further, military derived huge economic assets through national defense . Hereditary politics has led to a strong monopolistic political-networking whereby political power has concentrated into a few families. Family patronage and the capacity for violence have assumed a greater role in determining political outcomes that are now a plain manifestation of feudalistic relationships. Moreover, even having various political parties, their motives is mere to acquire and grant selected elite access to state resources under the patronage of a couple of ‘mega political families’. Religious and sectarian violence in the last two decades has introduced another group of claimants to state resources and rents . Therefore, the greedy alliance of elite control of resources and privileges remains to threaten under OAO.
Since LAO and Natural states are not static, there are growing numbers of risks and threats towards these authoritarian (LAO) regimes that may accelerate transitions. Based on historical experience in Europe and North America, North et al., (2008, 2009) have identified two basic conditions for transitions within natural states; the achievement of the doorstep conditions, which occurs within the LAO; and the transition proper which begins when the dominant coalition finds it in the interest of elites to expand impersonal exchange and, therefore, incrementally widen access on a less personal basis. There are three doorstep conditions in LAO and that enable impersonal exchange among elites: (1) rule of law for elites; (2) support for perpetually lived elite organizations and (3) centralized and consolidated control of violence. In the case of Pakistan, which possesses hybrid rule of law, one for poor and the powerful. Such discrimination is being witnessed recently as the ongoing case against Prime Minister Sharif has not resolved after the release of Panama Papers Scandal. The papers show his name in off-shore companies and yet he and his family failed to prove any funding sources in 1995-2005 investments . Therefore, there is a growing trust deficit on the government in the country and the findings of World Justice Project Pakistan (2016) ranked Pakistan 106th among 113 countries in terms of Rule of Law experienced by the citizens, getting position only above Afghanistan and some of the African countries. Pakistani perceive politician more self-interested group and don’t show any trust in institutions. Such as Police department is being viewed as the most corrupt authorities, and three-quarters of Pakistanis have paid a bribe to process a government permit and to receive assistance from the police . More than 60% of Pakistan’s cabinet and two-thirds of its federal lawmakers paid no tax last year as tax evasion estimated the average net wealth of $882,000 . Moreover, establishing companies, business (e.g. SME, NGOs) also need strong cooperation with powerful elite and access to licenses, bank funding, and government contracts. Therefore, despite international pressure from IMF or WB, the legislative hardly grow organizations that may hinder their economic and political power. The “elite class” shows reluctance to build a transparent, independent economic and political base . Therefore, unless major reforms are being taken to increase mass awareness (education), strengthening democracy and political stability through incentives for groups to achieve their aims peacefully’ the country might fail to achieve open access state (OAS). A second goal should be that of enhancing the state’s ability to enforce the rule of law impersonally and equitably, especially in its dealings with non-elite-run political, economic and social organizations. The major goal should be focusing on governance and encouraging community (particularity business sector) to gain profits from improving productivity by investing in learning, efficiency, and technology rather than seeking rents from the state (or from tenant farmers) and parking their savings offshore. This will result in more firms that are interested in improving the rule of law and removing bottlenecks to growth, such today Pakistan facing 3Es (Energy, Education, and Extremism). Therefore, increasing the number of players will itself enhance openness and compliance with rules by limiting the ability of any group to create exclusive partnerships with politicians.

 

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