ISLAMABAD: Governments in Pakistan for most of the country’s history have remained power-centric with power concentrated mainly in the hands of the very few who happen to be at the top of the ruling hierarchy. Whereas the cabinets are excessively large with unimportant portfolios and ministries, most of the decisions come from the head of the ruling party or the ruling coalition.
Devolution of discretionary power has never been put into practice. Ministers often have a symbolic status as the head of a particular ministry. However, in actuality, often a cabinet is only expanded to award the perks that come along with the ministry. Resultantly, ministers are hardly seen going against the stance of their party on important matters, and by extension the stance of the party never comes from the vast pool of members it has, few who are capable to make informed decisions, but from the top leadership.
Despite the massive hierarchic structure, power is never centered down and dispersed to the concerned authorities. For instance, a tussle over power sharing is commonly seen between the provincial and local governments in Karachi and often between the federation and the provincial governments, in the country.
As a result, this highlights one of the many reasons ministries in Pakistan fail to deliver the purpose for which they are created in the first place.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2017.