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PAKISTAN: Impact of Terrorism and

Corruption on Governance

Submitted to:
Dr. A. Hilali
Submitted by:
Sana Ikram Cheema
(M.phill-1st Semester)
Roll no: 448
Abstract: In this paper I’ve tried to highlight impact of terrorism on quality of
governance. In the first part I explained the background what happened in past
decades and have included expert opinions for causes of poor governance with
respect to Terrorism and corruption. This paper focuses on the hypothesis that
Terrorism and corruption has adverse effects on Governance in Pakistan.
Governance and corruption are taken as independent variables and Terrorism as
a dependent variable. In second and third part I will further present brief analysis
of the current situation with respect to these two issues.

Introduction: Poor State of Governance in Pakistan

Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world in terms of population and is the only
Muslim nuclear weapon state. It is playing an important role in the region especially after
September 2001 it became a key partner to the American led coalition against terrorism.
Pakistan is often held up as an exemplar of bad governance and misplaced government
spending priorities which can weaken a country. A steady decline has been observed in
Pakistani state’s governance capability which means its ability to provide needed public
goods and services i.e. Law and order etc. The most striking and most symptomatic of
state weakening, is the declining ability of the Pakistani government to maintain control
over substantial portions of the country (Khan 2007).1

In this first part, I try to touch some important issues which have a greater impact on the
quality of government from Pakistan’s perspective and then in second and third part of
paper, I shall go into details of these two issues i.e. terrorism and corruption. And finally
I shall conclude my research on the basis of past, present and my assumptions about the
future of Governance in Pakistan.

In post-colonial history, Military has ruled Pakistan for more than half during last 60
years after independence in 1947. Like previous Military government of General Zia
during 1980s, the recent military dictator of President General Musharaf has benefited
Khan. F (2007), “Corruption and the Decline of the State in Pakistan”, Asian Journal of Political Science,
15:2, 219-247
from Pakistan’s status as a frontline state in the war in Afghanistan. Billions of dollars as
aid has been pledged to Pakistan in response and also some bilateral debt has been retired
but still structural problems put a question mark to Pakistan future. The post-9/11, Bush
administration agreed to a five-year, $3 billion economic assistance package, tied to an
annual review of Pakistan’s cooperation in three areas: the war on terrorism, nuclear non
proliferation, and domestic political democratization. America had earlier cancelled $1
billion worth of Pakistani debt (Talbot 2004).2

There is a huge difference in administration styles between Military governments and

civilian administrations due to institutional interests and hierarchical structure. But we’ve
seen that Corruption has always been a key issue in the history of Pakistan’s
Government. And according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
(CPI), Pakistani’s 2006 CPI score of 2.2 put it in the most corrupt quintile of 163
countries surveyed; this was virtually unchanged from the 1995 CPI score of 2.25 CPI,
also in the most corrupt quintile of the 41 countries surveyed (Khan 2007).3 The previous
governments during 1990’s were also involved in massive amount of corruption. (Faruqui
and Schofield 2002) 4

Mechanism through which Corruption undermines quality of


1. Role of Judiciary
Independent and honest judiciary is a key ingredient to counter corruption and put a
check on politicians and civil servants. Pakistani judiciaries always work under the
influence of rulers. (Khan 2004). The military government co-opted the judiciary by

Talbot. I (2004), “Pakistan in 2003: Political Deadlock and Continuing Uncertainties” Asian Survey, Vol.
44, No. 1. (Jan.- Feb., 2004), pp. 36-42.
Khan. F (2007), “Corruption and the Decline of the State in Pakistan”, Asian Journal of Political Science,
15:2, 219-247
Faruqui and Schofield (2002), “Pakistan: the Political Economy of Militarism”, Conflict, Security &
Development, 2:2, 5- 23
Khan, H. (2004). Constitutional and Political History of Pakistan.: Oxford University press
setting up tribunals, headed by senior judges, to try politicians whom it deemed guilty of
corruption and any abuse of power.

2. Political Corruption
Since there is no independent judiciary in Pakistan, the corruption is always increasing
because there is no accountability for the civil service or the legislature accountable for
any breach of their professional responsibility or violation of the law. History shows that
Pakistani governments in the past have violated all laws with complete impunity several
times. (Ahmed, 1996)6

3. Police
The law and order situation with in the country from crime perspective is extremely
weakened now a days and it is not accessible for a normal citizen with out links to
approach justice. Ultimately all official contact between the police and those private
citizens who do not have the right government connections results in bribery and

4. Agriculture
Economy of Pakistan heavily dependent on agriculture and GDP growth rates are
depended on year’s crop harvest. Corruption can be seen in all maters from irrigation and
water to transfer of land. (Faruqee 1995)7 Corruption in agriculture sector condemns the
majority of Pakistanis to even poorer and more desperate lives than they would otherwise
have. This further reduces the average Pakistani’s faith in the state’s ability to make any
meaningful positive difference in their lives.

5. Financial Sector

Ahmed (1996). “Reflections in the Tax Mirror” daily DAWN
studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn Accessed date (November 19, 2009).
Faruqee, r. (1995). Government’s role in Pakistan Agriculture: Major Reforms are needed. Policy
Research Working Paper No.1468 Washington, DC: The World Bank.
Burki 8 explain that Pakistani banking sector has been in such terrible conditions in the
previous decades. There is a general perception, not entirely incorrect, in the country that
Pakistani Banks and other financial institution exist primarily to serve the interests of the
crooked and the powerful.

The records9 estimates that rampant corruption under Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto
who have both each served as Prime Minster twice in the period 1989-1999 and each
administration has been more corrupt than its predecessor. Bhutto’s Husband, Asif Ali
Zardari, who is the President of Pakistan and Party co-chairman at the moment after her
assassination in December 2007, has served as Cabinet member in her second
administration, his repute was such that he was known as, ‘Mr. Ten Percent’.

The above discussion reflects a clear picture of previous government’s role in promoting
and spreading corrupt culture. Years after year’s Pakistani leaders promised to go after
corrupt politicians, loan defaulters and all those who had profited from the misery of the
average Pakistani. But we’ve see that, the situation is still the same, even worse. The law
and order situation is more pathetic.

After 60 years of Pakistan’s foundation, no permanent form of government and no trust

in constitutional government have developed. A poor human rights record supports this
situation. The Police abused, tortured and raped citizens. The judiciary is not independent
but under strong influence from the government. Freedom of association and movements
were sometimes restricted. Political leaders were imprisoned. (Khan 2007)10
Discrimination and violence against women continued to be a serious problem. Child
labor practices are still going on in some industries. The government efforts to improve

Burki S.J (1999): Pakistan Fifty years of National hood 3rd edn. Boulder: West View Press

Transparency International Pakistan (2002). Pakistan Corruption Report. Accessed Date (March 23, 2008)
Khan. F (2007), “Corruption and the Decline of the State in Pakistan”, Asian Journal of Political Science,
15:2, 219-247
human rights situation damaged a lot since new challenges faced to counter terrorism
(Kleiner 2007).11

According to (Easterly 2001), a country’s poor social indicators have lowered the
productive potential of the economy and its ability to service its high debt. His argument
is Pakistan’s weak governance and limited economic reforms caused a slowdown in
growth from late 1980s to the present.

Pakistan’s War on Terrorism and its effects on the quality of

Governance in Pakistan

What produces Good Governance? For a developing country, there can be different
answers for this question. In broad-spectrum, quality of governance can be measured
through a country’s level of institutional reforms, political system and level of
bureaucracy, role of international institutions for development, level of corruption,
independent media, and openness etc. In the case of Pakistan, the most important problem
on the way of good governance is Terrorism which is ultimately a hurdle to achieve
above mentioned elements of Good Governance.

To understand and solve the problem of terrorism it is essential for all to realize and
identify the causes of terrorism. The terrorism is a complex phenomenon which has
several reasons such as social, economic, religious and political etc. Some of the roots of
terrorism with respect to Pakistan are,

1. Helplessness and Hopelessness

Helplessness which leads to hopelessness is the psychological state that enhances
terrorism in the society. The societies in which the people are ignored and have to suffer

Kleiner .J (2007), “Pakistan: AN Unsettled Nation” Diplomacy and Statecraft, 18: 1-25, 2007.
Easterly (2001), “The political Economy of Growth without Development: A Case Study of Pakistan”
(Washington: World Bank, June 2001)
from socioeconomic and political injustice provide conducive environment to promote
2. Political and Economic Deprivation
Political and Economic deprivations are the main root causes of terrorism. When the
political and economic rights of the certain groups are not granted it chooses the suitable
method of terrorism to show their anger. “Root Causes Theory” propel that “politically
oppressed and economically deprived people are more prone to violent and terrorist
behavior. They are deprived of their basic needs and this condition forces them to change
their fate by hook or crook (Zafar, 2007:27). 13

3. Poverty and Economic Exploitation

In the society where there is illiteracy, hunger and economic disparity the terrorism
flourishes rapidly. All these factors lead to increase in poverty which itself is the mother
of terrorism. Famous philosopher Aristotle had agreed on the assertion stating that
Poverty is mother of Terrorism and Revolution”. We see for example in Muslim
countries there is a huge amount of poverty and that is why, it becomes easier for the
terrorist groups to find the interested persons due to their poor economic conditions.
(Khan 2007)14

4. Lack of Democracy and Dictatorship

Lack of Democracy is the main cause of terrorism in present times. The dictators and
autocrat governments frighten opponents. They do it to create fear among the masses, to
suppress any opposition against their governments. In undemocratic circumstances the
people do not find ways to express their disagreement and as a result some of them turn
to the violent means to submit their expression. (Mohammad and Conway, 2005)15

Muhammad, Imtiaz Zafar Dr. (2007). Violence Terrorism And Teaching Of
Islam.Higher Education Commission, Pakistan.
Khan. F (2007), “Corruption and the Decline of the State in Pakistan”, Asian Journal of Political Science,
15:2, 219-247
Mohammad, F. and Conway, p. (2005). ‘Political Culture, Hegemony, and Inequality before the Law:
Law Enforcement in Pakistan; policing, 23 (4): 631-641’
Terrorism was a virtually unheard of phenomenon in Pakistan till the late 1970s and early
1980s when coincident with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the US sponsored Jihad
against the Soviets resulted in the religious elements in Pakistan’s NWFP Province being
pushed into the forefront of the armed struggle. (Husain 2001)16 Pakistan is still
confronted with religious militancy and terrorism that can be traced back to her support
of the US sponsored anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.

Especially after its coalition in US led War Against Terrorism, Pakistan is suffering from
worst ever situation to its security from internal factors as compared to external. Pakistan
is facing terrorism in multi forms. No other country in the world facing this situation as
Pakistan today. One of the biggest challenges faced by Pakistani government is rule over
large portions of its third largest province, the North West Frontier Province, to local
Taliban- style militias of Islamic vigilantes who disburse their own brand of ‘Justice’
(Khan 2007).17 In 2006, Pakistani government was also forced to sign a series of
humiliating ceasefires with pro- Taliban tribal militants in the border areas with
Afghanistan after the Army was unable to defeat them militarily and took heavy losses.

As a result here has been a steady decay in Pakistan government’s ability to maintain
control over its territories, safeguard its citizenry and provide any significant level of
public services to its people despite a steady increase in economic growth and security
related expenditure.

According to (Burki 2002)18, important question is not what kind of presence al-Qaeda
(Taliban) has established in Pakistan. Rather, the real issue is how some segments of
society can be weaned away from the type of thinking represented by al-Qaeda. Unless
that is done, Pakistan will not be able to achieve either economic or political stability.

Husain (2001), “Pakistan’s Future and U.S. Policy Options” (Washington: Center for Strategic &
International studies, November 2001)
Khan. F (2007), “Corruption and the Decline of the State in Pakistan”, Asian Journal of Political Science,
15:2, 219-247
Burki S.J (1999): Pakistan Fifty years of National hood 3rd edn. Boulder: Westview press.
The question arise then that does terrorism breed within an environment of dire poverty
as now just like in Pakistan or it’s a question of limited economic success, not only for
ordinary people but also for educated as well. Or is terrorism simply a reflection of
militant Islam, stemming from the rapid expansion of madrassahs. (Looney 2004).19

If we observe the model of (Bremer and Kasarda 2002)20 we clearly see that large
segments of the population have become weary and frustrated with the country’s lack of
economic progress, especially now that the Indian economy is pulling away with a much
higher and accelerating rate of growth. The country’s patterns of growth, productivity,
and institutional failure seem to fit a more formal model of terrorist development.
New Second World Transitions

Source: (Looney 2004, Page 787)

Looney .R (2004), “Failed Economic Take-Offs and Terrorism in Pakistan: Conceptualizing a Proper
Role for U.S. Assistance” Asian Survey, Vol. 44, No. 6. (Nov. – Dec., 2004), Pp. 771-793.
Bremer and Kasarda (2002), “The Origins of Terror: Implications for U.S Fore” Milken Institute Review
(Fourth Quarter 2002), PP. 34-48.
The first or early phase begins when a low income country starts to industrialize rapidly,
launching an agrarian-industrial transition and the complex transformations, urbanization,
income growth, and economic diversification accompanying it. Since Pakistan is in the
first stage along with countries such as Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the attention
should be mainly on the problems encountered by that group. These countries have failed
to more forward to the middle stage, largely because of growth- limiting policies and
intuitional rigidities (Looney 2004).21

Large scale poverty, under development and illiteracy leads towards emergence of
several groups who struggling for economic and political empowerment but denied their
role in governance by those who wield enormous power. Ultimately it promotes
intolerance, extremism, militancy and radicalism in society i.e. Terrorism.

In case of Pakistan, as far as social safety nets are concerned, there is limited involvement
of the government in poverty alleviation programs directly, even though there is strong
evidence that poverty is rising rapidly. Most schemes have weak institutional structure,
their funding is uncertain and coverage is very limited.

Hassan (2002)22 emphasized that governance is not the panacea for all evils as it is not the
cause of poverty in Pakistan nor can good governance alone eliminate it. He concluded
that poverty can not be eradicated without high growth rate while good governance can
ensure that benefits of growth are more equitably distributed.

Looney .R (2004), “Failed Economic Take-Offs and Terrorism in Pakistan: Conceptualizing a Proper
Role for U.S. Assistance” Asian Survey, Vol. 44, No. 6. (Nov. – Dec., 2004), Pp. 771-793.
Hassan, Mian Tayyab (2002) Governance and Poverty in Pakistan. Pakistan Institute
of Development Economics, Islamabad. (MIMAP Technical Paper No.13.)

The purpose of this paper is to highlight two important issues (corruption and bad
governance) which directs to Terrorism in Pakistan. On one hand the massive systematic
corruption that has become the norm in Pakistan is the proximate cause of the ever-
declining governance capacity and legitimacy of the state.

Good governance is a pivotal issue in developing countries encompassing all facets of

life be it the politics, government, economy, parliament, judiciary, media, private and
public sectors, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

At the moment Pakistan’s governance system tends to be in a shambles because there is

no accountability and there is rampant political interference in the administration.
Terrorism has become on of the major problem for economy and people of Pakistan

The reason is simple: lack of good governance and corruption that eats away the major
chunk of our economy which, otherwise, is meant to go into raising the social
infrastructure, a necessary condition for wiping out poverty and extremism.

Today the democratic government of Pakistan is functioning in a relatively secure

environment. We see that today’s government is not facing a tough political opposition.
The government has managed to keep the ruling coalition intact and the ruling party
holds all the important posts in the federation: the president, the prime minister, the
speaker of the National Assembly and the chairperson of the Senate.

The Supreme Court too sees its role as one of overseeing credible functioning of
democratic institutions, not destabilizing the country. And most importantly, the army
poses no threat. The army fully understands that no direct or indirect adventure against
the democratic system will be acceptable. So it’s clear that there is no force in the country
who can cause; destabilization. Therefore, the current Government of Pakistan needs to
seriously address the issue of Terrorism.
We see that, Terrorism limits the effectiveness of efforts to improve the quality of life
within the country through development. It damages important relationships, and
discourages investment into projects designed to end poverty and deprivation. That is
why coping with it should be the top priority of the government.

To cope successfully with terrorism, the government of Pakistan needs to move

decisively against groups organized to use force against the legal authority.
Both the solution of political problems and the reform of the economic order can be best
done under the overall direction of the main body that can only work if there is a proper
infrastructure i.e. Good Governance and that requires dedication and a proper check and
balance of the whole system i.e. end of Corruption.