Rule of Law & Economic Growth in Pakistan

Abdul Wassay

Pakistan has faced numerous challenges in recent decades, prompting the formulation and implementation of a number of policies to address them. Conflicts, whether intra-state or inter-state, are widespread in today’s world, and in many cases, they are a constructed driver in many cultural transformations.

It entails structured collectiveness and is thus distinct from conflicts. Regulations and civilian protection fall under the jurisdiction of the “Rule of Law.” It is a concept in which the individual and the community are treated equally; everything is ensured, from the security of an individual to checks on government.

In recent years, we have witnessed how a lack of rule of law leads to a chaotic situation. It can be seen that throughout the last decade, events such as the Arab Spring in Libya, Kuwait, and nations such as Syria flared into conflicts mostly because either the people were tired of their dictators or there was a militia that claimed the state’s land as their own homeland.

Some were caused by religious factors, but the majority were caused by the perception that the society within that government, i.e., Bashar Al Assad, Col. Gaddafi, and others, was not flourishing and that the elites were enjoying every kind of luxury while the marginalized society was under-developed.

Economic growth and the rule of law are inextricably linked. The concept of human needs theory is the most basic example. Human needs theory is a concept that deals with the welfare and rights of state citizens in the context of how to keep peace and avoid conflicts. We know that the concept of human needs in war and peace is intertwined and affects every element of human life.

According to Human Needs Theory, all humans have certain basic fundamental needs that must be met by the state, and when these are not fulfilled, conflict occurs. However, when there is an absence of rule of law, certain risk factors exist in society, such as: “Structural Risk variables,” which include population size, hostility toward the new government, and the way the population’s entire structural framework is classified. “Lack of alternative economic opportunities,” in my opinion, is the most essential risk factor because it is directly related to economic stability.

Policies and actions should be implemented to empower youth through education and to ensure that the society’s human resource is employed efficiently. “Ethnic dominance” is a risk factor that occurs when a society is characterized by a specific ethnicity.  Furthermore, these risk factors contribute to the destruction of economic growth because growth is directly proportionate to the state’s well-being.

To further establish the link between rule of law and economic growth, the concept of security-development nexus can also be used. Security and development are two terms that are interlinked, interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Long-term development is regarded as depending upon security, and lasting security depends upon sustainable development in any specific country or a region.

Rule of Law & Economic Growth in Pakistan

“Securitization of development” is the term that is used widely in this context and it was more visible during the 1990s in relation to the importance of internal armed conflict in under-developed countries and the growing resentments related to crime and violence. However, the concept of “human security” has supported the development of security in such a way that the focus has evolved to a number of basic human necessities that are required for the individual’s life.

Unlike the traditional concept of (national) security, the human security agenda focuses on the safety of people rather than nations, and on a view of sovereignty that requires the state to respect the rights of all individuals rather than focusing solely on its power over them.

Furthermore, the integration of these two concepts also give birth to three distinct sectors defines the whole security-development nexus; good governance, security sector and rule of law. Rule of law can only be ensured when the implementation of law is done in a fairer and more equal basis to all the legal citizens of a certain community. Its mechanisms include advice on constitution and legislation drafting, judicial and law enforcement reforms, support to civil society and human rights organizations, and the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms.

The main focus of rule of law programs is on the fundamental and basic freedom that every human being is entitled to and also paying more attention towards the central power structure and how it serves as a cause of human rights violations in a specific area. Rule of law also talks about ensuring that security is given to the citizens in every aspect.

The seven key individual centric components that are in line with economic growth are: economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security. However, in Pakistan this concept has not been fully developed and the idea of “human security” has not been well developed which has resulted in its traditional use where environmental and natural are not yet part of human security and this is because none of the scholars or experts tried to understand the essence of it.

In conclusion, we need to understand that neither rule of law or economic growth can sustain itself individually if one of the components is missing. It is essential that both of them work in line with each other and their objectives remain the same for further nourishment of the society.

To be fair, economic growth can also be seen as a positive indicator when there is stability and security in the society, otherwise national interest can be compromised. National interests play a very important role when decisions regarding policy development and formulation are to be made and as a matter of fact, a policy that includes the implementation of the law as well as the well-being of the citizens is the only way forward.

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