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December 10, 2018

Modern method of governance


December 10, 2018

Few centuries from today, the invention of press invited havoc from the Islamic world. The decrees of profanity were issued and the Islamic world kept the invention from its influence for one hundred and fifty years. As a result, we were pushed back through these years. If the fundamental barometer of development is to be ascertained, this was the very period when emergence of European world from sludge and darkness took place and dashed leaving the Islamic world far behind. The difference could still easily be felt of this 150 years span in almost every sphere of life. Perhaps, adapting and embracing change is opposed to our inherent propensity and nature. Loudspeaker to television and from imagination to imagery, our attitude is almost similar towards them.

The same anomaly is being faced by the new government of Jam Kamal Khan. Let alone others, people from close quarters sarcastically term the new administration as 'WhatsApp' or 'twitter' group. Opposition is annoyed and the allies begrudged about the new governance patterns.

It seems, for now, that neither of them is ready to comprehend the significance and utility of the modern way to administer. The 'Babu' class in government offices is accustomed to passing forward notes on the green papers and for years have remained established to the manual ways. They also don't seem fan of this electronic transformation and wonder about the files routinely taking weeks in reaching the CM, important affairs as they consider, get resolved in no time through WhatsApp and twitter.

Some legal experts are found in a debate about legal aspects of relaying the official directions/instructions and whether acting upon such instructions may end an official up in the court or NAB prosecution. Hence, the misconception and misperceptions have confronted from all sideshow as though the new government and administration are fighting it off from all such flanks. History is a witness that between conservatives and modernists, such wars are invariably waged. The success, although, has always gone to the modernists because sooner or later, the conservatives have surrendered before the advancement brought by the new innovations. Therefore, Jam Kamal and his new government must not get pestered by this onslaught and all they need is to equip their team with the same technological weaponry as they themselves have laid this foundation. Of change in such responsive governance, training and awareness sessions are imperative to highlight the gains of the modern methods lest the void gets wider with the passing time. It is pertinent to recall that such change of individuals and groups take time and the criticism faced by the modernists is part of this transformation process.

During his first and second term in office, Shahbaz Sharif had also faced such backlash but this is on record that due to the enhanced utilisation of means of communication one of the most accomplished periods in governance of Punjab goes to his credit. This multi-dimensional warfare or struggle by Balochistan government has to do with it’s disconnect with the modern electronic media. In the short span of three months, passage of three significant legislations and bills is undeniably a prolific feat of the new government but the complaints of provincial government and cabinet also carry weight that these welfare steps could not get their due space in national broadcast.

The local bureau chiefs (TV news) were also engaged in the discussion along the same lines and a need was felt that on the government platform, a central and permanent spokesperson along with three to four members from political representation for propagation of different departments are arranged who will be in contact with the news agencies and will remain available to present the official verdict of the Balochistan government. Presently, the Balochistan government possesses an able team of new advisors who can be entrusted for the all important job after chief minister's approval. The business of electronic and print media is based on the two fundamental lines; advertisements and ratings. Sadly, both are not duly accorded to the Balochistan government. In the quest for precedence, the news channels prefer news which consolidates their ratings. Over the past, one glaring instance could be cited in which the news of the matrimonial alliance of Shoaib Malik and Sania prevailed delegation of powers to Balochistan through 18th constitutional amendment but this also goes for the fact, no matter bitter, that each channel has its priorities.

Balochistan government needs to develop an intelligent policy in seeking more air times and advertisements. If we don't keep up the pace with changing times, we will end up being farther than where we stand today. In Europe and America, most of the small and big enterprises are dawning the culture of 'Home is office' that was witnessed by the writer in New York at the Apple Company. Their employees place themselves in some corner of their houses and share the screen with world's offices via internet and take significant decision in quick succession. In this way, not only the company saves operational expenses of the employees but by working in the peaceful home environment, the employees earn more dividends for their employers.

Although we lag far behind these changing cultures of the developed world but still Jam Kamal's government has taken a step in the right direction by utilising the new technology. It is hoped that people of Balochistan will bear the fruits of this change and innovativeness. Winds of change are blowing and spring is in the air but before the spring comes, these winds will uproot the dried and decayed leaves of conservative thoughts and practices thanks and new buds will surely blossom.

(The writer is Secretary Information government of Balochistan)

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