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Governance, Decentralisation, and Poverty: The Case of Pakistan


  • Zafar H. Ismail

    (Social Policy and Development Centre, Karachi.)

  • Sehar Rizvi

    (Social Policy and Development Centre, Karachi.)


Human development and human rights share a common vision and purpose: to secure the freedom, well being and dignity of humanity. Human development is as essential for human rights as the latter is for the former. Historical evidence suggests that the more civilised societies were those that gave a higher priority to both, for example, the Greek, the Roman and the enlightened years of early Islam. The freedom from want is perhaps the one inalienable right of humanity which stands between dignity and indignity and which must be mitigated against by both state and individual.1 For the first time in history mankind adopted these and other human rights when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Today all but one of the six core covenants and conventions have been ratified by at least 140 countries and state sponsored anti-poverty programmes were initiated globally, most with the help of civil society [UNDP (2000)]. The lessons from history clearly establish that for improving the social endowment of the poor the state and the individual are key players, money is a necessary requirement, good governance is critical to success and the participation of each component of society as a whole ensures sustainability and continued benefits beyond the initial attempts to mitigate the impact of poverty. In other words decentralisation is a key element to improve the lot of the people, particularly the poor and the disenfranchised.

Suggested Citation

  • Zafar H. Ismail & Sehar Rizvi, 2000. "Governance, Decentralisation, and Poverty: The Case of Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 39(4), pages 1013-1030.
  • Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:39:y:2000:i:4:p:1013-1030

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shah, Anwar, 1998. "Balance, accountability, and responsiveness : lessons about decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2021, The World Bank.
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