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Improving Governance in Pakistan: Changing Perspectives on Decentralisation


  • Ehtisham Ahmad

    (Centre for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, and Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics, UK)


Allama Iqbal stressed the need for khudi in terms of national identity and focus on self-reliance, without which there would have been no chance to break colonial bounds. The message still resonates today, in a period of economic crisis and lack of national agreement on tax reforms. International experience with decentralisation also emphasises the importance of significant own-source revenues in generating accountability and effective service delivery at all levels of government. Although the 18th Amendment of Pakistan Constitution makes significant strides towards clarifying spending responsibilities, the issue of subsidiarity is not effectively addressed, nor is the issue of implementable own-source of revenues. This runs the risk of generating unfunded mandates, further pressures and weakening of public service delivery, leading possibly to strengthening of ethnic and parochial divisions and centrifugal forces. Iqbal’s message is as important now as it was in the last century.

Suggested Citation

  • Ehtisham Ahmad, 2010. "Improving Governance in Pakistan: Changing Perspectives on Decentralisation," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 283-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:49:y:2010:i:4:p:283-310

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597.
    2. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2004. "Does decentralization increase government responsiveness to local needs?: Evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 867-893, March.
    3. Tugrul Gurgur & Anwar Shah, 2014. "Localization and corruption: panacea or pandora's box?," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 109-136, May.
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    Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism


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