In the troubled and fragile South Asian democracy of
Pakistan, policymaking is traditionally carried out behind closed doors,
dominated by the political and bureaucratic elites. Policies hence made are
criticised for serving the interest of a few. At the end of the 1990s, this
trend was broken when the demand for ‘good governance’ introduced non-state
actors like domestic NGOs and think tanks in the country’s policy domain.
According to the data collected by Agha Khan Foundation in coordination with
the Civicus group, in 2001, a staggering 12,000–100,000 NGOs were registered in
Pakistan. Although the active domestic NGOs frequently claim positive policy
intervention that improves policies, widespread scepticism remains of their
exact role in the policy process. Commentators have described their involvement
in policymaking ‘as a quick way to grab easy money from international donor
agencies’. Bureaucratic actors also see domestic NGOs’ presence as nothing but
problematic. This ambiguity regarding the contribution of Pakistan’s domestic
NGOs in improving the policies demands empirical verification which this
research aims to undertake.
One troubled policy arena, which holds critical
significance for Pakistan, is that of police reforms. In 2018, Transperancy
International reproted that 86% of the Pakistanis percieve Pakistan Police
Services (PSP) as the most corrupt instituion of the country. Since the
country’s inception, in 1947, PSP is operating under the colonial police order
of 1861 (PO 1861) in which the superintendence of the police rested with the
state government (Article 3, Act V, PO 1861).The high politicisation,
inefficiency and corruption in PSP through PO 1861. PO 1861 is also called
unsuitable for the service delivery demands of an emerging democracy.
Notwithstanding the pressing demands, the country has so far failed in
sucessfully making or implementing new police reforms. Most recently, the
present government of Imran Khan, during the 2017 election campaign, also
promised new police reform but had failed so far due to the lack of consensus
among policy actors. The problem further aggrevated when the chairman of police
reform committee, a senior Inspector General (IG) police, also resigned.
Meanwhile, due to the link with criminal justice system, the chief justices of
Pakistan also intervened with an alternate police reform designed by the law
and justice commission, established by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In short,
it has become a challenge for this emerging democrcy of South Asia to make and
implement a comprehensive police reform.
Prelimenary research shows that in 2002, Pakistan
successfully implemented a new police reform, famously known as PO 2002,
nationwide. PO 2002 was made in the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB), using
collaborative methods of policymaking that involved domestic NGOs in the policy
process. This gives PO 2002 a formative value for this research, and it can be
used as a case study to evaluate the role of domestic NGOs in the arena of
police reforms in Pakistan. However, except that these domestic NGOs were
invited by NRB, no details of how these actors fared in the policy process are
available. Furthermore, PO 2002 was one police reform that was sucessfully
implemented ‘nationwide’ on 14 August 2002.