Academic journal article South Asian Studies

The Dynamics of International Political Economy Relationships and Its Influence on the Process of Democratisation, Institution Building and National Governance Structure in Pakistan

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

The Dynamics of International Political Economy Relationships and Its Influence on the Process of Democratisation, Institution Building and National Governance Structure in Pakistan

Article excerpt

Abstract

The political history of Pakistan is strongly associated with the international political economy circumstances. Constrained due to the geographical location and her position in the regional political circumstances immediately after the independence, Pakistan opted for an alliance with the United States. The nature of Pakistan's linkages with United States proved to be extremely counterproductive for the process of democratisation and prospects of institution-building. Various US administrations exploited the US-Pakistan's asymmetrical relationships by taking advantage of Pakistani army's alliance in pursuit of their imperialist policies in the Middle East, Cold War with USSR in Afghanistan and recently the War on Terror. Since, the authoritarian regimes continued to rule Pakistan under the auspices of US administrations, Pakistan remained stranded between the status of a complete autocracy and competitive authoritarianism since its independence till date. Pakistan has been one of the major recipients of foreign aid from US and other multilateral aid and development agencies but this aid has primarily been used to consolidate Pakistani army. The continuous inflow of development aid has had a negative rather than positive impact on Pakistan's economy and political institutions.

Key Words: Competitive Authoritarianism, Strategic Linkages, Foreign Aid, Democratization, Governance, Institution Building, Pakistan and USA.

Introduction

Due to higher degrees of predominant social and ethnic heterogeneities, the independence of most of the South Asian countries brought with it the problems of national and territorial integration in the post-independence era. One response to this problem was seen as states' increasing tendencies towards further centralisation of the affairs of government and reluctance to allow political and administrative autonomy to the peripheral regions (Mathur, 1983). The highly centralised and distant state structures were leftas legacies by the colonial administrations and such state hierarchies are still entrenched ubiquitously in almost all post-colonial states. Pakistan is no exception. However, after the culmination of cold war - in response to the pressures from changing circumstances, global monetary regulatory organisations, and domestic turbulences - many regimes in the developing world are now being compelled directly or indirectly for allowing political autonomy to regions in one or the other form.

In the contemporary globalised world, the political and economic orientations of the dominant states have had a tremendous impact on endogenous governing capacities (pertaining to the formal and informal rules in use) of the states in developing world. With the disintegration of Soviet Union 1991, the dynamics of international relations took an entirely new shape; the globalised world tilted towards uni-polarity in terms of political and economic power concentration and influence. 'The new international circumstances after 1990s meant that the West could attach explicit political and institutional conditions to aid without fear of losing its third world allies or clients to communism' (Leftwich, 1994: 369). The twilight of cold war between USSR and US marked the beginning of an international paradigm shiftand the impact of this transition in international political power relationships has drastically resulted in shaping up the new modalities and trajectories of the global and regional governance structures and practices around the globe.

The collapse of the socialist regimes ostensibly connotes the triumph of the neo-liberal paradigm as the World Bank, (1991) notes that the failures of the former communist states signifies that for the political systems in the third world, elements of the Western political systems such as political liberalisation and administrative decentralisation are effective and efficient governance models. Consequently, large- scale changes and transitions began to unfold not only in the geopolitical and strategic relationships and alliances among the states of increasingly globalised world but also within the domestic institutions of governance of the states. …

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