Political and Social Development in Pakistan

Table of Contents

Research Report



Research questions

Research Methodology

1.Primary data

2.Secondary data

Literature review


Independent variable Dependant variable


Definition of Variables


Social development

Political development


Time frame

Data Analysis

Validity and Reliability


Conclusions and Recommendations




The utility of development is to achieve both economic and social structure for the transformation of society. Phenomenon of development is about effectively integrating the various elements that are required for state to develop; these elements are mainly economic, social, political and administrative.

Pakistan is facing the problems in the context of both political and social development. People of the rural areas and the tribal areas such as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are still participating in electoral process that is the part of political development.

Pakistan is on the extremely low rank on Human Development Index (HDI) that is the sub component of Social development. Presently Pakistan is standing on the rank 147th and is having the HDI value just 0.515 in the year 2013. Pakistan stands among the worst performers in child and infant mortality. Another area that needs to be socially developed is health and mortality. Under 1 year of age, the total number of deaths are 69 per 1000, and it needs to be brought down to at least 40, according to the goals that need to be achieved by 2015. The reasons behind child mortality in Pakistan are found to be, not only the medical/healthcare facilities available for the infant and mother, but also the poor sanitation in mostly rural and remote parts of the country.

In accordance with the estimation made by World Bank in 2010, around 80% of the world’s most poor people live in just 10 countries, amongst which Pakistan has the 7th rank. The UNDP 2013 report states that 21% of the total population of Pakistan are earning less than $ 1.25/day and are living below the poverty line. Eradicating poverty is one of the Millennium Development Goals as well NGOs may prove to be effective to achieve the goals.

These NGOs are having interventions on national level in the countries where they are operating. The NGOs can be involved at planning and implementation levels. NGOs’ impact on the grass-roots can be described as empowerment of the underprivileged people of society.

There is a substantial amount of literature present on the activities carried out by NGOs that plays any role in relevance to social growth of Pakistan, but no study has been undertaken regarding the political development in relevance to NGOs. This study is an attempt to fulfill the gap in literature, and would prove to be the first brick towards the development of literature in this area.


The main objective of this study is to examine the impact of various activities being carried out by NGOs on contribution towards political and social development of the state.


Limited role of NGOs in Pakistan’s politics has led to lack of accountability and transparency in various political processes and social development of the state.

Research Questions:

  • What role does NGOs play in social development of Pakistan?
  • To examine if the NGOs succeeded or failed to deliver their services in the political development?
  • To determine what possible course could be adopted if the part NGOs is inconsiderable in political and social development of state.

Theoretical Framework:

NGOs play their part as a soft power and helps in strong economic development; they show the positive side of human nature, their main focus in on individual so the Non Governmental Organizations came under the liberalist school of thought. I have discussed the role of NGOs in socio-political development of state and supported my arguments keeping liberalism in focus.

Research Methodology:

Set of working methods and procedures that are being adopted to forgo this research process are mentioned as under.

1. Primary Data

  • Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Interviews

The focus group discussion (FGD) is a rapid assessment, semi‐structured data gathering method in which a purposively selected set of participants gather to discuss issues and concerns base on a list of key themes drawn up by the researcher/facilitator (Kumar 1987). I have arranged a FGD between the students of Bahria University, National defense University, and International Islamic university who are living in Taxila, Wah Cantt and Islamabad. There were 2 sessions and each lasted about 1hour.

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No studies regarding Political development in context of Pakistan was found so primary data sources were being utilized such as the interviews of several individuals who attended the workshops arranged by the NGOs, for making them aware about the political processes were also taken.

2. Secondary Data

Secondary data consists of the sources that do not contain firsthand knowledge or information.

  • Books
  • Internet
  • News papers
  • Case Studies

Literature Review:

Role of NGOs is described by many among which, Lewis summarized its three basic roles:

  • Being the implementers,
  • The catalysts and
  • The partners.

The implementer role is concerned with the mobilization of available resources to provide goods and services to deserving. Where as the catalyst role is the ability to inspire, facilitate or contribute to promote change and partner reflect the growing trend of NGOS to work with government.

NGOs in the field are rapidly increasing but their potentials have remained unutilized because of diversity in their role. In 1980s, NGOs got attention in different areas of the development community. Crenea (1988) argued that NGOs came into the limelight after the attention was given by the individuals in area policies development.

Hulme and David (1997), debated NGOs promote and utilize volunteerism; they can be more productive than government. NGOs encourage social change and protect individual rights by influencing social or market policies. (Kim, H., 2007) NGOs also participate in government policy formulation.

NGOs in Pakistan are more active in the traditional social sectors: emergency support, rehabilitation health and education. Literature review pointed out the need for capacity building for NGOs in Pakistan. (Study of NGOs in Pakistan, 1999).

In a research study of a NGO named Akhuwat, an Islamic MF provider, the authors (W. Akhter, N. Akhter & Jafferi, 2009) found that an Islamic Microfinance provider is playing an important part in poverty alleviation, they cater the needs of clients, who have socially excluded themselves from the interest based conventional system, so they are providing hem interest free finances through which they can start their own new businesses. This NGO Akhuwat is thus contributing towards Social and human development.


Independent variable Dependant variable

Definition of Variables


Non-governmental organization(NGO) normally refers to institutions that are basically working for the benefit of society and do not operate for earning profits. They are usually formed by individuals, and can be financed by the governing parties, foundations or businesses. NGOs are engaged in different activities. NGOs may be fronts for various interest groups.

Social Development:

World Bank defines the Social Development as; “The process of increasing;

  • The assets and capabilities of individuals to improve their wellbeing.
  • The capacity of social groups to exercise agency, transform their relationships with other groups, and participate in development processes.
  • The ability of society to reconcile the interests of its constituent elements, govern itself peacefully, and manage change.”

Social development is to put all the focus on development of individuals in society. Which simply means that the party who is going to be benefit most out of development must be the people, that should not be limited to poverty alleviation but also a recognition that people, and the way they interact in groups and society, and the norms that facilitates such interaction, shape development processes.

Political Development:

Han Park’s formal definition of political development is as follows: “Political development may be defined in terms of the capacity of the political system to satisfy the changing needs of the members of the society” (Park, 1984).

Main Discussion:

Objective-based NGOs:

Most NGOs in Pakistan get resources and aid from foreign organizations. For example giant global networks like UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund Association), US-AID, UNESCO work with different NGOs in certain projects that ensure protection of human rights in Pakistan.

With the expansion in NGOs, work towards political and social development has been initiated. The objective-based NGOs working in Pakistan are mainly focused on one specific target. There are NGOs working for rights of Human, Women, Children, Labour, Journalists, Religious minorities etc. There are plenty of organizations solely dedicated to working for welfare of youth, education, literacy and vocational training. Some NGOs work especially for adult-based education. There are plenty of NGOs working in health sector for mental health, maternity, population welfare, free eye care, drug addiction, cancer research, HIV aids, blood diseases, disability support etc. Rural, urban and community development programs are conducted by some NGOs.

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NGOs working for Social Development:

NGOs have enormously worked on the social development of Pakistan. There are above 800 NGOs which are working in social development sector. Those organizations cover almost all the ignored aspects of society.

Examples: Depilex Smileagain foundation is working for acid-burnt women. Their goal is not only to treat affected women but also to educate them enough to be a productive part of the society. This organization conducts special programs that train such women to stand up for themselves and continuous treatment gives hope to them. Along with conducting medical surgery, this NGO arranges for support groups and arranges for their job placement. Withholding to its name, this organization is voicing out its concerns about educating the society to end this issue once and for all and pleading to government for taking legal actions against it.

There is an organization named Aahung, which has been working since 1995. The Aahung is an NGO operating all over in Pakistan has a name in working for human rights. Main purpose of this NGO is to give sexual and reproductive health awareness to men, women and adolescents. Since the topic of sexual education is taboo in Pakistan given our culture, society’s mindset and self-implied religious barricade, it’s a huge step on this organization’s part to implicate a medium of consciousness on this topic. In the long run, this will affect the country in most productive way if there is a possible way to control population. This can only be achieved if proper education and knowledge is spread amongst masses at a bigger level. Aahung is one such organization, which not only work towards providing services that protect sexual rights of an individual but it also collaborates with certain social and academic institutes in providing education towards this subject.

NGOs working for Political Development:

Given the political upheaval in Pakistan, there are very few NGOs which are working in political development sector. NGOs that are operating in this sector are not directly involved but they are indirectly working in cooperation with other organizations, which are either government operated or semi-government. Therefore, it’s hard to evaluate transparency of such organizations.

NDI, IRI, UNDP, Aurat Foundation, SPO, The Asia foundation, DRI, PILDAT, FAFE are few organizations whose names are occasionally taken in media for working in political sector but the problem is that these organizations work seldom on political development sector or might be they are not getting acknowledgment from the government.

NDI (National Democratic Institute) and PILDAT (Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency), are operating entirely independently and are focused in organizing different training sessions for youth, parliamentarians and women. Their goal is to strengthen the democracy and their recent projects were inducting training sessions for several party members and inviting them on one discussion forum.

PILDAT is an entirely research based organization responsible for presenting legislations before parliament on issues like poverty-reduction, economy, trade etc. This governing body works closely with Parliament and Executive for guaranteeing a rational making of public policy, forming a think tank to attain progress.

NDI is nowadays conducting an orientation for a policy-making group. This group consists of trainees who are recruited after a tough evaluation and they are responsible to come up with innovative ideas that can be translated in form of a policy. Therefore, youth is targeted as a tool to solidify the policy-making system of country and encouraging future policy-makers to understand the political system and take initiative.

FAFEN (Free and Fair Elections Network), since 2009 has been actively involved in forming an enhanced framework for elections in Pakistan. Their recent projects include establishing election data center, mapping human rights organizations in Pakistan, strategic observation of election in Pakistan, mobilization of women voters etc. Their upcoming and on-going projects ensure eradication of mudded conduction of election, monitoring violence in elections and enhancing lucidity in elections for a long-term.

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NGO’s operating nowadays are focusing on RTI (Rights to information), therefore utilizing technology in their favor to accomplish their goals. NGOs like CDPI (Centre of Peace and Development Initiatives) and Bytes for All (B4A), work with ambition of utilizing digital platform for freedom of expression and protecting security and privacy rights. This organization works in both socio-political development sectors, utilizing communication mediums to achieve human rights and e-governance.

Validity and Reliability:

Validity refers to the accuracy or truthfulness of a measurement. In simple words it can be said as; are we measuring what we think we are measuring? There are no statistical tests to measure validity. All assessments of validity are subjective opinions based on the judgment of the researcher.

Reliability is synonymous with repeatability or stability. A measurement that yields consistent results over time is said to be reliable. When a measurement is prone to random error, it lacks reliability. The same findings are being shown in context of social development with the help of qualitative research conducted on working of NGOs. Since 2009, NGOs are actively participating in goals that were only paper-based before.


The findings of this study are presented in view of certain limitations. Due to the scarcity of research studies, a lot of time was spent on gathering the relevant data material from the Internet or relevant books.

Due to time shortage, interviews have only being taken from the individuals of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which makes the findings limited. With fewer respondents, tracking the Political development of Pakistan was comprised slightly.

Conclusions and Recommendations:

· Conclusion:

Hence from the above discussion it can safely be concluded that NGOs play an active part in the social development process of Pakistan, whereas Policitcal sector is lacking a bit. In objectives of the NGOs, its mentioned that they are targeting this area but truthfully, a lot of work is being required for the Political development. Government of Pakistan should intervene to make necessary arrangements, providing funds and resources so that the gap in context of political development could be fulfilled.

· Recommendations:

The objective of this research was to evaluate and examine the impact of various activities being carried out by NGOs on contribution towards political and social development of the state. Further work on this area is required for the country to prosper both socially and politically.

  • The study needs to be done on countrywide level, to determine the gaps on part of institutions.
  • Necessary course of actions must be taken to remove the obstacles that are coming in the way towards strengthening the country both socially and politically.


In news of 15th April, Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa government has agreed to give aid to active organizations that would renew their MOU (memorandum of understanding), thus the argument of NGO officials about lacking resources is nullified. Transparency can only be ensured if NGO operators put the funding in good use and work according to the objectives they mention on their official papers.


Akhter, W., Akhtar, N., & Jaffri, S. K. A. (2009). Islamic micro-finance and poverty alleviation: A case of Pakistan.2nd CBRC.

Huntington, S. P. (1965). Political development and political decay.World Politics,17(03), 386-430.

Kim, H. (2007). Discuss the impact of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their limits and opportunities in relation to social development and civil society, making particular reference to examples from a selected country or countries.Social Policy Analysis, SLSP,5112, 16-22.

Lewis, D. (2014). Non-governmental Organizations, Management and Development. Routledge.

Nye, J. S. (1967). Corruption and political development: a cost-benefit analysis. The American Political Science Review, 417-427.

Park (1984). Grounding political development. Two recent conceptions of political development. Accessed online on 12-April-2014.



Express Tribune 15th April, 2014

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