Daily Archives: August 24, 2008

Shahbaz Sharif sets a leadership benchmark

<By Raza Rumi

While the pundits have rambled on the venality of the politician and the slothfulness of the bureaucracy, Pakistan’s largest province has witnessed the rise of a unique phenomenon in terms of provincial public management articulated by its second-time Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. In terms of efficacy of the public services and the administration of state machinery, the younger Sharif has set a leadership benchmark that daunts the political class as a whole. What are the points of departure here and how did this formidable image develop in less than a decade?

From 1997-99, arguably not a long stint in office, Shahbaz Sharif demonstrated the maximalist application and range of political will — from policy setting to micro-managerial interventions. It was a style that went down well with the populace, sent shivers down the imaginary backbones of the civil service and took the entrenched mafias and vested interests by huge shock. In the quest for an administrative style that could ‘deliver’, the younger Sharif was undaunted and bold. Exogenous factors admittedly were at play: a powerful government managed by the elder Sharif at the Centre, two thirds majority in the Punjab legislature tremendously helped in this quest for efficient public administration. Continue reading

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