A perceptible and deep layer of groups and communities that exists between individuals and the modern state is called civil society. In Pakistan, it is an emerging arena for social and political change. It includes various organizations and associations that represent the interests of the majority population. These organizations and associations include trade unions, bar associations, teacher associations, peasant organizations, student groups and charities, etc.
In the contemporary world, every society is constantly changing due to various social and political events, technological and economic advancements. Generally, civil society provides individuals with means to contribute to the overall process of social development for the common good. The outcome of such a process of social development is social accountability which involves holding businesses, faith-based organizations and others accountable for their actions.
Social responsibility is necessary for the transparency of each process. It must be similar for all members of society. Generally, civil society provides a platform for the disorganized to organize. It provides means for the empowerment of voiceless segments of society to raise awareness about various social issues prevalent in society. Civil society also contributes to the governance process which includes policy development and implementation. Simply, it provides all participants with ways to build relationships and connections based on their values, behaviors and beliefs in order to contribute to the common good.
In developing countries, civil society actively participates in the process of social change. The society is organized into different segments and each segment works for its rights. For example, the women’s movement, the lawyers’ movement, anti-government movements like the PDM, religious movements and the struggle of teachers’ and doctors’ unions for their rights are gradually changing the face of society. Such movements put pressure on the government to keep its promises. The role of the media is always to support the groups in struggle. With the large presence of social media, it is not possible to strictly suppress such movements. Instead of such repression or the use of force, the government generally prefers to settle the matter through dialogue. Due to pressure from civil society and the availability of means of communication, the government’s style of governance is gradually changing.
Interestingly, it is a priority of the middle class to evolve in a way that carries tradition and modern lifestyle in parallel. A clear conflict is observable between the proponents of tradition and modernism. Today, Pakistani society is partly traditional and partly modern. He is in a transitional phase. From now on, civil society must play its part in identifying change, developing the acceptability of change and maintaining an appropriate pace of change because it will contribute to promoting stability and peace. Indeed, such a balanced and peaceful society is necessary for the prosperity of our nation.
Civil society also has a profound impact on culture. Culture is a complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, custom and other abilities acquired by people as members of society. The important force that can change a culture is the evolutionary process of civil society as well as exposure to other cultures, political and economic philosophies, social structures, religions, languages and styles of education.
Western influences are gradually affecting Pakistani culture. The status of human rights implementation in Pakistan is a complicated issue. Western ideas have changed the paradigm of education in the country. In Pakistan, the women’s march is another powerful factor of social change which also draws on certain Western inspirations. It gradually allows women to play their effective role in different sectors such as politics, high-level jobs and international sports. It is a movement against gender inequality.
The transformation of the common family system into the nuclear family system modifies the social interface. Today, Pakistani youth believe in independence and individuality. These have become causes for the evolution of civil society and have appeared as a clear cultural and social change.
Today, the media has become an important contributor to social change because of its power to rapidly disseminate information to the masses. In Pakistan, the media plays a positive role in raising awareness about gender bias, poverty eradication, harmony and peace. Media coverage of foreign content is gradually reshaping cultural, social and religious values. But on the other hand, the media also works in a positive way to educate the masses about current social and political issues and about religious harmony. It also highlights the movements and struggle for change.
Pakistani society is constantly changing due to all the factors described above. It oscillates between two poles; one is tradition and the other is modernism. People want to adopt a modern way of life and benefit from modern urban amenities. Due to modern technology, media and education, exposure to Western ideas is inevitable.
Interestingly, it is a priority of the middle class to evolve in a way that carries tradition and modern lifestyle in parallel. A frank conflict is observable between the proponents of tradition and modernism. Today, Pakistani society is partly traditional and partly modern. He is in a transitional phase. From now on, civil society must play its part in identifying change, developing the acceptability of change and maintaining an appropriate pace of change because it will contribute to promoting stability and peace. Indeed, such a balanced and peaceful society is necessary for the prosperity of our nation.