NEW YORK - A new report by Asia Society, an American organisation dedicated to promoting understanding with Asian people, has called for strengthening democratic governance in Pakistan where the militarys dominance of the countrys fiscal priorities and strategic calculus is one of the most importance challenges. For civilian institutions to take root and flourish over the next decade, the process of democratisation must continue, said the 59-page report released on Wednesday said. The report called for a strict adherence to term appointments for armed forces personnel by the civilian leadership will support the professionalization of the Pakistani military. Making the expenditures of the Pakistani military more transparent is critical and will require enacting parliamentary legislation through a legislative process similar to those followed by many governments worldwide, according to the report. The democratic leadership of Pakistan is struggling to consolidate and strengthen the civilian-led democratic institutions in a country that has been ruled by military generals for half of its existence as an independent state, added the report that was written by Hassan Abbas, director of Asia Societys Pakistan 2020 Study Group and Quaid-e-Azam Chair Professor at Columbia Universitys South Asian Institute in New York. The process of democratisation must continue, as there is no other way to expand civilian control over all institutions of the state, said the report: 'Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future. The group consisting of 30 leading experts, 15 each from Pakistan and the US include former diplomats, military leaders, and intelligence officials, journalists and media personalities, economists and development specialists, scientists, and experts in the fields of health, education, governance and law, and natural resources and the environment. Pakistan faces enormous challenges in the years ahead, said Prof Abbas, a former Pakistani police officer, who is also a fellow at the Asia Society. But the people of Pakistan have shown a remarkable resilience in addressing some of these challenges, and there is a high potential for reform and development in the country, he said. Progressive and constructive policy shifts in Pakistan, as suggested throughout the report, are what truly matter in the long term. Other steps proposed to strengthen democratic governance are: - Civilian supremacy in the Pakistani army can be established through the development of internal mechanisms, for example, by emphasizing democracy in military academies, making the Pakistani militarys budget transparent, and involving civilians in strategic decision-making processes; - The interests of the United States and other important allies of Pakistan will be better served by giving priority to strengthening relations with the democratic leadership and institutions of the country; - Achieving stability in Pakistan and strengthening democratic traditions in the coming decade will require all major Pakistani political parties to hold regular elections and enact term limits for their leaders, limit the areas where candidates can contest an election to their home constituencies, and establish a transparent mechanism by which funding can be provided to low-income candidates. Some of the major recommendations of the report are: - Independence of the judiciary a major Pakistani achievement in recent years needs to be further strengthened through respect for the separation of powers enshrined in the constitution and by providing financial autonomy to the countrys judicial institutions; - To fix the education system, spending on schools needs to rise from less than 1.5% to at least 4% of gross domestic product so girls dont drop out, boys dont end up in radical madrassas, and Pakistan overall can take part in Asias boom; - Along with proper upkeep of existing hydropower dams, more dams are needed to meet Pakistans current and future energy requirements; - Without a drastic overhaul of law enforcement, Pakistans internal security situation could worsen further. Major financial investment is needed for example, half of US funding allocated for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency support could be directed toward enhancing the forensic capabilities of law enforcement and supporting scientific investigations.