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Thread: What imperils democracy?

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  1. #1
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    What imperils democracy?

    Every now and then there has been talk of threats to democracy at the hands of the forces inimical to representative rule and civilian leadership and, given the country’s history, such arguments often appear to carry weight.

    Then it is difficult to count the number of times analysts on the media have said how the military has expanded its influence over many areas such as internal security, defence and foreign policy to name just a few and the GHQ’s ascendancy has seen a proportionate shrinkage of the civilian role in decision-making.

    When the first civilian-to-civilian transition happened following the 2013 elections, after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N edged past the number of seats required to form a government in Islamabad on its own, optimism was spurred because it was believed that unencumbered by the compromises of a coalition, the party would deliver exemplary governance.

    It was also believed that the PML-N’s considerable experience in power, and more significantly in the opposition, would allow it to form and run a government that would be the envy of all political parties in the country. There was no doubt Pakistan needed good, sure-footed governance. The country was being torn apart by terrorist violence and crippling power shortages were threatening to stall industry and consequently the economy. Left unaddressed for long, challenges of poverty, unemployment and lack of healthcare and education were threatening to assume crisis-like dimensions.

    While the conduct of many PML-N leaders may make them look like political jokers, they will struggle to compete with the PPP.
    When Nawaz Sharif formed his cabinet, comprised mainly of a trusted group of lieutenants, who re*mained loyal to him during his period in the political wilderness from 1999 to 2007, there was near-consensus among commentators that his entire team would be on the same page and speak as one on critical issues.

    Fast forward to the autumn of 2015 and where are we? Well many of the ministers are not on talking terms with each other. This is no speculation. Look at Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s statement that he doesn’t need to ‘go through’ the defence minister for discussions with GHQ.

    Nisar Ali Khan seemed to be responding to Khawaja Asif, who wears the defence and water and power ministerial hats. He proudly told the media that he hadn’t spoken with cabinet colleague Nisar Ali Khan in some four years but that didn’t mean they couldn’t work together in the national interest. Only Khawaja Asif will know the exact meaning of his rather cryptic statement.

    His own performance as defence minister is as grand as that of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as policy in both their ministries is being dictated and executed by GHQ, with the ministers, of course, invited now and then to make public appearances on key national holidays/occasions. As for Nisar Ali Khan, the less said the better after the army shredded his desire to hold talks with the Taliban.

    Now let’s turn to the performance of the power ministry. Astronomical amounts of ‘circular debt’ (the first tranche was more than Rs300 billion many years ago) continues to be ‘parked’ God knows where and at last count had more zeros than I can count.

    The Nandipur power plant disaster has so far seen only a bureaucratic head roll. In a democracy one would have liked to see political leadership held to account too. But that desire is never likely to be fulfilled as the project has a bit of a special status.

    Technically, it falls under the water and power ministry, but in reality Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son are known to oversee not just this but many other power projects too. Where the prime minister’s close family members are running key projects (who will hold them to account for failures?), the equivalent of crumbs is left for the ministers in charge of ministries.

    Their obvious frustration spills over in other ways. It was a bit of a joke to see Khawaja Asif and the petroleum minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, attacking in public the Planning Commission run by Wharton-educated Ahsan Iqbal who, for his part, rushed to the prime minister to complain and got a vague statement of support from him.

    There are dozens of other stories one could mention. This is about the cabinet frictions only. If you cast a wider eye on the PML-N you’ll find considerable evidence of bickering in the province such as the current infighting involving Faisalabad party stalwart Chaudhry Sher Ali who has accused key Punjab minister Rana Sanaullah of being responsible for 20 murders. While the conduct of many PML-N leaders and ministers may make them look like political jokers, they will struggle to compete with the PPP. The party which once had a finger on the pulse of the electorate and reflected the aspirations of the masses now needs a committee to ascertain the causes of its electoral debacles.

    If it was really unaware of why it has lost public appeal and endorsement and was earnest about finding out the reason, it should have asked a panel of outsiders to analyse and report back. Now a group of senior leaders who have collectively brought the party to this pass by not challenging the leader will report back to themselves with their assessment. Utterly painful joke if one could call it that.

    This is a critical period for democracy in the country. Pakistanis are not renowned for their memory. So, after the launch of Zarb-i-Azb and a sharp decline in terrorist incidents across the country there is very little discussion on how and why the militants got so strong. Given the sacrifices of the soldiers on the front line there is hardly any room left to examine the state’s use of non-state actors/assets.

    The only way to safeguard democracy is for the political class to raise its game to unprecedented levels, deliver good governance and earn a reputation as serious and competent players. If the politicians can’t do that they’ll be left to blame themselves and lament their fate.

    The writer is a former editor of Dawn.

    [email protected]

    Published in Dawn, October 17th , 2015
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    [MENTION=3250]sparkling[/MENTION]

    Damnocracy Khatray main hai!! Call Mr. Almeida, he can be counted on rub "the boys" noses in it -- yet honest observers and Mr. Almeida is one, will agree, no one, and no institution, imperils Pakistani Democracy as do it's political parties and the structure of politics the leaders of these parties have erected.



    Internal wars of political parties

    By Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi
    Published: October 18, 2015

    The writer is an independent political and defence analyst. He is also the author of several books, monographs and articles on Pakistan and South Asian affairs



    Political parties are integral to democracy. It is not possible to think of any type of democratic political order without the existence of an open and competitive party system. However, political parties are not always helpful to democracy if they fail to imbibe a democratic culture and do not perform their role within a democratic framework. Political parties can cut both ways: a source of strength for democracy as well as a threat to democratic values and norms depending on how they function, deal with their internal organisational matters, mobilise people on the basis of a socioeconomic programme and help them make intelligent choices for electing their leaders and opting for policy options.

    Pakistan’s political parties have invariably been fiefdoms of the top leaders who run them like oligarchic political machines. Most parties are identified by their leader and, if you exclude that leader, the party becomes a ship without a rudder. In fact, in some cases, the name of the leader is part of the party’s name.


    In Pakistan, political parties are required by law to hold internal elections. Such elections are merely a formality to fulfil legal requirements. However, whenever a party attempts to hold open and competitive elections, it runs into serious organisational problems. The PTI held open and competitive elections in 2013-14, which caused factional conflicts, charges and counter-charges of manipulation of the elections through the use of money and other means. The major reason for this is that in the absence of a democratic culture, most competing groups in a political party are not willing to accept results that go against them. Thus, open and competitive elections within parties that lack a democratic culture prove to be disruptive. While the PTI has faced internal problems after its internal elections, it continues to demonstrate organisational skills by holding big public meetings and its election campaign in the Lahore NA-122 by-election was well-managed.

    The ruling PML-N is in the grip of internal conflict caused by strong ego drives of some of its leaders. Four cabinet members have talked against one another and the forthcoming local government elections are exposing internal cracks within the party. Events in Faisalabad and Bahawalnagar highlight these cracks.

    Three major factors explain the PML-N’s internal fights. First, Nawaz Sharif runs the party and the government in a highly personalised manner with the help of his favourite political leaders and bureaucrats. The governance methodology of Shahbaz Sharif is also highly personalised as he relies exclusively on his favourite bureaucrats. Formal state institutional arrangements hardly matter to these two leaders who have created their personalised networks, if not empires. Several senior party leaders and federal ministers have also created their own little empires comprising select bureaucrats and political loyalists. They have also developed strong egos. Consequently, every issue is judged on the basis of personalised considerations, resulting in direct and indirect conflict among ministers.

    Second, the non-transparency in electricity generation projects, especially the Nandipur issue, import of LNG, the petrol crisis earlier this year, and the growing pressure from the opposition and media on these issues, have caused intra-government tension and conflict, with each ministry defending itself and blaming other departments for its failure or poor performance. The ministers relevant to these issues refuse to accept that there has been any mismanagement in these sectors. The position of Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has become redundant because the prime minister office and the army headquarters interact directly. The defence minister’s anti-military reputation also adversely affects his capacity to interact with the military.

    Third, the increased reliance of the federal government on the military for internal and external security and foreign policy has created a crisis of confidence within the PML-N. This approach may have saved the Sharif government against pressures from the opposition in 2014-15, but it has gone against Nawaz Sharif’s habit of personalised governance. The uncertainties of the civil-military relationship are coupled with sharp criticism from the opposition and a section of the media on bad governance, corruption and kickbacks in high-profile projects. All this is viewed by Nawaz Sharif’s close associates as a conspiracy to remove him from power. Consequently, the prime minister has to adopt a soft approach towards internal party conflicts so that the alleged conspiracy against him does not gather strength. This makes it easy for cabinet members to engage in personal feuding.


    The feuding ministers are not expected to resign because they do not have autonomous standing in the public’s eye. If any one of them resigns, he will be pushed into the wilderness. None will be welcomed in any opposition party; nor do they see this as their future. All of them will stay on in the party and continue with their personal and ego-based fights.

    The PPP faces its gravest ever internal crisis, which can make it totally irrelevant in electoral politics if it does not address the three inter-related crises of leadership, organisation and ideology. It will have to sideline Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, and bring about leadership changes in Punjab and Sindh. The party cannot be reorganised in Punjab without off-loading some of its top leaders. Furthermore, it needs to consider reclaiming its identity as the voice of the poor.

    The by-election in NA-122 exposed, once again, the divisions and splits among the religious parties. Some stood by the PML-N while others supported Imran Khan. Interestingly enough, the religious parties that shared a denominational identity with the Taliban and sympathy for militancy supported the PML-N.

    These weaknesses in the party system cannot be removed by passing new laws to regulate them. The major political parties should make self-corrections in their organisational structures and political agendas, and control their feuding leaders. This will improve internal harmony of the parties and strengthen their role, which will reinforce democracy in Pakistan.

  3. #3
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Damnocracy, that's the religion you really really want to be a part of, because the gods of damnocracy does not just promise an after life, the gods of damnocracy offers and makes good on the promise of profitable life of luxury in this life, in this world, right here, right now, consider:



    Pakistan and the world

    By Rasul Bakhsh Rais
    Published: October 27, 2015
    The writer is a professor of political science at LUMS



    Every time our prime minister visits an important country, like the United States, the question that comes to dominate the media and political conversation is: how much help are we going to get? I have never heard anyone raising any question about what Pakistan is going to give to this or that country. Pakistan has become a perpetual client, seeking loans, grants and any help in the form of cash from foreign sources, mainly because of poor policies of governance, mismanagement of the economy, corruption and the inability to take right and difficult decisions. The elite prefer foreign monies of every type because they send a good part of it to foreign accounts through informal channels, barring very few exceptions. The elite have a pact, most significantly symbolised by the National Reconciliation Ordinance (2007), to grant immunity to one another for the continuity of ‘democracy’.

    While the world, most importantly our friends in China, the Muslim world and the West, would like to see us succeed by building on our strengths, developing resources and by providing honest, clean and rule-bound governance, the ruling groups show hardly any credible commitment to building the country. They have neither the discipline of the Chinese Communist Party nor the open competition that we see in industrial democracies. They know they can get away with their financial crimes against a poor and helpless country.

    They have played a number of games to keep their power unchallenged. Chief among them is their constant effort to cripple laws and institutions of accountability. Second, they have kept the people, the electorate, notably in Sindh and Balochistan — the poorest of all — backward, uneducated and mired in traditions that end up enslaving the populace. Finally, they have gradually converted public institutions, like the district administration, the police and other departments into their private spheres.

    Those who know the ruling groups inside-out will tell you that they don’t belong to Pakistan. They function like who rob, extract and siphon off public funds, and then escape. No effective state in the world would allow robbers to rule. Interestingly, the elite groups that have, and continue to govern Pakistan, rule a large state possessing plenty of natural resources, hard-working people and nuclear weapons.

    Three of the features of Pakistan — its nuclear capability, large size of restive population and religious radicalismmake the world concerned about the country. The world doesn’t want Pakistan to remain weak, in constant conflict, unstable and underdeveloped. We should know better that it is in our national interest and in the interest of our future generations that failures would generate multiple conflicts and would tear us apart. What happened to Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Yemen, and of course to Afghanistan, can also happen here, if misrule and the decline of institutions is not stopped.

    Pakistani leaders and their mouthpieces in the media continuously weave conspiracy theories centering on foreign enemies working to ensure the country’s failure. It is obvious that our adversaries will do everything to undermine us, but more than real or imagined adversaries, it is the country’s leadership that has, and continues to fail Pakistan. The real, big enemy lies within.

    Sadly, the current crop of Pakistani leaders has no sense of history of progress or why and how other countries have done better. Our own history would inform them that we have done far better than other countries at certain points in time. The problem is systematic corruption at the scale that has been witnessed in the past three decades. It is the culture of immunity of the corrupt elite that continues to retard our progress, making us dependent on others.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ArshadK's Avatar
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    I think its taken for granted that we have insincere and corrupt leadership. The issue we need to examine is how do we get rid of them and move on. Do the majority of us want to move on?

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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArshadK View Post
    I think its taken for granted that we have insincere and corrupt leadership. The issue we need to examine is how do we get rid of them and move on. Do the majority of us want to move on?

    Could it be that Damnocracy really isn't about "majority" or "minority" and such - look, in the last joint statement published after the visit of NS to DC, the US has offered support for "Democracy" under the leadership of NS -- What is being said by the US? to whom?

    Recall Damnocracy was meant to be a means to an end, not an end in itself. If Damncracy is imagined as a magnificent building, then clearly how it was designed is important, the methods used to construct it ground breaking and worthy of emulation, the materials used to constructed equally ground breaking, the talent and know how of the architects, foremen, laborers and specially designed machines equally praise worthy - The building is not just designed and constructed for function, it so exceeds it's functional aspect, that it qualifies as art -- yes?? or no?? Lets go with yes and we can build our case. Can we make the case that this is so of Damnocracy in Pakistan?

    Now, if in this building all that happens is theft, that is the transfer of public property to private accounts, What can we say about the design of the structure?? What can we say about it's function, what can we say about how it was constructed? What can we say about those who put it together??

    The Majority -- is this a consideration?? sorry, lets rephrase this, Ought it be a consideration?? WHY? After all, if they cannot care to save themselves, then the choices are to drown with them, OR because they will tend to remain in stasis until an unbalanced force acts upon them, there is a need for constant pressure to be exerted towards a desirable end, thereby ensuring if nothing else a consciousness about methods to achieve those ends.

    I think it's not unreasonable to say that most reading here, want to see Pakistan as a efficient engine, but lets be fair, one must first know what a efficient engine is, and WHY, it's necessary - - look at those of us who want this for Pakistan, we are all outsiders, we are all people for whom this building, this engine does not work -- But it works for some, that's why it's still being used, how do we get through to them?? What incentive do they have to build a better model??? What incentive can we give them to build a better model??
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Friends

    Something strange is going on in Pakland - PML=N is actually behaving like a governing party that is interesting in GOVERNING - over the last week, NS has asked all ministers to meet with media and any other professionals and answer their questions about policies and programs that media or experts have questions or concerns about -- that is quite incredible, of course it's Pakland and we ought not expect 100 percent implementation, but even 80 percent is quite impressive.

    An inquiry into a diplomatic fiasco at the UN

    and then this and if it continues like this we may have to change the title of the thread, we can't have that, will the real PML=N please come out and get back to robbing the country, oh wait, that hasn't stopped, I suppose governance has limits:



    Policy on deported Pakistanis to be finalised in a week
    Iftikhar A. Khan — Updated Nov 03, 2015 07:39am

    Pakistan not to be allowed to become dumping ground of international criminals: Nisar says.

    ISLAMABAD: A policy paper defining standard operating procedure (SOP) on accepting deportees from other countries will be prepared and sent to the country’s foreign missions abroad in a week.

    This was decided in a high-level meeting, chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, who said that Pakistan would not be allowed to become a dumping ground for criminals from other countries.

    What prompted the interior ministry to take this decision was a scam unearthed earlier this year where help was being provided for illegal transfers of international drug barons to Pakistan and releasing convicts brought to the country without completing their jail terms.


    In March, Chaudhry Nisar said that more than 40 drug traffickers and peddlers had been brought illegally to Pakistan from Sri Lanka and Thailand. He added that one of these men had undertaken 19 foreign visits after entering Pakistan. The others, he claimed, had also gone abroad more than once.

    Only three of them were in jail while most of them were abroad. According to Chaudhry Nisar, all of them had been brought to Pakistan under an agreement on exchange of offenders. Under the agreement, Pakistani nationals have to complete a part of their sentence in the country where they are convicted and are brought to Pakistan to complete the remaining jail term.

    A powerful mafia within the interior ministry, in collusion with jail authorities and FIA functionaries, facilitates them to get free through fraudulent means to get their share out of the drug money,” said the minister.

    During Monday’s meeting, the minister directed a clear SOP for return of deported Pakistanis. A committee was formed for preparing the SOP and interacting with the ministry of foreign affairs and Pakistani missions abroad.

    The minister said a clearance should be sought from the ministry before issuing a temporary travel document to a Pakistani deported from any other country. He added that Pakistan would not accept any deportee till their nationality was determined and they had obtained the reasons behind their deportation.

    The meeting was also informed that there was no link of Usman Ghani, a Pakistani recently deported from Italy, to the Army Public School attack in Peshawar or any other incident.

    The minister directed the authorities concerned to complete the merger of the National Crisis Management Cell and the National Counter-Terrorism Authority soon.

    Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2015
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Published reports and the ISPR quote Gen Raheel Sharif at the end of a Corps commanders meeting of internal and regional security, suggesting that the government must match the efforts of the armed forces in bringing good governance to areas afflicted by the Islamist insurgency - Can we expect the government to act in it's own interests??

    Problem is that you and I understand "own interests" differently from the 19th century mentality of the Pakistani politicians - so yes, we can expect the government to act in it's self interest, but that does not mean doing the right thing for Pakistan, unfortunately


    Is Pakistan out of the woods?
    By Talat Masood
    Published: November 10, 2015

    The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and a former federal secretary. He has also served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board


    As the year draws to a close, it would be useful to assess the country’s state of overall strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly, around a year and a half ago a high-profile group of former foreign ministers, ambassadors and intellectuals of Western countries were visiting Pakistan to assess the critically precarious political and security situation. During my interaction with them, I maintained that Pakistan has overcome several crises and would also muddle through this one. My remarks were received with cynicism and were brushed aside. However, my optimism was based on reason. Being older than Pakistan and having witnessed much greater upheavals, I saw no reason why the country with its exceptional resilience cannot overcome a relatively less turbulent period. More importantly, one could discern that although state institutions still suffered from major weaknesses, there was overall incremental improvement. However, time has now arrived that we graduate from being in a state of crisis to being a normal country, but the challenge in this regard remains a daunting one.

    The courageous leadership displayed by General Raheel Sharif and his team has turned the tables against the militants and they are on the retreat in Fata. Pockets of resistance in North Waziristan, especially in the mountainous Shawal Valley, still exist due to the porous border and it will be a while before complete control is established. What is lacking, however, is the extremely slow return of internally displaced persons and the reassertion of civilian control. The slow follow-up on the restructuring of Fata is a reflection of political inertia and indicates the dominance of the military in civilian affairs. Unless the prime minister does not personally lead in bringing legislative and administrative reforms, Fata will remain grounded in backwardness and military successes achieved so far might end up being reversed.

    What is also worrying is the inflated build-up of the military’s image in a society that is in the process of democratic transition. We tend to forget that Pakistan had 46 years of dictatorship or semi-dictatorship compared to merely 21 years of civilian rule. Excessive glorification of any institution has not paid in the past and will not serve any interests in the future either. Achievements speak for themselves as the security situation has changed dramatically. With the passage of each month, incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have been decreasing and the national narrative too has changed accordingly. For years, security remained the central national issue but as the situation has improved, priority has shifted towards the energy sector and the economy. This is a clear validation of the military’s achievements.

    The security situation in Balochistan has also clearly improved. Efforts at political reconciliation seem to be slowly showing results as many dissident groups have laid down their arms although the Baloch Liberation Front does continue to strike at political opponents and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s (LeJ) murderous campaign has not stopped. Political parties need to be more proactive and should not leave everything to the military, especially when it comes to leading in matters that fall in the civilian domain.

    The law and order situation in Karachi is on the mend and this is owed primarily to the intelligence-based cleansing operation launched by the Rangers. But the PPP’s poor governance and soiled reputation, coupled with the MQM’s reluctance to shed its militant wing remains serious obstacles to good governance and stability in the long term. A political culture based on family orientation and patronage is another obstacle towards making Pakistan a more egalitarian society. Hopefully, widespread education, land reforms and continuity in national and local government elections will facilitate the throwing up of new leadership from the grassroots level.

    The prolonged dharna of the PTI was highly detrimental to the evolution of democracy. In order to ward off its onslaught, Nawaz Sharif had to yield additional space to the military in areas of foreign, defence and internal matters. To retrieve lost ground, the PML-N will have to improve performance and gain the confidence of the people. Had Imran Khan pursued parliamentary politics instead of protesting on the streets, he would have served his party’s and the national cause more effectively. He still has time to play a major role at the provincial and national levels. Imran’s attributes of honesty and being single-minded of purpose are assets that the country needs for harnessing clean and competitive politics.

    The economy has stabilised, but suffers from structural weaknesses and is heavily dependent on foreign assistance. The tax regime needs a major overhaul. Overall improvement in the political and security situation has given rise to international confidence as the risk factor has reduced. Pakistan’s GDP is projected to reach 4.5 per cent by 2016. However, continued power shortages, weak external demand and a sluggish agriculture sector that grew only by three per cent are impediments to growth.

    The construction of the economic corridor linking Kashgar in China to Gwadar is likely to be a transformational project. The Chinese investment of $46 billion is likely to open fresh opportunities and trigger international confidence. The project’s success is closely linked to the security situation in Balochistan and the military is making serious efforts at ensuring this by engaging in dialogue with dissident elements, and where necessary, taking firm military action. There is, however, a need to strengthen political parties in the province and give them a larger say in governance and policy issues. Balochistan’s politics cannot continue to remain securitised.

    Pakistan has been under severe criticism for its inaction or even support of militants that were targeting Afghanistan. These accusations seem to be wilting as the military has successfully cleared sanctuaries in Fata occupied by the TTP and other allied foreign and local militant groups. Ironically, the rise of Hindu nationalism in India makes Pakistan look good, but until we seriously tackle Punjab-based militant organisations like the Jamaatud Dawa, the LeJ and the 40-odd other outfits that were recently proscribed, the stigma attached to us will not go away.

    The lesson from 68 years of our history clearly indicates that if Pakistan were to succeed as a functioning democracy, there has to be continuity of the election process and strengthening of institutions. This will only be possible if the civilian leadership improves governance, takes interest in parliament and energises state institutions so that informal powers recede into the background.

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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    We have tried to let the "big picture" express it self, but how do the "The nuts and bolts" of dysfunction, of dystopia function??:



    SC issues arrest warrants for PML-N MNA
    By Hasnaat Malik
    Published: November 18, 2015


    PHOTO: NA.GOV.PK

    ISLAMABAD:
    The Supreme Court issued on Wednesday arrest warrants for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Chaudhry Abid Raza for involvement in the murder of six people in Gujrat.

    The PML-N MNA who had won NA-107 Gujrat 4 election during the May 2013 general elections was awarded death penalty by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in 2003. However, Raza was acquitted after the families of the deceased forgave him on the basis of compromise.

    A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, while hearing the case related to Raza’s disqualification, took notice over his acquittal in terrorism charges. The bench stated that a compromise for a case under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (ATA) is not allowed.

    Arrest warrants were issued for Raza despite arguments put forward by his advocate, Ali Zafar.

    The hearing of the case has been adjourned for two weeks.

    Chaudhry Abid Raza was convicted in the murder case of six people during an assassination bid on former Gujrat Tehsil Nazim and ex-MPA Ghulam Sarwar Bhooch back in 1998.

  9. #9
    Member greencold's Avatar
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Failure of governance in Pakistan
    Power, acquired through ballot or bullet, when misused to thwart rule of law leads to institutional and economic collapse, rise in crime, lawlessness and even terrorism or anarchy that has taken roots in Pakistan. The only doctrine which can save Pakistan is one enunciated by Quaid-e-Azam, which is a democratic welfare state where every institution is accountable and is there to serve and protect their rights. The solution is submission by all citizens irrespective of their official status to writ of law. The problem is not with the presidential system or parliamentary system but with the mindset of those at the helm who consider state, its resources and people are there to serve them, not for them to serve people. Without a credible system of accountability, prosecution and punishment, a state cannot function.

    Repetitive military interventions, starting from 1956 onwards, where men belonging to disciplined uniformed services have involved in civil matters, while many amongst them succumb to temptations and greed, has adversely impacted these vital sensitive institutions while development of civil institutions is retarded. Billions invested on national security infrastructure cannot justify permitting private militias which history ordains always turn on their mentors.

    Moral bankruptcy plagues our paid civil cum uniformed bureaucracy, judiciary, law enforcement and elected executive which can be gauged from paucity of funds for upkeep of Flag Staff House, personal residence of Quaid-e-Azam, but no dearth of funds for numerous private houses declared official residences of PM or President or ever expanding residential housing societies under the garb of welfare of paid servants of the state. We forget that Pakistan was created for economic welfare of its people and improvement in human resource development and not for welfare of an elite cadre or group. Any government which abuses its power to patronise and protect tax evasion is guilty of financial crimes against state, a crime which even the parliament cannot waive.

    ALI MALIK TARIQ

    Lahore
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Three Interesting pieces from the Tribune to further the discussion:



    Fuss over good governance
    By Imtiaz Gul
    Published: November 24, 2015

    The writer heads the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad and is author of Pakistan: Pivot of Hizbut Tahrir’s Global Caliphate



    The Pakistani media has been awash with heated debates over the ‘unconstitutionality’ of the concerns on good governance that General Raheel Sharif conveyed during the November 10 Corps Commanders’ conference. Opposition members of parliament pounced upon the army chief’s advice in order to settle scores with the government. The discourse in the media clearly stemmed from the civilian government’s displeasure over the advice coming from a “constitutionally subordinate institution”.

    But was this really something unusual given Pakistan for decades has been guided by the military establishment and an erratic, self-serving civilian ruling elite? Certainly not. So, why all the fuss? Let us first see how the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific defines good governance. It describes it as “decision-making by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”. It also identifies eight major characteristics that constitute good governance: a system that is participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive, and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimised, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. Can the federal and provincial governments claim they are following all or some of these ingredients of good governance? The answer is largely in the negative on many counts.

    Despite Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s rosy projections, Pakistan is ranked a lowly 138 out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 ranking. Has the government elevated or jolted the confidence of multinationals already operating in a fragile situation? We understand that the FBR is acting like a ‘robber baron’ to extract funds for its IMF-dictated resource mobilisation campaign. In a high-handed, unbecoming manner, individuals and businesses are being asked to cough up funds to meet IMF demands. This state of affairs will certainly not encourage foreign investments, nor will other countries remove travel advisories for those of their citizens intending to visit Pakistan.

    The recent Midterm Report Card for Members of National Assembly (MNA), launched by Alif Ailaan, states that only three out of a total of 272 elected MNAs managed an overall ‘A’ grade in the scorecard for progress in terms of school facilities, student retention, gender parity and the student-teacher ratio in public schools of their constituencies. So much for the democrats’ love and commitment to education! Has the Model Town case of 2014 or the Kasur child sexual abuse case been resolved to the satisfaction of the aggrieved? What steps have been taken so far to review and amend the dated Criminal Procedure Code or the 1861 Police Act — both being at the root of low conviction rates, heavy pendency and unreasonably protracted trials often to the disadvantage of the poor and the victims?

    Has the Punjab government followed principles of transparency, fairness and the rule of law when approving funds for the Orange Line project or for the security of the Sharif family in Jati Umra? Removal of reluctant government officials and replacing them with yes men certainly doesn’t bespeak good governance. Hospitals, even in provincial and federal capitals, are extremely short on critical, life-saving vaccines and equipment, such as ventilators. Hospital administrations have to wait for months to get petty amounts approved, while pregnant women are forced to give birth on the stairs of hospitals. On the other hand, the bureaucracy and chief ministers hardly waste a minute in approving tens of millions for their own security, with some 2,751 police officials already in the service of the entire Sharif family. Is this good governance? Has the government transparently resolved fiascos such as the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park and Nandipur project? Or do ‘democrats’ believe that the poor man’s vote makes them accountable for their deeds?


    The list of such questions is endless and this obligates civilian rulers to handle the poor man’s trust, i.e., votes, with some sincerity. All stakeholders — politicians, bureaucracy, the military, media and the civil society — are supposed to raise concerns when there are administrative lapses and legal deviations, more so in a culture where abuse of power and deviation from the rule of law are norms. Votes from the public do not give our rulers the carte blanche for arbitrary and self-serving governance. Questions, like the ones raised by General Raheel, will continue to be asked as long as rulers continue to abhor the rule of law and transparency.

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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Gen. Masood has been a strong critic of Gen. Raheel, though Gen. Masood expresses his concern for "Democracy", he must be reminded that "Democracy" is not now, nor ever will be, an end on to itself, It was and will remain, a means to an end - If that end is a efficient and trustworthy administration that furthers the well being, prosperity, security and LIBERTY of Pakistanis, can what some revere as a religion, namely "Democracy in Pakistan" claim to have delivered?? But wait, give the Gen. Masood a chance to make his case - Pro Democracy or Pro Pakistan??:



    No shortcuts to nation-building

    By Talat Masood
    Published: November 24, 2015

    The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and a former federal secretary. He has also served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board



    In the quest to overcome weaknesses in governance, security issues and even in foreign policy, successive governments in Pakistan have adopted emergency and expedient measures that have eventually become the norm. A classic example of this is the use of Rangers in Karachi for the last 27 years. Clearly, they have performed remarkably well and in the last two years have been the leading force in bringing relative peace to Karachi and Sindh. This has come at the cost of valuable lives of soldiers and officers. Only last week, a militant group gunned down four Rangers personnel in a cowardly attack.

    However, what is worrying is that there is very little effort to raise the professional capabilities of the police force in both urban and rural Sindh so that they contribute effectively in maintaining law and order, and over a specific period of time, take over the responsibility of doing so. One is aware of the huge challenges that Karachi’s policing demands, but perpetuating the emergency approach of using Rangers is surely not the answer. The Karachi police have suffered in terms of efficiency and morale due to their misuse by certain politicians all in a bid to advance petty political objectives. Their induction and promotions, in many instances, have not been on the basis of merit, but patronage. Reliance on the Rangers will have to continue, but a timeline of two to three years should be set for their gradual replacement. Indefinite reliance on Rangers defeats the very concept of normality and proper functioning of a state. In the long term, this also erodes the authority of the provincial government. Using Rangers in this manner also ignores the fact that their primary function is to defend the eastern border, train for operational employment and perform area security duties during wartime.

    Similar longevity may await military courts if the failings that led to their establishment are not addressed soon. Terrorism-related cases were being subjected to inordinate delays in civilian courts. Moreover, even in instances where cases were tried, the courts failed to prosecute terrorists because judges feared retaliation. Prosecution lawyers and witnesses also feared for their lives. But with the lax attitude of the government towards legal reforms and no signs of beefing up the security of judges, prosecutors and witnesses, military courts, too, are likely to become a permanent feature.

    Since the insurgency started taking root in Fata in 2007, successive governments have looked at the problem mostly through the security prism and generally ignored other major contributing factors of its spread. As of now, the military has cleared most terrorist sanctuaries from Fata and is now in the holding phase. According to the army chief, the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan is planned to continue until the remaining 20 per cent of the area is brought under full control of the state. The government is supposed to introduce major reforms and a new template for the governance structure is to be established, which reflects the aspirations of the tribal people. The incursion of the Taliban and collapse of the jirga system in certain areas demand that the present mode of running the affairs in Fata, through the political agent, should change sooner rather than later. An even more challenging task is the introduction of economic, political and social reforms on a priority basis. These should be based on consensus and coalitions that have a credible backing of all major stakeholders with constitutional and legal safeguards that can be sustained over time. The task of rehabilitating internally displaced persons should be accorded a high priority as well. More importantly, the people of Fata should be the managers of their destiny and agents of change. Otherwise, the influence of a regressive clergy will continue to dominate and the TTP and other militant groups could return. Regrettably, the civilian government has yet to assume responsibility for development and administration and seems content in outsourcing this responsibility to the military.

    Imran Khan has repeatedly demanded that elections be held under army supervision. It is a sad state of affairs that a democratically-elected leader has no faith in civilian institutions — bureaucracy or the judiciary. All fair-minded people will endorse the call for fairness in elections, a central precondition for throwing up true representatives for parliament. But the fundamental point is that instead of emphasising the need for strengthening the Election Commission of Pakistan and the electoral process, Imran Khan falls back on taking the shortcut of seeking assistance from the military. If countries in our neighbourhood, India and Sri Lanka, are managing fair elections, there is no reason why our country should not address the shortcomings rather than keep drawing in the military in professionally unrelated matters.

    The prime minister, too, takes most policy decisions on major foreign, defence and security issues in one-to-one meetings with the army chief. This adhoc approach not only goes against the basic principles of good governance and democratic norms, but also has far-reaching implications, as our historical experience reminds us. Our decision to support the Taliban in Afghanistan was taken for short-term gains and has cost us heavily. Instead of Pakistan becoming the hub for cross-border trade and beyond, ideally located as it is, we continue to struggle in normalising relations with Afghanistan and India. Even today, while apparently we have no desire for the Taliban to gain power in Afghanistan, some elements in Pakistan continue to consider using them as leverage.

    These are some of the examples that illustrate our checquered history where military rulers and even elected politicians have taken crucial decisions without weighing their long-term consequences for the nation. Institutionalised decision-making improves the quality of national decisions, is critical for strengthening democracy and ensures a more peaceful future. It is also the route to correcting the civil-military imbalance and enhancing the power potential of the country, not to mention that there would be less justification for apologists to harp on that ‘all institutions are on the same page’, as people will see the change for themselves.

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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    And this piece, Professor Rais acknowledges the failure of "Democracy", he acknowledges that "Democrats" are anything but, that they have little interest in the furtherance of the prosperity, security and well being of the Pakistani public, but he suggests that "Democracy" in Pakistan is a default position, that there is no alternative but to suffer crooks and criminals as politicians, to suffer bureaucrats who are inept at administration and exceedingly proficient at siphoning public funds to their and political cronies, private accounts ---- Is the professor right? Is there no alternative but to sit on one's thumbs and put up with this??



    Living in a bad democracy
    By Rasul Bakhsh Rais
    Published: November 24, 2015

    The writer is a professor of political science at LUMS



    Let me start with the famous remark made by Winston Churchill on democracy: “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.It is quite common in Pakistan to see people complaining against democratic governments over every major or minor issue. There is widespread public disappointment with the performance of governments today, but this has always been the case whenever we have had elected governments. Let us acknowledge, with open minds, that dynastic leaders, parties, the electoral elite, political families and powerful political groups, in every region of Pakistan, have very few achievements and little success to show to the public. They are long and strong on rhetoric and very short and weak on performance.

    One more thing in our social and democratic context is very important, which is also true for other Muslim majority societies, i.e., the solid connection between misrule and rise of extremism, terrorism and militant ethno-nationalism. Misrule is perhaps a polite and benign expression for the massive plunder of Pakistan by the ruling elite, often elected on the strength of illegal monies and strong political networks they have created. Most of the ruling elite have little respect for the people of this land or any real interest in the development of this society. They are here for the easy money they can make and when the going gets a little tough, they escape to their safe havens abroad — and live in peace, prosperity and happiness.

    The rise of radicalism in every Muslim society has been a real cause of the neglect of education, rule of law, good universal values and governance. Unlawful behaviour of the elite and the immunity they enjoy through their power and political clout, have in turn produced many forms of illegalities in society. The deterioration of values, decline of institutions and weakening of laws and their implementation have spread to every part of society. Political catchwords like ‘we have done nothing wrong’ and ‘no court has convicted us’ tell us more about the failure of the system of accountability than the innocence of all famous and infamous political players of the country. Their conduct in power has created a vacuum of ethical legitimacy that has been effectively exploited by radical ideology, which argues that the failure of the ruling elite is actually the ‘failure’ of Western democracy, and that elected public figures are nothing but ‘tools’ of Western powers.

    Add to this pervasive social discourse and popular narratives at the lower levels of society is the problem posed by our young population that is without adequate, let alone good education, and has limited employment opportunities and avenues for personal progress. Indeed, these are all serious problems that may continue to pull Pakistan down. Ignoring these problems, which are often associated with democracy and ‘democrats’, is not an option anymore.

    What is the alternative to bad democracy? Frankly speaking, none. After four military interventions and more than four democratic movements as well as the restoration of the Constitution, democracy has emerged as a ‘default position’ for Pakistan. Our institutional endowment for democracy is far stronger than any other Muslim state’s, and we have a long history of development of political and state institutions going back to colonial times.

    We have the means to improve conditions under democratic rule, and we know how others have transformed bad democracies into good ones. Chief among them is public awareness, which is better than before. We have laws and institutions that need to be strengthened and should be made to work in the areas of accountability and rule of law. Pakistan’s future progress, order, stability and coherence depend on good democracy.

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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    And Lastly this piece from Mosharraf Zaidi ---but a word before we proceed, it has been suggested that I am picking some articles and that there is no public debate on these issues among Pakistanis, I would point out that the three pieces above and the one below have all been published today, obviously these have not been planted by me, fact of the matter is that this issue is now worthy of public discussion - Once again, Adrift, Rudderless, One cannot get anywhere if one does not know where destination is - but wait, what about consensus (read navel gazing, delaying kicking the can down the down) :



    Unplanned national inaction

    Mosharraf Zaidi
    Wednesday, November 25, 2015





    The limits of the will and the capacity of the Pakistani state are fast being exposed, and it isn’t even a full year since the horror of December 16 was unleashed upon children at the Army Public School in Peshawar.

    On the one hand, mob violence – of which we are so intolerant when it takes place in Uttar Pradesh – continues to take place in this country, with Christians in Kot Radha Krishan and Ahmadis in Jhelum bearing the brunt of the white-hot flame of pure faith in this faith-surplus faux Iqbalist republic
    .

    On the other hand, the narrative of non-state violence as heroism continues to be tube-fed to young men, leading to mass funerals of ‘martyrs’ returning from ‘jihad’ in ‘Afghanistan’. The 41 bodies of young men, buried in Dir over the weekend, are a stunning reminder of the potency of violent extremism and its ideology – and concurrently of the impotence of whatever narrative state and society have attempted to construct to impede the progress of violent actors claiming Islam as the source of their legitimacy.

    The National Action Plan, with almost two dozen specific points, was a hurriedly prepared document, with very little criticism coming its way (because it was drafted in the immediate aftermath of the December 16 APS attack). In a normal, functioning state, the process would have been followed by more thorough deliberations on each and every aspect of the plan. Because Pakistan is run by a combination of talk show ratings, whimsical strongmen (elected and uniformed), and a cabal of bureaucrats whose stakes in Pakistan’s future are restricted to avoiding audit paras and adverse ACRs, and pondering the quality of their next posting, no such thoroughness or deliberations have ensued.

    So instead of having a broader and deeper conversation about fighting and winning against terrorists, the reaction to APS has been reduced to essentially three policy instruments: violence, rules of the game, and communications.

    The first all-out violent assertion of the writ of the state has been made up of three kinds of kinetic actions. There is the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb in Fata. There is the Rangers deployment to Karachi to neuter violent mafiosos enjoying the canopy of protection afforded to them by political parties like the MQM. And there is the accidental killing of terrorists during police encounters, such as when Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist leaders attacked police and were killed in the ensuring encounter. The effects of the state’s assertion of a monopoly over violence are manifest: Pakistan is a safer country today. But how long is this process of asserting the state’s power to dominate violent engagements with terrorists, or criminals, sustainable?

    The second, the watering down of constitutional rule of law to enable the state’s newfound assertiveness, is mostly defined by the passage of the 21st Amendment to the constitution. Yet the establishment of military courts isn’t all there is to the new rules of the game. There is also the lifting of the freeze on capital punishment. Under the new rules of the game, Pakistani society will have a higher tolerance for the muzzling of people’s right to due process. This isn’t theory, it is the established truth of almost a year’s post-APS attack experience.

    The thing about straying from rule of law is this: we are a very tolerant people, and we love our soldiers. But we are also impatient. There is no example of Pakistanis carte-blanching the erosion of rights ad infinitum. This too has a shelf-life, and the question is: when does it expire?

    Finally, there is the communications angle, or more aptly, a self-congratulatory public relations blitzkrieg. Both across Pakistani society, and in global perception at large, the Pakistani state has been projected as a renewed entity, with new zeal and fervour to prevent mistakes in the future, and right the mistakes of the past. This is brilliant work, and credit for it is due largely to the ISPR. But it is a product with a high vulnerability, like all PR exercises, to the ugliness of ‘random’ acts of specific brutality – like rampaging mobs in Jhelum that victimise businesses owned by minorities (given their consistency, such attacks are anything but random). Given the extreme vulnerability of the PR blitz, what is the over/under on its effectiveness in the medium run, or the long run?


    The questions we ask about these three post-APS policy instruments – violence, rules of the game and communications – are important not because Pakistan shouldn’t be using those three tools, but because Pakistan should back them up with a range of actions that signal a real change in how we perceive and deal with anti-society and anti-state violence.

    This is where Humpty Dumpty falls down. A society that has gone through what we have endured in the last decade or so should not take the radicalisation of young men that leads to their deaths in Afghanistan lightly. Yet, a mass funeral of young Pakistani men from Dir, who died in Afghanistan, has been treated with almost the same nonchalance that such funerals used to be treated with three decades ago, two decades ago, one decade ago, and indeed, one APS attack ago.

    In the 1980s, young men went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. In the 1990s, young men went to fight each other, depending on whose militia they joined. In the 2000s, young men went to fight the American ‘occupiers’. And now young men go to Afghanistan to fight the Afghan state. There have been a number of constants through the decades.

    First, places like Dir tend to produce a high proportion of these young men. Second, parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami tend to be better represented than others, at both the sending-off events and funerals for these young men. Third, despite its deep pockets and high potency, the Pakistani intelligence community seems powerless to stop these young from wasting their valiant bravery on other countries, and help them channel it into their own. Fourth, and perhaps most worryingly, the Pakistani mainstream continues to, at best, equivocate about the nobility of picking up a weapon, going to Afghanistan and getting killed.

    Less than five hundred kilometres away, in Jhelum, the lucky young men (lucky not to be born in Dir, but instead in the heart of Punjab), express their devotion and faithfulness in a different way. They rampage through the streets burning things that belong to Ahmadis because of the alleged blasphemy committed by a member of that community. Later that evening, those same young men, still hopped up on the high of fighting ‘infidels’ by burning private property, watch news reports about the subjugation of Muslims in lands faraway. The whole world is supposed to be in on a conspiracy against them
    .

    Can Operation Zarb-e-Azb, or the Karachi operations, or extrajudicial killings prevent young men in Jhelum from setting fire to Pakistan’s future?

    Can military courts and two hundred hangings a year convince young men in Dir that the best way to fight injustice is to be a lawyer?

    Can the ISPR’s photos of General Raheel Sharif in various locales around the world help engender the concept of statehood and citizenship among jobless young men across the country easily seduced by anti-state conspiracy theorists on television every night?

    The answers are obvious. Pakistan has 100 million citizens below the age of 25. Most of these young people are not stakeholders in the version of Pakistan that either of the Sharifs (PM or COAS) pitch to foreign audiences. ‘Constitution’,democracy’, ‘CPEC’, and ‘liberal’ are all terms that may appeal to middle-aged, brown men on television – like me. But they are alien words, with insulting undertones for young men and women who are on the outside of the national tent of Kumbaya, looking in.

    As we approach the first anniversary of the APS attack, it is imperative that Pakistani decision-makers invest in a long-term process targeting the enfranchisement of young people to the state and its various structures on the one hand, and the de-legitimisation of religiously-inspired anti-society and anti-state narratives (and violence) on the other.

    This begins with growing the economy, equitably, and ends with a frontal assault on those who preach hatred as a religious obligation. For this to happen, a dramatic expansion in the will and capacity of the Pakistani state is urgently required. Pakistan needs to get serious about the National Action Plan.
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    I would like to talk about this topic but it is so large where does one start. First the feudal nature of Pakistan is incompatible with progressive democracy. Then we have corrupt and or incompetent politicians. Vested interests clinging desperately on to power. The tax system needs reform. the education system needs reform. The constitution and the institutions are riddled with strands of islamisim so much so that even common sense has to be passed halal by committees of ulemma
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khanda View Post
    I would like to talk about this topic but it is so large where does one start. First the feudal nature of Pakistan is incompatible with progressive democracy. Then we have corrupt and or incompetent politicians. Vested interests clinging desperately on to power. The tax system needs reform. the education system needs reform. The constitution and the institutions are riddled with strands of islamisim so much so that even common sense has to be passed halal by committees of ulemma
    Shoot the lot. Start again

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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khanda View Post
    I would like to talk about this topic but it is so large where does one start. First the feudal nature of Pakistan is incompatible with progressive democracy. Then we have corrupt and or incompetent politicians. Vested interests clinging desperatconstitution and the institutions are riddled with strands of islamisim so much so that even common sense has to be passed halal by committees of ulemma
    ely on to power. The tax system needs reform. the education system needs reform. The


    look at the problems you have cited, what have they to do with "democracy"? In citing these problems you are obviously seeking solutions, but why do you imagine that it takes "Democracy" to solve any of these? I mean if it did it would have at least made a dent into these problems. Pakistani politicians are savvy enough to know that grants and concessionary programs and aid programs of Western countries are heavily influenced by whether Pakistan can be said to be a "democracy" or not -- Further as Professor Rias points out, to Pakistanis, there is no alternative - A resolute political revolutionary technocracy, it seems is beyond the ambitions of Pakistanis.
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    [MENTION=1244]Muse[/MENTION] the pros and cons of democracy in Pakistan have made for never-ending discussions. What are you thoughts on a hybrid system such as I suggested earlier on "another" website?

    =======================================

    EIGHT GOOD PEOPLE.

    A suggested way forward for Pakistan, with three short term and three long term goals clearly identified, has been previously presented : Where to go from here? . Since that short article was written, the Army has taken clear and effective steps to go after all terrorists without discrimination, and their supporting mechanisms, whether they be political or financial. Importantly, it has also begun paying attention to creating a credible narrative to counter the terrorist's propaganda, thereby fulfilling the three short term steps suggested. There is also some evidence to suggest that three longer term suggested goals of going after armed militias maintained by political parties, and countering and reducing the suffocating and overbearing imposition of radical interpretations of religion over public life and in the military are being worked upon, slowly, but surely.

    Given these very encouraging trends, it is perhaps a good time to look forward to identify broader goals for the entire nation and how they can be implemented stepwise. Obviously, many details will be left out in the interests of brevity, but the overall framework should be sound enough to be discussed for implementation.

    Over the past decades, Pakistan has continued to struggle against quite adverse odds to take its rightful place in the region and internationally due to its internal turmoil in defining mechanisms of governance and power sharing between critical institutions of the state, including the military. Rather than reiterate the causes and problems of how Pakistan go to be where it is, it is far more important to decide where to go next, now that we are indeed where we are: a broken government, a non-functioning justice system, a hopelessly inept political class and an over-stretched military, all overlaid on rising social misery and widespread corruption that permeates all levels. Indeed, this list of failures is enough to give ample cause for many to say that solutions do not exist, but there is no other choice. These problems must be resolved, if Pakistan is to begin to rise to its potential, finally, three-quarters of a century after independence.

    The never-ending tussle over power between the civil and military centers of power must be stopped. Given the realities on the ground, Constitutional idealism, desirable as it is, must give way to a working power sharing agreement, with the military's role in formulating foreign and defense policies formalized by assigning the relevant portfolios to two senior Generals. The civilian side must be limited to only these ministries: Finance, Interior, Commerce, and Social Services. That is it, a total of seven portfolios, plus the Prime Minister (there is no miscount, one more will be described later). Doing this is important for a number of reasons, the most important being creating the correct impression that no one is operating illegally or regard themselves as being above the law. Such a change at the top will take time to establish at the lower levels of both government and society, but has untold benefits in the long run by establishing the rule of law. Also, the concept of legalizing what has been shown to work rather than pining after unattainable idealism is important to realize for everyone. In the same vein, the issues with the judicial system can wait until the time for the present arrangement of military courts is drawing to a close in about a year and a half, given that the most pressing need for convicting and sentencing of terrorists can be dealt with effectively until then.

    Given the multitude of other problems, made worse by a ever rising population with rapid urbanization, there is one key element that underwrites the solutions to all of them: Energy. Every other problem can be mitigated effectively if and only if there is an ample supply of reliable and plentiful energy supplies of all kinds. Given how far Pakistan is lagging behind in this crucial area, and all the adverse effects thereof, this must be assigned on a war footing to the military. It is the only working institution that remains capable of dealing with the many issues plaguing this vital sector, from corrupt power deals, to unreliable distribution and rampant theft.

    Radical? Yes. Workable? Absolutely. All Pakistan needs is eight good people (four civilian, three military), one each responsible for the Finance, Interior, Commerce, Social Services, Foreign, Defense and Energy ministries, led by a Prime Minister. Call it whatever you like, democratic, technocratic, unity, hybrid, bizarre, travesty, but think about it as the only viable way left to Pakistan if it is to flourish, not merely survive, in the 21st century in an evermore competitive global village.

    Eight good people. In a nation of over 200 million, is that too much to ask and hope for?
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by VCheng View Post
    [MENTION=1244]

    Eight good people. In a nation of over 200 million, is that too much to ask and hope for?
    Eight people with their hearts in the right pace and with a brain may be a tall task Sir
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khanda View Post
    Eight people with their hearts in the right pace and with a brain may be a tall task Sir
    Which is what I lament in the last sentence. Just 8 out of 200,000,000.
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    Re: What imperils democracy?

    I dont think its a question of 8 dont exist we probably have many many many more than 8. But there are even more who will become an impediment and represent vested interests
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