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Archive for category DEMOCRACY GONE BESERK


My Opinion in Nation.
 While reading do not miss moles planted within the most vociferous opposition party and the moles within us. 



Samson Simon Sharaf

Like the simile of an onion I have used to frame my hypothesis, the most crucial and damaging is Pakistan’s susceptibility to US interests in chagrin to its short and long-term interests. Whenever a Pakistani leader has shown a flair for independence, he/she has been eliminated. Add to the list Pakistan’s tax evaders, money launderers, political business cartels, offshore businessmen, bad fiscal policies, impotency of regulators, opaqueness in transparency and economic hit-men to make a lethal brew of anti non-state actors. All these layers compliment each other but for the interests of Pakistan. They also coalesce when needed to subdue the winds of change. They exist in every sinew of Pakistan’s politic body. 
Pakistan has never had a cohesive, self-serving and permanent national policy; a sad but true reflection of a state that spent half its existence under military dictatorships or tailored democracies under the watchful eye. The first decade was lost to political conspiracies hatched by a group of bureaucrats and politicians, who had the advantage but not the conscience of serving with Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. They chose to wade through a muddied perspective on an elusive and unending journey of inventive nationalism that caused disfigurement. To complicate the national construct, foreign policy resulting in subservience to USA set in motion a diplomacy of invisible interventions that often became violent.
How intense were US interests in Pakistan that Prime Minster Liaqat Ali Khan had to be assassinated by CIA through the Afghan Government because he refused to destabilize Mossadeq’s regime in Iran begs no answer. Subsequently USA not only changed the regime but also reached a long-term alliance with Saudi Arabia that was to later forge the Oil-Dollar Equation. Pakistan’s close relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab Kingdoms are imbedded in working within US interests and in the bargain provide a security balance to Middle East. Now that USA is easing its policy on Iran after many decades, Pakistan will be dissuaded across the entire spectrum of policy from placation to violence to keep its relations with Iran in concert with US-Saudi objectives. 
This shift in Pakistan’s policy was the result of Bhutto’s policy of a greater Muslim alliance through the Islamic Summit. Ultimately it distanced Iran. But Iran too had its hegemonic designs that became aggressive after the Iranian Revolution creating frictions on international border, inside Afghanistan and sectarian lines. Ever since, both neighbors have played a game of brinkmanship with mutual suspicion under the watchful eye of USA and KSA. 
On his part Bhutto suffered a fate no different from Liaqat Ali through a military dictator groomed to work for US-Saudi Interests. His judicial murder was actually a correction course for Pakistan lest it became too independent and powerful.What did Bhutto do to merit such a cold-blooded end? The answers lie below.
First, he rebooted Pakistan’s nuclear program towards weapons. Bhutto envisioned a nuclear Islamic block strengthened by the oil wealth and Pakistan’s skilled manpower. However, his left leaning policies were viewed with suspicion by his Arab allies. Bhutto had a long-term vision for his country but his economic plan backfired. To put Afghanistan under pressure he supported the Afghan Student résistance against Sardar Daoud. The pressure worked and Daoud was ready to sign a permanent deal on Durand line. Days before the two heads of states were to formalize the agreement; Bhutto was overthrown by a military coup. The military regime never pursued this agreement. Bhutto proving too big for his boots was made an example. 
Bhutto’s erstwhile military chief and his executioner fared no better. The military takeover in 1977 served US interests and infused permanent seeds of internal instability in the form of weaponisation of society, drugs, militant organizations, intolerance, sectarianism and religiously inspired violence. The mock Afghan jihad lasted as long as it served US interests and was conveniently relabeled as the invisible floating threat of Islamic terrorists. USA was suspicious of Zia’s growing nuclear cooperation with China. He had to go and so did that fatal flight on C-130. 
The daughter of the East returned to Pakistan with a thumping popular applause. But also attached to her Bhutto symbolism was an ill matched spouse willing to cut her to size whenever she over grew. Her spouse through his corruption twice got her governments removed. 
Yet within her limitations of working with many uncles, new entrants and a dubious husband, she never gave up her father’s vision. The nuclear program progressed to perfection including the weapon testing sites in Chagai. Then began the pursuit of delivery systems and their indigenous production. She continued to pursue the Afghan policy of her father. By 1996, Mullah Omar had agreed to the international demand of a broad based government and also signing the Durand Agreement. A day before she was poised to sign this historic accord with the new Afghan broad based government, President Laghari mysteriously sacked her government. Neither the interim not the subsequent PMLN government pursued this historic opportunity.
To her credit, Benazir never lost heart. After 9/11 she almost engineered the handing over of Osama Bin Laden to Turkey, a NATO country. USA refused. Then she returned infused with an elixir. She had made some of the most critical decisions of her life; amongst them to team up with Musharraf to make a formidable Pakistani team and secondly to shed off her yoke. As per her terms of agreement with USA, Nawaz Sharif was to serve his time of self-exile in KSA. She rejected the NRO. The daughter of East had become too hot to handle. Though her fire is seemingly extinguished, it is in the interests of Pakistan that the pyre must burn. Musharraf’s exit after her death and subsequent humiliation were writings on the wall. Zardari became the heir to the political dynasty through a controversial Will. 
So what does this entire ongoing drama in Pakistan mean? If precedence is to be followed, it is all hallow and the birds of feather will flock together.  These agents of instability are well placed in every system, organization and political party to allow a departure towards an independent Pakistan. Even if some amongst them wish contrition, they will be ruthlessly cut to size. 
Like a conventional current on a boil, everything must go down for a new to begin. 
Samson Simon Sharaf

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Opinion: Capital suggestion / Sunday, September 28, 2014



Dr Farrukh Saleem

Purana Pakistan









Purana Pakistan has six characteristics.

One, elected leaders treat state assets as their personal estates.

Two, elected leaders mutate civil servants into their personal serfs.

Three, taxes are collected and then spent to fulfill rulers’ priorities.

Four, monetary rewards of political power are extremely high. 

Five, there is massive under-investment in human capital.

Six, power projects are being inaugurated that would produce power at an astronomical rate of Rs41 per unit.

Here are the proofs of the above six.

One, Rehman Malik had a PIA aircraft wait for him for two long hours.

Two, on June 17, Punjab Police killed 14 unarmed citizens.

Three, budgetary allocation for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is Rs160 million while the annual budget for the PM House is Rs770 million. 

Four, Pakistanis are getting more and more indebted by the minute while assets of the ruling class keep on increasing by the day.

 Five, Nigeria is the only country on the face of the planet with more out-of-school children than Pakistan.

Six, the cost of the Nandipur Power Project has gone up from $329 million to $847 million and if diesel is used to produce power it will cost Rs41 per unit.

This is what purana Pakistan is mostly about.

Admittedly, Imran Khan has no comprehensive blueprint for Naya Pakistan; neither does Allama Tahirul Qadri. What they have done, however, is exposed the purana Pakistan to 180 million Pakistanis. And Pakistanis hate what they see in purana Pakistan.

Here are the proofs that Pakistanis hate what they see in purana Pakistan.

One, passengers threw Rehman Malik off the PIA aircraft – something that has no precedence in our political history.

Two, police high-command has now started demanding written orders from their elected leaders in order to shoot at unarmed citizens.

General (r) Mirza Aslam Baig, for reasons only known to him, may want to call it a foreign conspiracy against Pakistan but, to be certain, throwing Rehman Malik out the PIA aircraft is no American conspiracy against Pakistan. To be sure, police high-command demanding written orders from their elected leaders is no Jewish conspiracy against Pakistan. This is all about Pakistani middle class revolting against purana Pakistan.






Naya Pakistan has to be a contractual state. Naya Pakistan has to have a social contract between the voters and their elected leaders. The social contract must cover three things.

One, who will pay taxes?

Two, how much taxes will be paid by each taxpayer?

Three, how will these taxes be spent?

Naya Pakistan has to have three things – elections, accountability and a responsive government (purana Pakistan has had plenty of elections but neither accountability nor a responsive government).

Here are four steps to a naya Pakistan.

One, alter spending priorities as per voters’ needs and demands.

Two, invest in education and health.

Three, invest in justice.

Four, privatize all public sector enterprises in a competitive, transparent process.

The constitution is not under threat.

The democratic system is not under threat.

Yes, the old political order is under threat.

And, yes, the custodians of the old political order are feeling threatened.








The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @saleemfarrukh


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In the Name of Democracy






 Archive Article

April, 2013

In the Name of Democracy




As Pakistan vacillates between military rule and civilian government, what end of the spectrum will it settle on?


Some people consider it a miracle, others say it’s a blessing in disguise and the rest term it as the most painful era in the history of Pakistan. The completion of the five-year tenure of a civilian democratic government in the country, elected as a result of the February 2008 elections, is being celebrated. However, several questions arise regarding the performance of the so-called democratic era of Pakistan. Why is it that in the name of democracy, this civilian government plunged its people in a state of economic hardship, terrorism and rampant corruption? Should the people have tolerated all these enormous ordeals and the failing status of their country just for the sake of democracy? Can the forthcoming elections, if held, bring a qualitative change in the socio, economic and political conditions of the people or is it expected to worsen the situation in the days to come?

Out of Pakistan’s 66-year history, the country has been under military and quasi-military rule for around 30 years. The remaining 36 years were governed by civilian governments but under the shadow of the military and intelligence agencies. Even the most powerful civilian government of Z.A. Bhutto failed to curb the military’s influence. Following the civil disobedience movement, Army Chief of Staff General Zia-ul-Haq, toppled Bhutto’s government. The movement was launched by the Pakistan National Alliance in response to the alleged poll rigging of the March 1977 general elections by the PPP regime.

Post-1972, Pakistan had the opportunity to strengthen civilian democratic rule but politicians failed to understand that while seeking legitimacy and credit, it was imperative to provide good governance, accountability and rule of law. All the civilian governments ranging from Z. A. Bhuttto, to Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Yusuf Raza Gilani and Pervez Ashraf will be remembered in history as incompetent, corrupt, ruthless, vindictive, manipulative and apathetic governments. When President Zardari and PML (N) leader Nawaz Sharif tout their success in helping complete five years of a “democratic, civilian” government, the people of Pakistan have learnt to take it with a pinch of salt. The so-called democratic governments have had five years to deliver but opinion polls illustrate a rise in public frustration and terrorism thus contradicting political claims of success. The rule of law, good governance and accountability remained a low priority for the civilian-democratic rulers of Pakistan. Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) also issued a hefty report, providing reams of evidence of mega corruption scandals within Pakistan’s current government structure. The hearings and verdicts of the Supreme Court in the last four years also speak of volumes of corruption and nepotism on the part of the PPP led government.

Democracy has never been fully practiced in Pakistan. Power hungry politicians have wreaked havoc in state institutions ranging from Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Railways, Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), all at the expense of the common man. In the last five years, the PPP-led government borrowed 9 trillion rupees from different banks and financial lending institutions, including the State Bank. Foreign debt, which stood at 36 billion dollars in early 2008 is now 60 billion dollars. The value of the rupee versus US$ which was PKR60 in early 2007, now stands at PKR100. Foreign exchange reserves, which should have been on the rise have almost depleted with the State Bank recording only $8.7 billion. Corruption amounting to trillions of rupees in the last five years has been a source of embarrassment and shame for Pakistan, internationally. Prices of essential commodities have more than doubled over the last five years and the periodic increase in government salaries has skyrocketed inflation. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, public sector universities are unable to pay salaries to their employees and teachers on time. With such a hopeless performance of the PPP-led government, does it make sense to take pride in the false notion of  completing the 5 year term of a democratic, civilian government?

While the notion of democracy is contested, many commentators in Pakistan wonder whether given the poor performance of civilian-democratic governments, the people of Pakistan were better off during military regimes? As compared to their civilian counterparts, two critical things, which are controlled by military regimes, whether under Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq or Pervez Musharraf, are price control and law and order. One can do statistical research to compare the performance of military and civilian regimes in Pakistan since 1947 till today. Military regimes are, however, blamed of deepening ethnic and sectarian conflicts, suppressing their opponents brutally and losing wars and territories. Pakistan lost the 1971 war with India when the military was in power. Pakistan also lost Kargil and Siachen under military rule and the military establishment in order to neutralize its political opponents, patronized ethnic, sectarian and jihadi groups. In terms of performance, both civilian and military regimes have been unable to deliver successfully due to structural inadequacies within the leadership of Pakistan.

Four major reasons are responsible for the failure of civilian governments in Pakistan. First is the lack of educated, professional, honest and enlightened politicians. Secondly, political traits of greed, power, incompetency and opportunism have molded career diplomats who often find themselves in positions of power and promptly resort to abusing the system. Third, the military has historically, and consciously, refused to support political pluralism and democratic institutions thus preventing the introduction and continuation of any cohesive political framework. Finally, the failure of politicians to develop a culture of tolerance has ripped the social fabric of Pakistan. While one can blame the tribal and feudal culture, religious dogmatism, social backwardness and illiteracy as major causes of Pakistan’s deterioration into a failing state, it is actually the mindset of politicians which is responsible for betraying the people of this great nation.

Pakistan, in view of its serious fault lines, cannot afford the luxury of bad democracy. Certainly, parliamentary democracy in its present form has failed in Pakistan and serious questions must be raised regarding which political system is best suited to its peculiar socio-political make-up. 

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Why America Cannot Live without Wars by Chidanand Rajghatta, Columnist & Foreign Editor for the Times of India.

Why America Cannot Live without Wars
WASHINGTON – On a day marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I-Have-A-Dream” civil rights speech, the United States is poised to unleash another nightmare some 10,000km away in the Middle-East. Washington’s war machine is geared up for limited strikes against Syria because Damascus ostensibly crossed a red line by using chemical weapons against its own population, never mind that many regimes worldwide inflict atrocities against their own people by other means.


Why a President who came to office on the strength of his anti-war credentials – especially on the phony war foisted on Iraq – is running with the war hounds, is something of a mystery. But the rest of the Washington establishment is champing at the bit to unleash missiles on the Syrian regime, promising a short punitive strike, in keeping with the well-worn belief that America cannot live without a war.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was among those who indicated that the US was “ready to go” the moment President Barack Obama gave the sign. “We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” Hagel said on Tuesday.
“We are not good at anything else anymore… can’t build a decent car or a television, can’t give good education to the kids or health care to the old, but we can bomb the shit of out any country…”
– the late George Carlin
This, when a UN team is still investigating the reported use of chemical weapons in the conflict between the regime of Bashir al Assad and the rebels. The UN team has been asked to pack up and get out of the way. “We clearly value the UN’s work – we’ve said that from the beginning – when it comes to investigating chemical weapons in Syria. But we’ve reached a point now where we believe too much time has passed for the investigation to be credible and that it’s clear the security situation isn’t safe for the team in Syria,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday, echoing the kind of impatience that characterized the descent into the Iraq war.
Despite the appalling intelligence failures during previous such conflicts, US officials placed immense faith in their own findings while scoffing at international efforts. “I think the intelligence will conclude that it wasn’t the rebels who used it and there’ll probably be pretty good intelligence to show that the Syria government was responsible,” Hagel said in a BBC interview. The prospect of the war, even a limited strike, upsetting a range of friends and allies, from Israel to India, does not seem to be holding back Washington’s war veterans (both Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel served in the military).
If all this recalls the war against Iraq not too long ago, not many in Washington seem keen on remembering it. Instead, explanations are being proffered on how different this case is and how it will be a short, surgical strike, not really a war.
But America’s discerning have long recognized that the country can never live without war. It is a country made for war. Small detail: Up until 1947, the Defense Department was called Department of War.
By one count, the United States has fought some 70 wars since its birth 234 years ago; at least 10 of them major conflicts. “We like war… we are good at it!” the great, insightful comedian George Carlin said some two decades ago, during the first Gulf War. “We are not good at anything else anymore… can’t build a decent car or a television, can’t give good education to the kids or health care to the old, but we can bomb the shit of out any country…”
Similar sentiments have been echoed more recently. “America’s economy is a war economy. Not a manufacturing economy. Not an agricultural economy. Nor a service economy. Not even a consumer economy,” business pundit Paul Farrell wrote during this Iraq War. “Deep inside we love war. We want war. Need it. Relish it. Thrive on war. War is in our genes, deep in our DNA. War excites our economic brain. War drives our entrepreneurial spirit. War thrills the American soul. Oh just admit it, we have a love affair with war.
And so, America will be off to another (limited) war shortly.
© 2013 Times of India
Chidanand Rajghatta is a columnist and foreign editor for the Times of India.

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