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Democratic Transition And Prospects For PTI in GE-2018

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Elections in Pakistan have always been Marred by Turmoil, rigging, Horse trading, Nepotism, favouritism, manipulation and bartering of votes.The Voters are influenced and threatened to face dire consequences if they did not vote and support any specific  Party Leader usually a traditional  Feudal who even warns to forcibly displace or disappear any person if they or their favourite candidate was not voted. In the past several decades, Pakistan has never witnessed any free, fair and transparent elections.

However, The  Elections held in 1988 under Army are said to be the fair ones as people believe that people were given free choice to vote for their  Favourite candidates. Luckily, PPP under Benazir with simple majority  formed their Government.

Afterwards, PPP and  PML-N had their turns  one after another and maintained their duopoly until General Parvez Musharraf’s Toppling of  PML-N second Government when his Plane was denied landing  and  Even The Army chief was changed in his absence while he was on the official visit.

The Army supported their General and helped him become the Marshal Law administrator and then President after Holding a Public Referendum.

Musharraf enjoyed the largest tenure as Martial Law Administrator and then President of Pakistan  After  General Zial Haque who had enjoyed the largest tenure as both Martial Law Administrator and Then President. Though ,later he declared  that  he had not imposed any Martial law.

It is Irony that Pakistan has experienced mostly   Military Coups  than Civilian Governments as a result we  had  Iskandar Mirza, General Ayoob Khan, General Yahya, General Zial Haq, Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto  and Musharraf as CMLAs though General Musharraf Declared  that  It was not  Martial Law but when he imposed  Emergency in the  country  and  kept the  constitution in abeyance . The people called it Martial  Law or Military Rule  as the constitution was suspended.

His reforms especially for improving and reforming Local Governance System and an introduction of  New  Local Governance system in which  Commissionerate  System was replaced with District Governments where the District Nazim was the  Most Powerful Administrator whereas a Grade  20 Officer worked as District coordination officer to ensure coordination between the  Various Departments.

Each  Department was headed by a grade 19/20 Officer as Executive  District officer such as EDO (finance and Planning) EDO (education ) EDO (Health), EDO (Revenue ) EDO (Agriculture  ) and So. It was the first time that Finance Department was devolved at District Level which benefitted the  People since each Departmental Budget was released from Account-IV of District instead of  Account-I i.e. Provincial Government.

The  District Nazim with help of  EDO(F&P) prepared their own budget and approved the required schemes upon the recommendation of the District Council members and thus over 80 % of the allocated budget was utilized. Such Utilization changed the shape of Urban and Rural areas and Development was evident from the Massive Development schemes and their Proper Implementation.

The  Mayor Karachi, Naimutullah Khan did the best and changed the whole scenario of Karachi and made a very  Clean and Green City and later the MQMs Mustafa Kamal became Mayor Karachi and targeted the own areas for Development.

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Musharraf held a so called referendum and got himself elected as President and then Held Elections in which his party  PML Q came into power and formed the Government in Sindh, Center and Punjab. Then in his era, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and he was held responsible for Benazir Killing. The Country experienced bloody Riots as  the angry mobs set the  Govt Buildings, Banks, Schools and  Police  Station on fire and there was Chaos all-around since  Musharraf had stopped the Security Personnel not to resist or stop the Protesters who were protesting against the Brutal Killing of their  Leader Benazir  Bhutto.

At least Benazir  Bhutto was successful to make Musharraf as a civilian President when he was compelled through Political Pressure to withdraw from Military Uniform.

PPP  won  2008 Election owing to sympathy vote and Yousuf raza   Gillani Became the Prime Minister and then Musharraf was given  Clear passage to leave the country and Zardari became the President of  Pakistan and completed their Tenure of Five Years.  Even Supreme court disqualified Gillani over defiance to Write a letter to swiss Government to Freeze the Bank accounts of  Zardari   by awarding 30 second Sentence . Thus , Raja Parvez Asharaf replaced him as PM

It was the first time that any Democratic Government had completed its tenure, As earlier, none was able to complete their tenure since most of the civilian governments lasted for  2 to three years hardly which were either dissolved by the presidents under articles  58 2B or ousted by  CMLAs.

Then in 2013, PML –N came to power and Formed their Government and  Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif Became the only Person in the History who had become the  PM third time in Pakistan . As PPP Government had brought 18th Amendment and made the way for the PM third time to hold the Office and given Provincial Autonomy .

The PML N- Government came under fire when PTI complained that there was rigging in General Elections. Even the Speaker  NA  Ayaz Sadique was disqualified and there was re-poll on his constituency but he re-won the seat and became the Speaker again.  The Model town incident and  Long March and  Dharnas became the order of the Day and then the tremors of   Panama Leaks shook the world hard and  The Names of Mian Nawaz Sharif, His Sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz and Her daughter came in corruption list of  Panama Papers. All the  Parties  Started protests and demanded resignation from  Nawaz Sharif but his stubbornness cost him lot and he was disgraced publically when he was disqualified on 20th April, 2017 by   Supreme Court of  Pakistan after the JIT  findings in Panama Papers Case.

Nawaz’s Bad luck did not stop here, He was sentenced on Friday, July 6, 2018, for  Ten Years and His  Daughter  Mariam Nawaz for  7 Years and His  Son law Captain Safdar for one Year in Aven Field  Reference Filed by NAB  under Directions of  Supreme court of Pakistan.

With Elections 2018 are just three days Away, All the Political Parties are busy in their Election campaigns. Some of  The Election rallies are targeted by Suicide  Bombings in Mastung and Among the dead were the Workers of  Baluchistan Awami Party) including the party’s provincial candidate, Siraj Raisani whereas in Peshawar Suicide Attack ANP Leader for Provincial Seat Haroon Ahmed Bilour was killed and other Party workers were also Killed in the Suicide Blast .

The  Political  Pundits and  Analysts are of the View that  the PTI enjoys a Strong position in KPK, Punjab and Sindh followed by  Alliance of  Religious Parties  (Muttahida Majlis e-Amal  ) MMA has also strong position in KPK, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. The  Baluchistan is Center for religious parties and has always Mix support for  Nationalists such as Baluchistan Awami Party, National Party of Pakistan,  JUI, PPP and  PML – N.

In Sindh, the  Old Parties such as  MQM has strong hold in Urban Population of  Karachi , Hyderabad ,Mirpur Khas whereas PPP has Strength in Interior Sindh . They are facing strong Resistance from Grand Democratic Alliance headed by PML-Functional  Head Pir Pagara and other Nationals. Though MQM has seat adjustment with GDA, yet MQM has always preferred to be in power be it PPP or PML-Q. The Other new Force is Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Headed by Mustafa Kamala. The  Party consists the old stalwarts of  MQM who left MQM after differences with  Farooque Sattar and joined PSP. This would be the First Election for them to  contest and prove their Strength.

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It is estimated that GDA  will grab more than  40 Seats in Sindh and form their  Government in Sindh and will be recognized as an Alternate Force to PPP  .

It is very difficult to break the Monopoly of PPP in Sindh yet People are hopeful that they will  get rid of  PPP hegemony forever and will prefer Service Delivery. If  PTI  forms an alliance with GDA in Sindh, With National Party in Baluchistan and with  MMA in Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan, it will easily form Government and both  PPP and PML-N will sit in opposition benches.

Despite all this , it will be very difficult to  make any prediction before General  Election 2018  but as per the  Social  Media Surveys, Gallup  Pakistan Surveys and  Media Debates, It is  assumed that  PTI  will have the lion’s share in NA and PA  Seats in KPK, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan followed by  MMA and  GDA in Sindh. The sympathy vote may play a role for   PML-N as their Leader Mian Nawaz Shareef is in Adiala jail along with his daughter as there is no any other chance for them as they were tested thrice by the People of Pakistan. PTI has brighter and stronger position to sweep the  GE-2018 and Elect Imran Khan as Next PM of  Pakistan Let   July 25, 2018, come and decide the Future of mainstream parties i.e PTI, PPP, PML-N or  MMA  who will be the Next PM. Let’s Wait for Elections Results to pour in.

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Democracy

Intense polarization and Pakistan’s democratic future

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Pakistan has been a polarized polity and consequently, a divided society for the past half century, and even longer if we look back deeply into its history. It started with the serious differences among the political elites of the country over the character of the state, quality of federalism, relationship between religion and governance and ideological choices. One may argue that it could be a normal process in a diverse nation’s struggle to take a definite direction and achieve stability in the formative phase. But one wonders why it would take nine years in writing the first constitution and then its annulment within three years without any general elections or transfer of power happening under it.

Without getting into the details, it was the inability of the ruling elites, their diverse regional backgrounds, personal vested interests in power grabs, and for that purpose, engineering of political manipulation to wreck governments and forms new ones.
Factions of the same elite under different party platforms kept displacing one another from power endlessly until the military took over in 1959. There is another view that political elites were innocent and they were actually played against one another as puppets by the civil and military bureaucracy.

This is too charitable a perspective to excuse the political elites and their never-ending factionalism, which continues to this day, after a long history of 74 years. If they had played by the rules, demonstrated political solidarity on principles and forged a political consensus, the democratic norms and convention would have gelled over time. The recent ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan, despite the fact that he had the largest party in the parliament with 156 members losing power to a motley group of political factions, the closest second having only 86 members and forming the new government, speaks a great deal about persistent polarization. The sad story of Pakistan is that naked factional elite interests have shaped these power plays, often by seeking friendly intervention from the powerful judicial and security institutions.

Generation after generation, coming from the same feudal-tribal social background, Pakistan’s political elites have promoted political values that run counter to nation and state-building.

The normal and expected role of the political elites in any form of political system is working toward stability, order, national unity, solidarity and continuity along with ensuring progress, social and economic development.
The Pakistani elites have done quite the opposite: polarizing and dividing people along ethnic, religious, ideological and narrow political lines. Generation after generation, coming from the same feudal-tribal social background, they have promoted political values that run counter to nation and state-building in ethically and demographically diverse society.
Ultimately, it is the rapacious character of the Pakistan ruling classes, their low commitment to rule of law and accountability and access to power as means of material benefits that have stunted the growth of democracy. In such conditions, the military has assumed the role of ‘guardian’ of the state, and has regularly managed political conflicts erupting over power struggles among the elites.
The present polarization between the PTI and the rest of the 11 so-called political parties and factions is not new. It is a continuation of the same historical pattern, only the main characters have changed. Each successive confrontation has been more severe than before. The ongoing clash looks like political warfare with no-holds-barred, barely covered with a fig leaf of constitutionality. This has been in the making for the past nine years when Imran Khan challenged the fairness of the 2013 elections. The others, in return, questioned the accuracy of the 2018 vote and vowed to oust him from power by forming a joint alliance, launching street demonstrations, and finally succeeding by winning over dissidents from his party and coalition partners and moving successfully a vote-of-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
The sudden change of heart by four coalition groups supporting Khan and the open betrayal of 20 members of his party have raised many troubling questions about the neutrality of powerful state institutions. This adds another dimension to the political conflict playing out in media, civil society and the general public. 

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Khan has instantly decided to engage in popular agitation against what he calls an ‘imported’ government by weaving a narrative of foreign ‘conspiracy’ and accusing some as ‘traitors.’ His decision to resign from the national assembly en-masse is stunning and may prove to be an adventurous path to Azadi‘liberation’ for the country. He will be doing politics now not in the parliament but in the streets, rousing public anger against the ‘corrupt mafia’ and demanding fresh elections. 

Via ArabNews

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Democracy: A colonial hangover

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The system is premised upon the idea that one head would count one vote. Although the notion theoretically solves the basic inequality problem, it generates far greater inequalities’

Right after the Second Great War, though the British did leave this continent for good, they left a mess for the people of the newly founded nations to collect. Oftentimes, while trying to rationalise their colonial past, many of its fervent advocates claim that one of the greatest things that colonised countries inherited, which they would not have otherwise, was the idea of democracy: A new system of governance. A facile narrative to cover their smelly past, but also a false one.

Like many other nation-states, Pakistan also adopted democracy at the time of its inception, taking its cue from the then supposed leaders of the world. It hoped that by doing so, it too would reap the benefits that democracy promised to bring along – equality, freedoms, free-market economy and stability. However, many of these states descended into martial laws under despotic rules or turned rogue. Pakistan’s own fate was no different.

Perhaps, there are inherent flaws that everybody tends to overlook because of the way it was delivered to us and by whom – our old masters giving us the parting gift. But why is it that, to date, the same system working with far greater efficiency in the West fails miserably in developing nations?

Free market is a preeminent feature of democracy and in theory, it was supposed to be the lodestone towards freer and more egalitarian societies. But all it accomplished in reality was a further chasm in inequality and degeneration into pure consumer capitalism. This marvel made it so that power would concentrate in the hands of the affluent, making it essential for the politicians to remain in their thrall if not from within them. This notion is precisely misleading when looking at western societies. The idea of social-welfarism – which began in the early 1900s only – bridged this gap to an ‘acceptable’ degree both in terms of social and economic equality. But can this ever be achieved in countries like Pakistan or India: Reeking of moral corruption, notoriously venal, elections manifestos premised upon intolerant suppositions, bedevilled histories and above all, rugged with indigence?

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The system is premised upon the idea that one head would count one vote. Although the notion theoretically solves the basic inequality problem, it generates far greater inequalities. This perspective is not supposedly a new idea and was also put forth by B.R. Ambedkar at the time when he was penning the Indian constitution. The idea of an English democracy did not particularly resonate well with another leader of the Indian freedom movement: Mahatma Gandhi.

One might inquire the reason why these leaders were so sceptical of democracy. The answer can be found precisely in today’s time. Even a fleeting look at the Modi regime could call a day of reckoning for all purveyors of democracy: de facto martial law in Kashmir, systemic persecution (as witnessed in Gujrat) and discrimination against ethnic minorities, populism at its peak, leading India into regressivism – and all this being done by the ‘democratic power’ vested in Modi by the ‘largest democracy’ in the world. Maybe such foresight left some of the leaders of the Indian Independence Movement disenchanted with democratic prospects, fearing that such a system would spawn the same problems that they sought independence to curb.

Pakistan, billed as the single Muslim nuclear power has always had to maintain an international image. The problem with the image is that it is examined on western ideals of which democracy stands to be the single biggest factor, irrespective of how nominal it is. This ensures aid, loans, and all sorts of international support for said country.

If such a scene is set, how can really a country decide what system serves its people best? It is as if countries are being goaded into something simply because they cannot yet afford a dignified existence for their people. It is not to whinge that democracy is rooted in every problem or to anoint it with a gilded halo as the saviour of nations.

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The point in matter is to maybe think beyond for more egalitarian and just systems of governance. To not only aim at democracy as a metric to be reasoned among civilised nations. To make it in essence, once again, the society of Lycurgus, the society of Plato, the society of Marcus Aurelias which could push beyond what they could see. These rusty gateways of discourse, which would require some pushing, need to be opened. Maybe democracy works, maybe it does not – but the answer, in the end, lies with the people.

Via MM

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Democracy

LGs and welfare

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WITH a renewed focus on conducting local government elections, the issue of grassroots governance has bounced back into the news and policy cycles. This is reflected in the various aspects of LGs being dissected by political and civil society stakeholders, and activities — including protests by political parties — to find better and lasting ways to improve local governance.

Historically, the local bodies, first introduced during Gen Ayub’s military regime, have waxed and waned in line with the wider political schemes of state managers. It is an open secret that LGs are strategically renewed by military governments for undermining the established local political elite and manufacturing into existence a new layer of more pliable grassroots leadership. Meanwhile, elected governments and political parties too have neither looked kindly on the prospect of LGs taking root for similar fears that their locally established leadership might be challenged by new political actors.

However, irrespective of the intention behind the strategic diminishment and resurrection of LGs, the consensus across the political and academic spectrum is that local bodies are the linchpin of service delivery and the chain of political representation. Moreover, their role as connectors of higher-tier government structures and grassroots also remains unchallenged. In this respect, while many aspects of LG service delivery roles are being pored over, the role as a deliverer and administrator of social protection programmes has not been given the attention it deserves.

In Western democracies, the political governance landscape is based on local parish and councils. It is unimaginable to see them knocked out of the political representation and service delivery chain. In the UK, without local councils administrating education, social welfare systems etc, the whole edifice of a unitary state would come crumbling down. In Pakistan, however, LGs have been turned off and on like tap water, discouraging the exercise of people’s right to local representation.

With LGs, Ehsaas can have a greater reach.

The role of LGs in the administration of social welfare programmes is by now also well established in the developing world. Brazil is both associated with introducing participatory budgeting at the municipal level and the use of LGs in the administration of its famed cash transfer programme Bolsa Familia. This model has been copied in the rest of Latin and South America with municipal offices playing an ever-greater role in the roll-out and administration of similar cash transfer programmes. Brazil’s municipalities are at the front and centre in managing its social registry, carrying out a broad set of functions including identification of low-income areas, registration of beneficiaries, data collection and verification, training and outreach etc.

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In Colombia, LGs are responsible for processing new applications and updating existing beneficiaries’ data on a rolling basis. Each municipality signs an agreement with the national cash transfer programme, committing to specific obligations and responsibilities. Committees are also established at the municipal level to handle complaints and allegations of ineligible beneficiaries.

In Pakistan, however, the role of LGs in the roll-out and administration of cash transfer programmes has been not systemically thought through. One of the key reasons for this is the evolving and expanding nature of the Ehsaas or Benazir Income Support Programme and the uncertainty about the continuance and longevity of LGs.

However, now that LGs seem to be back in fashion, steps should be taken to make them a permanent feature of political representation and service delivery chains. Only when the LG system is allowed to put down roots and firm up its uninterrupted presence can we begin to think about ways to shoehorn social protection programmes into LG structures for ease and confidence of its beneficiaries.

As the Ehsaas programme expands, LGs can provide it with a firm foothold, acceptability and greater reach among the public. Pakistan should definitely learn from the pragmatic fusion of local bodies and social protection programmes for better service delivery and generating wider public involvement (and hence support) at local levels. Political parties also need to change course and see LGs as the permanent enhancer of representative and service delivery aspects of democratic governance rather than as competitors of established local elites. In the longer term, there is also a long-overdue requirement for conducting research into how the absence of LGs has contributed immensely to the crisis of democratic governance and falling standards of centralised service delivery that we see today.

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