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Disparities and Protests

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The people of Pakistan have experienced a strange history of protests and their economical repercussion on individuals and the country as a whole.The protests bring the cities to a standstill, as the angry mobs cause blockade through the streets, roads and main national highways.

The protests are taken out by the political parties, civil society for the human rights or demanding justice for any injustice with any person or any brutal murder and the employees protesting for their salary raise, allowances, structure, bonuses, privatization of govt enterprises and regularization issues.

Even excessive regulation issues irk the employees to adopt the way of protests as such laws and regulation might endanger their jobs.

The protests are also carried out by the families and relatives to mourn the deaths of their near and dear ones who lost their lives in the fake police encounters or forcible disappearance of people demanding their recovery. These include various nationalists,  suspects and other persons.

The protests include traffic jams, hunger strikes, long marches, sit-ins, protest demos. Though, these types of protests are globally held even in developed countries like the US, UK, Germany and the popular Yellow vest movement in France is an example.

Pakistan’s last seven decades are also replete with such protests whenever any elected government failed to deliver or marshal laws that practised authoritarian rule to suppress the dissenting voices or when people felt that their right to freedom of expression is compromised by dictatorial leadership.

The angry mobs take to streets and record their protests in favour of their genuine demands. Such protests have so far been very successful and the government is compelled to bow down before these employees’unions, civil society, and political workers and disperse the protesters after dialogue process because the use of force will further aggravate the situation and turn the scene into a battleground if the situation is mishandled by law enforcement agencies.

There are several examples of such circumstances in the past that made it very difficult for the governments to deal with such violent protests. The resistance and resilience go hand in hand when both the protesters and the high ups and policymakers show their stubbornness to accept the demands.

This leads to “wheel jams”, “pen down” protest demos and hunger strikes putting governments under immense pressure leaving no other option except the acceptance of their demands to peacefully disperse violent mobs who engulf the executive’soffice and try to cross the Red Zone.

The protests become more extreme when religious parties take to roads against any religious or blasphemy issue.

It is pertinent to mention here that mostly the top bureaucrats consider themselves superior creatures that is because they pass such exam that is branded as Central Superior Services atfederal level and provincial management service  at provincial level .

Their lethargic attitude leads to the protests since employees consider it the last option to put pressure on the top bureaucracy with coverage of media as service tribunals and courts don’t offer any timely relief for such affected employees whose services are either terminated, suspended or dismissed on various reasons. Even high costs of advocates are too heavy for them to afford to fight their case.

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If we take the example of the education and health departments, the secretary level bureaucrats feel that they are experts in policy making for these key social sector departments but the fact is that these departments could be run smoothly by the executive officers  from the health and education since they understand the technical terms and needs of the departments more effectively than these civil servants who can only handle office and revenue related  tasks .

It is ironic that there is no quota of gazetted officers from education and health departments to be posted as secretaries, additional secretaries and section officers.

It is disappointing to note that if any Grade 17, 18, 19 and 20 officer is posted at a secretariat in his/her parent department, these top bureaucrats challenge the appointment as ‘non-cadre.’

It is beyond understanding that despite being the production of teachers, these civil servants consider the teachers incompetent to run the affairs of their own department.

It is sheer injustice to note that when we compare the perks and privileges of both civil servants and other teaching and admin cadre officers, we are astonished to see such huge disparities between their pay packages. Even government confers special allowances and perks upon the employees of  President House, PM house, Senate, National Assembly, Governor House, CM house and Secretariat employee such as utility allowances, pay bonuses, house rent and other privileges which are not provided to any employee serving at divisional, district and tehsil level.

The perks such as time scale, increments are offered to one department while another department is deprived of such perks.

There is no unified or uniform pay package that is causing discontent and sense of deprivation. Our judiciary enjoys high pay packages and they should also pass ruling to bring the pay package in the same stage in lieu of grades to address the anomalies.

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It means all gradesirrespective of their departments should make the same salary if the violent protests and pen down strikes are to be avoided.

It is also worthy to mention here that the pay packages of the employees of corporate enterprises such as PIA, OGDCL, SSGC, SNGPL, and PPL etc are five times higher with fringe benefits such as unlimited health facilities, free education and scholarships and overtime facilities that are rare in other departments.

Such high-level disparities warrant that govt should address the variance in the pay packages of government employees, project based positions and corporate employees so that anomalies could be resolved.

The pay and pension commission should review the situation in the upcoming Annual Budget 2019-2020 to provide relief to those who are deprived of such perks and privileges that are available to other employees.

It is unjust to favour some employees working  in  Federal and Provincial Secretariats i.e President House, PM House, Senate , National Assembly , Governor House , CM House, Provincial Assemblies  Secretariats while deprivingothers who are also governed under the same Civil Servant rules.

The policy of postings, transfers, promotions and regularization must be revised and a quota with ratio of 60:40 should be approved in each department. The promotion cases must be dealt on an annual basis to avoid the disappointment of employees as it affects their output.

The civil services reforms are the need of the hour so that administrative unbalance could be fixed and protests of deprived employees could be averted by providing them with their due right of promotion, confirmation, regularization etc.

I recall the case of some teachers who were appointed through recruitment tests conducted by Professional Testing Services such as NTS, Sindh University, Sukkur IBA and other agencies in a transparent manner by Sindh Government  but after completion of their contract, they are protesting for their confirmation since govt is bound to regulate the services of such teachers.

Is it justified that teachers should protest for their rights on the streets of Karachi while police baton charges them and uses tear gas and water cannons to disperse them?

Finally, it’s pertinent to add that unless the disparities are addressed, the protests will continue. Even the use of force will be counterproductive and may create serious repercussions beyond the control of government.

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Analysis

The Impact of Iran’s Inclusion in CPEC: A Strategic Analysis

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In recent years, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has emerged as a transformative project, reshaping the economic landscape of the region. With its focus on infrastructure development, energy projects, and economic cooperation, CPEC has garnered significant attention globally. However, the potential inclusion of Iran in this ambitious initiative has sparked new discussions and raised intriguing possibilities for regional connectivity and economic growth. This article delves into the implications of Iran’s participation in CPEC, exploring the strategic implications and potential benefits of this collaboration.

Understanding CPEC: A Brief Overview

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at enhancing connectivity and promoting economic development in the region. Launched in 2015, CPEC encompasses a network of infrastructure projects, including roads, railways, ports, and energy facilities, with a total investment exceeding $60 billion. The corridor connects China’s western region to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, providing China with a strategic gateway to the Arabian Sea and beyond.

The Significance of Iran’s Inclusion in CPEC

Strengthening Regional Connectivity

Iran’s inclusion in CPEC would significantly enhance regional connectivity, creating a corridor that spans from China to Iran and onwards to the Middle East and Europe. This expanded network would not only facilitate trade and transportation but also promote economic integration and cooperation among the participating countries.

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Energy Cooperation and Resource Sharing

Iran, endowed with vast energy resources, could play a crucial role in meeting the energy demands of the region. By integrating Iran’s energy sector into CPEC, the project could benefit from Iran’s oil and gas reserves, ensuring a stable and diversified energy supply for the corridor and its member countries.

Economic Diversification and Trade Expansion

The inclusion of Iran in CPEC would open up new markets and opportunities for trade and investment. Iran’s strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East makes it a pivotal player in regional trade, offering access to a diverse range of markets and resources.

Strategic Implications and Geopolitical Considerations

Balancing Regional Dynamics

Iran’s participation in CPEC could potentially reshape the geopolitical landscape of the region, creating a new axis of cooperation and influence. By forging closer ties with Iran, China and Pakistan could counterbalance the influence of other regional powers, fostering a more multipolar and stable environment.

Addressing Security Concerns

The inclusion of Iran in CPEC raises security concerns, given the volatile nature of the region. Ensuring the safety and stability of the corridor would require enhanced cooperation and coordination among the participating countries, as well as robust security measures to safeguard the infrastructure and investments.

Conclusion: Embracing a New Era of Cooperation

In conclusion, the potential inclusion of Iran in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) represents a significant opportunity to enhance regional connectivity, promote economic growth, and foster greater cooperation among the participating countries. By leveraging Iran’s resources and strategic location, CPEC could evolve into a comprehensive network that spans across Asia, linking diverse economies and cultures. As the project moves forward, it is essential for all stakeholders to work together to address challenges, seize opportunities, and realize the full potential of this transformative initiative.

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As the world witnesses the evolution of CPEC and the potential integration of Iran, the future holds promise for a new era of cooperation and development in the region. By embracing this opportunity and harnessing the collective strengths of all participating nations, CPEC could emerge as a model for sustainable growth and prosperity, shaping the destiny of the region for generations to come.

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Analysis

Biden Boosts Pacific Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement in the Indo-Pacific

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Introduction

In an era marked by shifting global power dynamics, economic interdependence, and regional security challenges, the United States under the leadership of President Joe Biden has placed a renewed emphasis on its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific has emerged as a geopolitical epicentre, where economic vitality, strategic interests, and diplomatic endeavours converge. President Biden’s commitment to boosting Pacific diplomacy underscores a strategic shift aimed at reinforcing America’s presence, fostering regional stability, and building enduring partnerships.

This blog post delves into the multifaceted aspects of President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy strategy, examining its objectives, key initiatives, and implications for the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific. As we explore the dynamics of this critical region, we will see how President Biden’s approach seeks to address complex challenges while capitalizing on the vast opportunities presented by the Indo-Pacific.

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Understanding the Indo-Pacific

Before delving into President Biden’s initiatives, it is imperative to comprehend the significance of the Indo-Pacific region. Stretching from the eastern shores of Africa to the western coast of the Americas, the Indo-Pacific encompasses a vast expanse of land and sea, home to over half the world’s population and accounting for a significant share of global economic output. It is a region of immense strategic importance, characterized by diverse cultures, economies, and geopolitical interests.

The Indo-Pacific hosts major global players, including China, India, Japan, and Australia, each with its own vision for the region’s future. China’s rapid economic rise, military modernization, and assertive behaviour in the South China Sea have sparked concerns among its neighbours and the broader international community. India’s burgeoning economy and growing influence further add to the region’s complexity.

The United States has long maintained a security presence in the Indo-Pacific through its alliances and partnerships, notably with Japan, South Korea, and Australia. However, in recent years, concerns arose about the sustainability of this commitment, prompting a reassessment of U.S. priorities in the region.

President Biden’s Pacific Diplomacy: Objectives and Initiatives

President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy strategy is rooted in a clear set of objectives aimed at promoting a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. These objectives can be summarized as follows:

  1. Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships: The cornerstone of President Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy is the reinforcement of existing alliances, such as the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the cultivation of new partnerships. The Quad, a strategic forum comprising the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, has gained prominence as a mechanism for enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
  2. Countering China’s Assertiveness: While the Biden administration has emphasized competition with China across various domains, it also seeks areas of cooperation, such as climate change and global health. The administration’s approach balances competition with engagement, recognizing that competition does not preclude cooperation.
  3. Economic Engagement: Recognizing the economic significance of the Indo-Pacific, President Biden has underscored the importance of trade and investment in the region. His administration has explored opportunities for economic partnerships and infrastructure development, such as the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative.
  4. Promoting Democracy and Human Rights: Upholding democratic values and human rights is integral to President Biden’s foreign policy approach. In the Indo-Pacific, this translates into support for democratic institutions, civil society, and the rule of law.
  5. Addressing Climate Change and Environmental Challenges: Climate change poses a significant threat to the Indo-Pacific, with rising sea levels and extreme weather events affecting many countries in the region. President Biden’s commitment to addressing climate change aligns with the region’s urgent need for environmental resilience.
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Key Initiatives and Partnerships

  1. The Quad: The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, has emerged as a critical platform for security and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. President Biden has reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the Quad, which includes regular meetings among the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia. The Quad’s agenda covers a wide range of issues, including maritime security, cybersecurity, infrastructure development, and vaccine distribution.
  2. AUKUS: The Australia, UK, and US (AUKUS) security partnership has garnered significant attention for its focus on enhancing defence capabilities and technology sharing. AUKUS aims to bolster Australia’s naval capabilities, particularly through the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. This initiative signals a deeper commitment to regional security in the Indo-Pacific.
  3. ASEAN Engagement: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plays a central role in regional diplomacy. President Biden has actively engaged with ASEAN member states to strengthen ties and address common challenges. The United States is also working to advance the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which emphasizes ASEAN centrality and principles of inclusivity and transparency.
  4. Infrastructure Investment: The Indo-Pacific is in dire need of infrastructure development to support economic growth and connectivity. President Biden’s administration has introduced the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, aimed at mobilizing private sector investment in areas such as climate-resilient infrastructure, digital technology, and health security. This initiative complements China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and offers an alternative approach to infrastructure development.
  5. Climate Change Mitigation: Recognizing the existential threat posed by climate change, President Biden has prioritized climate action as a cornerstone of his foreign policy. The United States has engaged with Indo-Pacific nations to promote clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance climate resilience in the region.
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Implications and Challenges

President Biden’s emphasis on boosting Pacific diplomacy carries profound implications for the United States, its allies, and the broader Indo-Pacific region. Some of the key implications and challenges include:

  1. Balancing Competition and Cooperation: Striking the right balance between competition and cooperation with China is a delicate task. While competition in the Indo-Pacific is inevitable, the United States and its allies must identify areas of common interest where cooperation is possible.
  2. Enhancing Regional Stability: The Indo-Pacific faces numerous security challenges, including territorial disputes, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and the rise of non-state actors. President Biden’s strategy aims to enhance regional stability through strengthened alliances and partnerships.
  3. Economic Opportunities: The Indo-Pacific offers immense economic opportunities, but it also presents challenges related to market access, trade disputes, and intellectual property protection. President Biden’s administration must navigate these complexities to promote economic growth.
  4. Geopolitical Shifts: The Indo-Pacific is witnessing shifting geopolitical alignments, with countries reassessing their strategic priorities. President Biden’s approach seeks to align the United States with like-minded nations while preserving flexibility in response to evolving dynamics.
  5. Human Rights and Democracy: Upholding democratic values and human rights is a central component of President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy. Balancing this commitment with pragmatic diplomacy may require careful navigation in situations where U.S. interests intersect with autocratic regimes.

Conclusion

President Joe Biden’s commitment to boosting Pacific diplomacy represents a strategic shift aimed at reinforcing America’s presence in the Indo-Pacific and fostering regional stability. His multi-pronged approach, including strengthening alliances and partnerships, countering China’s assertiveness, promoting economic engagement, and addressing global challenges, reflects a nuanced understanding of the region’s complexities.

The Indo-Pacific is a dynamic and consequential theater, where the United States, its allies, and partners must navigate a complex web of geopolitical, economic, and security interests. President Biden’s initiatives, such as the Quad and AUKUS, signal a renewed American commitment to the region’s security and prosperity. Moreover, his emphasis on climate change and infrastructure development underscores the broader global challenges that require collective action.

As the Indo-Pacific continues to evolve, President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy provides a framework for addressing challenges, seizing opportunities, and shaping the region’s future. In doing so, the United States aims to promote a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific that benefits all nations in the region and contributes to global stability and prosperity.

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Democracy

From Gerontocracy to Youthcracy: The Dilemma of Political Parties in Pakistan

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Introduction

The political landscape of Pakistan is undergoing a profound transformation, marked by a shift from gerontocracy to youthcracy. This article provides an in-depth exploration of this transition, its implications for political parties, and the evolving dynamics of power in the country. In a comprehensive examination, we delve into the challenges and opportunities faced by political parties as they adapt to this rapidly changing political landscape.

Understanding Gerontocracy

Gerontocracy, a term that has been frequently used to characterize the Pakistani political system, describes a situation where the elderly wield considerable power and influence in the governance of a nation. In Pakistan, this phenomenon has prevailed for decades, with senior politicians dominating the political stage. However, as the demographics of the country evolve, with a growing population of young citizens, political parties are confronted with a complex dilemma.

The Emergence of Youthcracy

The Power of the Youth Vote

Pakistan boasts a vibrant and youthful population, with a significant percentage under the age of 30. These young individuals are increasingly becoming politically aware and active, wielding the potential to reshape the nation’s political landscape. The emergence of youth power, often referred to as youthcracy, has become a defining feature of contemporary Pakistani politics.

The power of the youth vote cannot be overstated. The sheer number of young voters makes them a formidable force to be reckoned with. Political parties are beginning to recognize that winning the allegiance of this demographic is no longer an option but a necessity.

Challenges Faced by Political Parties

Balancing Experience and Fresh Perspective

One of the foremost challenges confronting political parties in Pakistan is how to navigate the delicate balance between the seasoned politicians who have long held sway and the energetic yet relatively inexperienced youth. The interplay between experience and fresh perspectives has become a pivotal factor for the success of any political party.

While experienced politicians bring a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of the intricacies of governance, they may also be associated with entrenched interests and resistance to change. In contrast, the youth represent innovation, fresh ideas, and a desire for reform. Striking the right equilibrium between these two demographics is crucial for political parties seeking to remain relevant and effective.

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Adapting to Modern Communication

The youth are digitally connected, and their political awakening often happens on social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have become powerful tools for mobilization and advocacy. Political parties must adapt to these changing communication dynamics to engage with the younger generation effectively.

Traditional campaign methods, such as door-to-door canvassing and rallies, are no longer sufficient. Digital campaigns, online debates, and viral content creation have become the norm. Political parties must invest in sophisticated digital strategies, engaging with the youth where they are most active and receptive.

Strategies for Political Parties

Navigating the transition from gerontocracy to youthcracy requires strategic foresight and adaptability. Here are key strategies that political parties can employ to thrive in this evolving political landscape:

Encouraging Youth Participation

To embrace youthcracy, political parties must actively encourage young individuals to participate in politics. This goes beyond tokenism and superficial youth wings within parties. It involves offering substantial leadership roles to young politicians, mentorship programs, and providing platforms for the youth to voice their concerns.

Moreover, political parties should prioritize issues that resonate with the youth, such as education, employment opportunities, and environmental sustainability. Addressing these concerns demonstrates a commitment to the aspirations of the younger generation.

Embracing Technological Advancements

Utilizing technology for outreach, campaigns, and information dissemination is no longer optional—it is imperative. Political parties need to harness the power of data analytics, targeted advertising, and social media engagement to connect with the younger audience effectively.

Digital platforms provide an opportunity for direct interaction with voters, allowing parties to gauge sentiment, address concerns in real time, and tailor their messaging to specific demographics. This digital transformation also extends to fundraising efforts, which can now be conducted online with greater efficiency and transparency.

Promoting Transparency and Accountability

The youth are often more critical of corruption and inefficiency in government. Political parties must prioritize transparency and accountability to gain the trust of this demographic. Implementing robust anti-corruption measures, disclosing sources of funding, and holding party members accountable for misconduct are essential steps.

Furthermore, political parties should adopt a culture of inclusivity, where decisions are made collectively, and policies are developed through open dialogue. This approach not only fosters trust but also ensures that the concerns of diverse segments of the population, including the youth, are considered.

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Conclusion

The transformation from gerontocracy to youthcracy is reshaping the landscape of Pakistani politics. This paradigm shift presents both challenges and opportunities for political parties. Those who successfully adapt to these changes will be better positioned to address the evolving needs and aspirations of the Pakistani population.

As we move forward, the key to political success in Pakistan lies in embracing the demographic realities of the country. The youth are not merely the future; they are the present. Their voices, aspirations, and demands must be at the forefront of political agendas.

In conclusion, the era of youthcracy in Pakistan signals a new dawn in the nation’s political history. It is a testament to the vitality and dynamism of the country’s youth. Political parties that understand this transition and respond proactively will not only survive but thrive in the evolving landscape of Pakistani politics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is gerontocracy in the context of Pakistani politics? Gerontocracy refers to a political system where older individuals hold significant power and influence in the government.
  2. What is youthcracy, and how is it affecting political parties in Pakistan? Youthcracy represents the growing influence of the younger generation in politics, challenging traditional power dynamics within political parties in Pakistan.
  3. Why is the youth vote important in Pakistani politics? The youth vote is crucial because Pakistan has a significant young population, and their political engagement can shape the country’s future.
  4. How can political parties in Pakistan encourage youth participation? Political parties can encourage youth participation by offering leadership roles, mentorship programs, and creating platforms for young voices.
  5. What role does technology play in the transition to youthcracy? Technology is essential for reaching and engaging with the youth. Political parties need to utilize digital strategies for effective communication.
  6. Why is transparency and accountability important in attracting the youth to vote? The youth often demand transparency and accountability in politics, and parties that prioritize these values are more likely to gain their trust.
  7. What are the benefits of a political party embracing both experience and fresh perspectives? Embracing both experience and fresh perspectives allows a party to draw on the wisdom of seasoned politicians while also tapping into the energy and innovation of the youth.
  8. How can political parties effectively use social media to engage with the youth? Political parties can use social media by creating engaging content, participating in online discussions, and addressing the concerns and issues that matter most to young voters.
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