Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

India-Pakistan-Bangladesh triangle

India-Pakistan-Bangladesh triangle - a revolving triangle!

Today's tweet on this triangle:

India views Pakistan the way Pakistan views Bangladesh; and Bangladesh views Pakistan the way Pakistan views India!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Asif Ali Zardari - General Zia Incarnate

One man can do wonders, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court proved that. His 8 years in the Supreme Court shook the foundations of the un-challengeable rule of Riyasati Ashrafiya in Pakistan.

Starting from March 9, 2007 and till his second restoration, and even after that I wrote many an article on various aspects of political and constitutional crisis facing Pakistan, and as the Honorable Chief Jistice retires this December 12, I will be posting / sharing some of the writings I penned during this period.

Here is one incomplete piece which I wrote on July 13, 2008.

Asif Ali Zardari - General Zia Incarnate

How keen was the observation of Senator Mushahid Husain Secretary General of PML (Q), when he likened Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, Co-Chairman of PPP, to General Zia-ul-Haq, a military dictator who ruled over Pakistan from 1977 to 1988 till his death in a military helicopter crash. While responding to a question why PPP is flip-flopping on the issue of deposed judges’ restoration, he said Mr. Zardari’s politics is surprisingly similar to that of General Zia who used to create uncertainty regarding the crucial issues and never committed himself to a clear point of view on that issue. Second, he used to drag the issue hoping that the time factor would make miracles.

The most crucial issue that needs to be addressed urgently by the government is the fate of General (Retired) Musharraf’s unconstitutional acts of November 3 last as a result of which about 60 judges of superior courts were deposed and detained in their houses. The lawyers’ community and Pakistani civil society are on the streets demanding their restoration. In addition, in February 18 elections, a major part of the Pakistani electorate voted for the ouster of General (Retired) Musharraf and deposed judges’ restoration. The same demand was the election slogan of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif) which swept in the majority province Punjab. It bagged 73 National Assembly seats mostly from Punjab, and 91 seats in the Punjab Assembly. This clearly shows cogency of the demand.

Then, the two major parties, PPP and PML (N), traditionally considered arch rivals, made a coalition both in the center and Punjab province. As reiterated time and time again, and as embodied in the Murree Declaration of March 9, 2008, the PML (N) leadership accepted the federal ministries on the condition of restoration of the deposed judges within 30 days of the forming of federal government. But Mr. Zardari and his party men made a joke of those 30 days that passed without taking any step towards the restoration. However, it was the patience of PML (N) leadership that they kept on negotiating with the defiant and deviant PPP leadership, and again a deadline was announced.

That deadline of May 12 also went with the wind. Quite naturally, PML (N) federal ministers quit the ministries and the formal negotiation on the issue of restoration stopped. The whole blame is on the new leadership of PPP and especially on the person of Mr. Zardari, virtually the lone heir of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s and Benzir Bhutto’s political legacy.

Now when he has got PML (N) off the board, he is playing dilly-dallying with the lawyers’ movement. Still there are no clear signs from the PPP leadership whether the party is prepared to restore the deposed judges to their due positions with grace and honor, or not. Every now and then, a new move is seen floating on the scene on behalf of the PPP leaders, such as federal law minister Farooq H. Naek, Senator Sardar Latif Khosa, and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani himself. While attending the World Economic Forum Middle East meeting in Egypt, he made a very controversial statement. He said: The problem is that we have one post of Chief Justice while there are two claimants of the same post. This is really characteristic of PPP new leadership: create so much confusion around the issue so that it gets blurred. Also, generate artificial and unreal issues out of the original and real one.      

[This incomplete piece was written on July 13, 2008.]

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The last temptation of Asif Ali Zardari

“The military use of children takes three distinct forms: children can take direct part in hostilities (child soldiers), or they can be used in support roles such as porters, spies, messengers, look outs; or they can be used for political advantage either as human shields or in propaganda.

Which category Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s or Aseefa Bhutto Zardari’s political use by Pakistan Peoples Party or Asif Ali Zardari falls in?

The last temptation of Asif Ali Zardari

When good government prevails men of little worth submit to men of great worth. When bad government prevails men of little power submit to men of great power.
[Mencius, c. 300 BC]

A good government produces citizens distinguished for courage, love of justice, and every other good quality; a bad government makes them cowardly, rapacious, and the slave of every foul desire.
[Dionysius of Halicarnassus, c. 20 BC]

In rivers and bad governments the lightest things swim at the top.
[Benjamin Franklin]

Self-interest runs supreme. It is natural and logical. However, it is market that discovers and maintains a beautiful balance between clashing self-interests. Voluntary exchanges in the market where all the parties involved seek their own interest ultimately benefit all the parties. Otherwise, if any one fears to incur harm or loss, the exchange does not take place. This is how self-interest of one individual takes care of other individuals’ interest. It is in this perspective that the science of economics has been defined as the study of how and how not we fulfill our mutual needs.

But what about the science of politics! Is there no market here that creates a balance between clashing self-interests? If not, why?  No doubt, politics has a flourishing market, especially in developing countries where political self-interest both immediately and in the long run results in the fulfillment of economic self-interests of the elite classes. In clear contrast to the economic market, in these countries political market is more distorted. It has scant voluntary exchanges. It has lies, frauds, deceptions, coercion, manipulation, exploitation, and huge corruption rampant in its bazaars. In fact, there no rule reigns supreme but the personal rules.

As matter of fact, after the fall of Soviet Union, opening up of economic markets, particularly in developing countries, took a swift turn. But no doubt the opening up of political markets could not run at the same pace. Rather, there prevailed a stubborn rigidity. The elite classes which had monopolized the political markets would never allow them to be free to others. This helped them keep their hold intact on monopolized closed national economic markets whether through de-regulating or regulating these markets. Pakistan is the best example of such a country.

Ironically, it is through this mechanism of de-regulation and regulation that the elite classes permitted a sort of ‘trickling down’ that kept the poverty steam of the people controlled. This brought temporary phases of artificial prosperity to various sections of society. And, this helped the elite classes to keep their monopolization of political markets undisturbed and running smoothly. Again, Pakistan excelled in that.

However, as there is always a Moses to a Pharaoh, most of the sections that prospered on de-regulation of the economic markets were able to see the real face of the Pharaohs. This real face is their elitist politics, controlled and distorted democracy, and fake constitutionalism. It was revealed to them that in the political market, there are no rules. They found out that though there is much fanfare on the issue of constitution, it is merely a plaything for the elite classes. It has nothing to do with the rules of the political game being played in Pakistan since its beginning.

This real knowledge was manifested somehow in the person of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan. Such real knowledge is always threatening to the interests of elite classes and their rule. The first person who somehow smelled this danger first or reacted to it first was General (retired) Pervez Musharraf. This made us witness to the fateful episode of the year 2007, the March 9, where the real knowledge and the vested interests collided. Rest is known to us all.

Later on, after the murder of Benazir Bhutto and February 18 elections, the relay race of protecting the interests of the elite classes changed hands. General Musharraf handed over the torch to Asif Ali Zardari, who had just won a political lottery to the Co-Chairmanship of Pakistan Peoples Party which otherwise would have gone to the share of his wife. This torch was a symbol that represented the knowledge of threat to the elite classes. What is happening to this day is proof enough that Asif Ali Zardari is running well like an experienced racer.

It is this sort of political market where there are no rules of game observed and enforced that temptations abound. Also, it is such a market where no rules of game are permitted to be enforced and observed that temptations come true. Really, in a country where there is no constitution and no regard for it in the elite classes; where there is no rule of law and no regard for it in the elite classes; where there is no independent judiciary and no regard for it in the elite classes; such a country is a perfect example of monopolized political market that serves the economic interests of the elite classes best.

In such a perfectly distorted political market, the temptations are not only abundant but irresistible. Here we have money-whitening schemes, concessions, rebates, tax holidays, SROs, loan write-offs in the economic realm and all that to benefit the elite classes. In the political realm, we have suspension of rules, under-hand deals, pardons, and NROs and all that to benefit the elite classes. This makes Pakistan a thoroughly monopolized political market.

Sure, if there is a constitution which is respected by all persons and enforced equally to all persons and situations without any suspension, abeyance, crooked amendments and abrogations; if there is rule of law which treats all equally without making any discrimination between them on any count; if there is an independent judiciary which takes its inspiration from the constitution, keeps its letter and spirit sacred to its heart, plays as its real custodian in every situation, and never bows to the whims of both dictators and elected rulers and their mala fide amendments; in such a political market though the existence of temptations and those who are susceptible to these temptations may not be ruled out, however, it may be ensured there that temptations are scarce and those who go after them be not rewarded, but duly punished.

This perspective helps us understand what’s going on in the present day Pakistan. It’s a fight and that too a neck-deep fight between the representatives of the elite classes and the people. The most deceptive factor and character in this battlefield is that of the political parties, especially Pakistan Peoples Party. They do politics in the name of people but indeed they just use them to further their economic and political interests. Previously, PPP’s Chairperson Benazir Bhutto used her party’s clout to create “new temptations” for her own benefit which manifested in her deal with General (retired) Musharraf, and that was in addition to the existing elitist temptations. After her, it is Asif Ali Zardari who is safeguarding not only his own and his family’s interests but also the interests of the elite classes of Pakistan. It needs no mention of his party’s interests. In his person, it may be his very personal and private temptation what he gained in consequence of the NRO, but on the social plane, he represents the elite classes of Pakistan and is protecting their interests.

Thus, it must be clear to us that for Asif Ali Zardari consolidating NRO, maintaining the status quo by not restoring the thrown away judges, or restoring them by keeping the PCOed judges along with them in the same courts, by making the judiciary pliant, pro-elite and anti-people by way of the ‘Constitutional Package,’ may be his last temptation, but for the elites of Pakistan it is not their last temptation.

That is why it makes the rule of law movement so important and so decisive to the fate of us, the people of Pakistan. It requires that we should clearly recognize who are our friends and who are our enemies. We should realize that it is rule of games for which we must stand up beyond our affiliation be it to caste, clan, ethnicity, community, sect, religion, party or any other thing. It is supremacy of the rule of games, or the constitution, that will ensure our fundamental rights to us; it is an independent judiciary that will ensure dignity and justice to us. A political party which does not favor restoration of the judges, supremacy of the constitution and rule of law can never ensure us our fundamental rights, dignity and justice. Only guarantee for the security of our fundamental rights, dignity and justice is supremacy of the constitution and not the parliament, an independent judiciary, and rule of law. We must stand up for the judges, who were thrown away on November 3 last, to get back in their courts to move fast in that direction. That is simple and straight!
[This article was completed on July 6, 2008.]

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tweets on Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

November 29, 2013:
Is Shah Mehmood Qureshi behind PTI, taking revenge from US for his ouster from the gov in Raymond Davis case: US diplomat met him yesterday!

November 24, 2013:
Re PTI blocks NATO supply: Imran Khan, instead of focusing on governance in K-P, is wasting his Party's first ever stint in a province!

November 22, 2013:
In Pakistan, opposition is usually meaner than the government! See the present opposition . . .

September 28, 2013:
Is Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf playing the political wing of the Taliban? Or what is it up to!

September 20, 2013:
With Imran Khan (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) the quality of Pakistani politics, which was already at its lowest, has gone down the drain!

November 8, 2011:
No good news! Sort of liberal fascism is on the rise in Pakistan . . . hand in glove with the establishment! Debuted on Oct 30 in Lahore!

September 12, 2011:
All the roads, starting from the House of the Establishment, passing through the PTI, PPP, PML (Q), etc, lead to NO Muslim League (N)!