Pakistan is beset by
a perverted and sham form of so called democracy.
This version of sham
democracy is actually an existential threat and allows the same old decrepit,
discredited, deviants and corrupt jokers wearing different party colors back in
power. If it’s not NS then its Terry Thomas! Or if not Rehman Malik, then that
other masterpiece Rana Sanaullah and their likes. All with nothing but their own personal
self-interests, and the nation be damned!!.
And this is how it
In 2008 PPP got their
124 seats to become the largest party by getting just 13% of the eligible vote
bank of 85 million voters.
PMLNs mandate of 91
seats came from a DISMAL 8.3 % of the Eligible votes. And PMLQ, got their 54
seats through 10% percent of the eligible votes. Yes they got more votes than
So the three largest
parties got approx. 80% SEATS through 30% of the ELIGIBLE VOTE. 70% PERCENT
PEOPLE REJECTED THEM either through non participation (60%) or voting for
So really any party
which can “game” and “buy” the system through “rural electables” pre poll
rigging, every dirty trick, including partnering with their worst enemies (Qatil
League and PPP, MQM and ANP etc) gets into power.
The 2012 election was
PMLN officially got a
mere 17% of the registered vote to brag about their heavy mandate of 126 seats
from the 272 up for grabs. This notwithstanding the now widely accepted fact
that massive rigging got them a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 60 seats.
So even if one were
to accept these official ECP numbers, even then a WHOPPING 83% percent
registered voters of Pakistan have rejected the PMLN either by voting against
them or not voting.
Look at some of the
other parties. PPP takes 8% of the
registered vote for 33 seats, Imran Khan’s PTI 9 % of the registered vote (more
than PPP) for their 28 seats.
But wait look at this. MQM gets 3% of the
registered vote for 19 seats and Mullah Diesel Rehman with 1.7% of the
registered vote swings in 11 seats and enough to blackmail everybody.
So all a party needs
is about between 13% to 17% of the registered Vote; however which way they can,
rig, cheat, bribe, and then rule with impunity for 5 years.
Our Electoral process
and system has to change otherwise we will continue to get these “rotten” eggs
back in power who do not have the intent, the passion and even more importantly
the skills, capability and capability to deliver results.
It has been estimated
that the National Assembly seats rotate amongst 1246 people / families.
So it is clear that
we will continue to be held hostage by dynastic politics and see such sickening
sights of a wimpish effeminate Bilawal hailed as the future “peoples” leader.
Or a smirking corrupt
to the hilt Hamza raising his finger like a Mussolini, as if taunting this
spineless nation for their absolute sheep like acceptance of their
Or a Mariam Nawaz,
pretty and charming as she is, nurtured as the next heir apparent and silently
but viciously vying with Hamza for the Sharif legacy.
Despite the “public
bonhomie” between the brothers GRIMM, a royal battle is on between them to the
extent that no business can be conducted in Punjab, unless it is, as fairly
substantiated rumors go ( I don’t have receipts and clandestine tapes
unfortunately), facilitated by the younger GRIMM and his “fixers”. These guys
allegedly report directly to Hamza and Salman, the other son of SS, who no one
Are we fated to
suffer this utter nonsense and continue to be held hostage by dynastic politics
or do we somehow break their strangle hold ?.
So here are some
thoughts on a possible way out
Firstly and for
starters is the need for electoral reform and a Presidential form of government
elected through direct adult franchise, with more than 50% of the vote and not
first past the post. The same for
provincial Governors and the Federal and Provincial legislatures.
A key change in the
governance structure is the constitutional power to these Federal and
Provincial Chief Executives (President and Governors) to appoint the most
capable technocrats, to cabinet posts.
These technocrats do not have to be elected legislators as is currently
required, but as in the USA, are appointed to cabinet posts by the President /
Governors and approved by Senate and Congressional Standing Committees, before
they take office.
This way we have
people, who may have personal political affiliations and biases towards a
political party or person, but also have the professional expertise and
capability to address the strategy and policy making of their respective
Otherwise we are
doomed to see the strange sight of a street hooligan like Abid Sher Ali trying
to sort out Pakistan’s energy crisis, using tactics reminiscent of a local
small time badmash, uncouth, uncivilized, with no idea of the industry, its
issues, the long terms ramifications of current decisions etc.
Or our good old Jack
in the Box, Khawaja Saad Rafique trying to fix the railways, General Musharraf,
Imran Khan and everybody in Pakistan, except his portfolio and concurrently
running lucrative real estate empires.
Or even more
dangerous and frightening is the silky tounged, smooth operator Ittefaq
Accountant turned Economist, the one and only vanishing beard Ishaq Dar. As he convinces all and sundry about his
efforts to control the exchange rate, putting us into debt, selling bonds at
exorbitant rates, and fixing economy, he is digging our economic grave. And at
the same time enjoying his immense Dubai based real estate empire, and
Lamborghinis for his son.
How on earth do we
expect that these guys will deliver for the good of the country?. They are
either completely incompetent or corrupt, and the combination of the two gives
us a Raja Rental!!
So it is critical to
have a process which allows capable, competent and subject matter expert
professionals, into positions of senior policymaking, cabinet level roles, who
know the subject, the business, the industry and the field. While one doesn’t
even hand over one’s car to a driver who doesn’t know how to drive, yet we
calmly hand over the reins of a major ministry to a street badmash!!
Secondly, we also
need more provinces to break the strangle hold of the larger provinces on the
politics of Pakistan. 17 at least if not 30 as Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri says. And I
am not a Qadri supporter. This will
bring local government closer to the people.
This requires further
reform, to implement the Musharraf era type of Direct Local Government with
administrative and financial authority in the hands of the Districts and
Tehsils. This will take away the financial power of the provincial and federal
legislatures and administration with which they currently rule like Feudal
Lords, treating the administrative machinery and police as their personal hired
Isn’t it obvious that
the PPP and now the PMLN government have completely ignored and attempted to
destroy what was clearly the best Local Government system in Pakistan, under
General Musharraf? Because it took away the financial power and the
administrative authority from the federal and provincial MNA’s and MPAs and the
PM and the CMs, and these are the very people that parties use to catapult them
into power and vice versa.
perfectly cute little arrangement, and the rest of the country thinks that this
is “democracy”. And it really helps to buy out a few media houses and pole
vault third rate pseudo-journalists into becoming the “voice of the
people”. The recent GEO, Hamid Mir and
ISI issue is still very fresh.
Clearly, being a
realist, one doesn’t advocate a utopian ideal where everyone is clean and
honest and hardworking. Granted that
there will still be corruption at the District and Tehsil local government
level, and contracts will go to favored ones.
In the existing
system there is really no accountability of public funds, because they come
from far of power centers, administered by colonial type officers bearing no
allegiance or sensitivities to local needs.
Conversely a genuine Local government system holds the locally elected
officials to instant accountability on a daily basis and significantly reduce
chances of re-election if they fail. Also and very importantly these elected
District and Tehsil Nazims, by virtue of their office have to reside in their
cities and towns, attend regular office hours every day, and meet and face
local people every day.
And it is this
local proximity and daily accountability and access which drives public service
and public good.
How can one forget
the strange phenomenon of Fakhar Imam and Shah Mahmood Qureshi choosing to
become District Nazims and not elected MNAs as power got devolved to the local
government system under Zia.
On the other hand in
the existing system, the local MNA or an MPA or Senator, once elected is likely
living in the comforts of an urban city like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad driving
around in their sleek 4X4’s, Mercedes, Porsches, followed and preceded by
VIGOs, laden with guards, and their
children studying in North America, Europe, Australia etc.
This while the
hapless poor running from pillar to post under a DCO or a DPO, only answerable
to the Chief Minister, who knows his or her own future is secure as long as they are in the good graces
of their “Master”. So to hell with the populace.
So come next election
time, these master crafters called politicians, spend a lot of money which they
have “earned” through massive financial corruption, get a ticket, rig the
election, get elected and go back to their palaces and Land Cruisers and
Such is the current
tragedy of our current electoral and governance system.
Also under the new
system, the primary role of the Federal and provincial elected legislatures
should be to Legislate and develop new laws for better governance. The system
will completely disassociate them from administrative and financial authority.
The result will be that only those people will vie for public office, who are
genuinely interested in public well-being, because the financial lure is no
These changes in the
electoral process and governance structure presented are perhaps one of many
ways we can get effective good governance at the grass roots to deliver results
which build a Nation and provide for the welfare and well-being of
This is not a utopian
In fact we have seen such a
system deliver some great results. Under Gen Musharraf’s we saw in his first
three years, how a cabinet of 17 technocrats administered with great effectiveness
and how the local government at the grass roots and nearly delivered a miracle.
But he too fell victim to the machinations of the “Old guard” and the rest is
So we need a BIG
CHANGE in the CONSTITUTION. to the
electoral process and the governance structure.
The question is how and who
will bell the cat?
One. The men on
horseback come riding in, throw everyone out, set up a constitutional assembly,
make the changes, put it to referendum and then move on. Not recommended as this does more harm than
Two. The People rise
to create a Tahrir square, Ukraine, Thailand like environment, bringing the
country to a standstill. The Supreme
Court may then declare a state of emergency, ask the Army to first clear the
law and order situation, appoint a neutral caretaker set up ( not imported like
Moeen Qureshi) and then this set up seeks a referendum on the issue and an
interim arrangement to bring about the constitutional changes and then the
ELECTION under new rules.
Lots required and
won’t come easy for sure.
importantly it has to be delivered through the genuine WILL of the PEOPLE. Like someone very close to me always says. Even if we get good leaders in Pakistan,
where will we get the “good” people to follow the “good” leaders. Point worth pondering. Perhaps it is time we
woke up from our sleep and redeem our future.
The bottom line is
that the status quo of Sharifs and Zardaris should not and must not last.
They cannot be
allowed to bleed this country dry and hoodwink people into thinking that this
“democracy” is their ticket to eternal salvation . it is not. It is a
“Sharifocracy” and a “Zardariocracy” or a “Mullahcracy” and it is only “their
ticket” to “salvation” not the peoples.
And here is the
biggest threat they pose.
These evil elements will attempt to destroy any
institution which has the potential to threaten their nice pristine golden
The Pakistan Army is on top and in their cross hairs. How Nawaz Sharif would love to lord over the Generals and Brigadiers etc as he does over police IG's, Senior beuracrats. Transferring and posting them at his and his cronies's whim and fancyops that list.
So one is not at all surprised at the criminal manner in which
the present government handled the Hamid Mir, GEO, ISI affair.
If they manage
to get their way in weakening the Pakistan Army, we are in really serious
I do not in any form
advocate military adventurism but in times like this we have limited options.
This I say despite my personal aversion to military adventurism in governance.
So I don’t know what
Imran Khan and Qadri saheb and others have up their sleeves. But one thing is for sure that if change has
to come then they must create a Tahrir Square like situation and we hope it
will lead to a better Pakistan.
Otherwise we will
never know, because clearly the current system is not working !!