Books and Documents

Pakistan Press (25 Jan 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Crime of Extra-Judicial Killing: New Age Islam's Selection, 25 January 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

25 January 2017

Crime of Extra-Judicial Killing

By Muhammad Ali Nekokara

Istanbul Has A Karachi Moment

By Sharmeen Ali Khan

The US and Trump Phenomenon

 By S P Seth

The Nuclear Taboo

By Rizwan Asghar

Cihantugal’s The Fall of the Turkish Model

By Dr Qaisar Rashid

The Begging Bowl

By Anjum Altaf

Then and Now –­ A Difference

By Harris Khalique

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Crime of Extra-Judicial Killing

By Muhammad Ali Nekokara

January 25th, 2017

LAST Wednesday, this paper carried an editorial on staged encounters and lamented the fact that the “deaths of suspects in police shoot-outs are an acceptable part of routine life today”.

Let us put it directly: extra-judicial killing is a crime; it is a murder and a cognisable offence under the law of the land. However, the response of society and the state to extra-judicial killings is different to an ordinary murder or crime. The societal response to staged encounters, substantially dictated by fear of crime, roughly borders on a general indifference to or the stated or unspoken approval of such police tactics, with occasional condemnation by some civil society members and media persons.

The proponents of due process condemn extra-judicial killings for legal, moral and social reasons. It is a murder pure and simple; the police officers are supposed to arrest criminals and produce them before the court; they should not betray the trust of the state; violence begets violence and leads to the brutalisation of society, and hence is counterproductive.

Advocates of staged encounters maintain that ‘extraordinary times warrant extraordinary measures’. They give examples of the security environment in the country as well as of ruthless criminals and terrorists, involved in hundreds of killings, bailed for lack of evidence. They argue that Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Malik Ishaq remained in prison for 12 years and Asif Chotoo for seven, and although it was public knowledge that they were involved in brutal killings of hundreds of people they were bailed out in the courts.

Often lacking willing witnesses of serious, violent crimes, and working under the double burden of poor investigation skills and limited support, the police investigators’ capacity for effective prosecution of ruthless criminals and terrorists remains limited. The disconnect within the criminal justice system (CJS) where its various critical components such as police, prosecutors, lawyers and judges are struggling to have a functional relationship further complicates the prosecution of dangerous criminals.

Within the police, the house is divided on the issue of staged encounters. There are police officers who strictly oppose extra-judicial killings; there are others who support it directly or indirectly. The latter category can be broadly divided into three sub-categories: a) greedy/rogue elements who support the killings for personal gains such as more power, authority and material gains in service (at times they become more potent than their IGs due to their political connections); b) ‘moral righteousness’ — the killings are justified on the basis of their own interpretation of ‘crime control responsibility’, ‘religious edicts’ and ‘morality’; c) passive obedience to authority — Stanley Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority reasonably explains the ordeal of this category.

How do we respond to the problem of staged encounters? Punish police officers for the crime? Absolutely! Would that be enough though?

In a society like ours where the gap between the powerful and the weak is large, people are habitually reluctant to lodge complaints against the police; it is difficult to produce or sustain witnesses/evidence against the police and quite exacting to pursue the case all the way as they lack the requisite means in a system where the odds are already stacked against the weak. Labelling extra-judicial killing as a crime is also not a firm stance in our society, as popular opinion is divided over the nature and extent of criminal liability in such cases.

Formal controls over the police to check deviant and unlawful tactics are in the hands of the political executive and judiciary and, under Police Order, 2002, need to be supported by police complaint authorities (yet to be constituted). Informal controls include those developed through individual experiences and conditioning in families, schools, socialisation and communities. Controls, both formal and informal, remain weak. Although in a number of cases judicial inquiries into police encounters have resulted in the prosecution of police officers, so far no clear message has been sent to deviant police officers regarding staged encounters.

Indeed, the police are the public face of this problem. However, police alone cannot be blamed for the problem of extra-judicial killings. All the relevant actors need to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the problem. The approach needs to be corrective rather than penalising. Training of investigators, a functional and professional relationship between police and prosecutors, and a leading role for the judiciary would significantly help reduce the use of illegitimate and violent tactics by police to control crime.

The provincial justice committee established by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan in each province is a useful forum at the provincial level to deliberate and find solutions to such serious problems. The Lahore High Court chief justice recently expressed his resolve to make this important forum functional. His visit to the Central Police Office of Punjab on Jan 20, and meeting with the police leadership along with his fellow honourable judges, is a positive development.

In addition to emphasising the need for building a CJS data warehouse, the chief justice also decided to appoint focal persons in order to improve coordination within the CJS. Moreover, he has offered training to police investigators at the Punjab Judicial Academy. Police must avail themselves of this opportunity to improve the capacity of investigators and to deepen their understanding of judicial needs vis-à-vis investigations.

In the words of Kofi Annan, “leadership arises not from your position but from your actions”. CJS leaders need to exercise such leadership to improve efficiency and fairness in the system and, importantly, to do justice to their own respective roles. Fearful minds throw reason, justice and mercy to the wind. A dysfunctional CJS accentuates fear of crime and lends support to high-handed policing tactics. A functional CJS would help reduce fear of crime, and check deviant and brutal practices such as extra-judicial killings.

Source: dawn.com/news/1310526/crime-of-extra-judicial-killing


Istanbul Has A Karachi Moment

By Sharmeen Ali Khan


June 12, 2016. Dubai. As my last Turkish lesson ends, Naslin, my Turkish teacher in Dubai smiles and says, ‘don’t run away after three weeks, Sharmeen. It will take you time but don’t cancel your UAE visa either.’ It takes its time and I am ready to run away from Istanbul many times. By the end of December I would have experienced countless delays in registering my residency, lost shipment, mind boggling whirlpool of language difficulties and one very emotional day spent at Bayrampasa’s IKEA physically attached to its sole English speaking employee, bawling. Turkey would have been a subject of twenty two terror attacks and one failed coup and by end of 2016, people would be calling this year as one of the worst in Turkish’s recent history. (In the first hours of 2017, Istanbul’s popular district Ortokoy was hit with another grisly attack where gunmen opened fire in the nightclub killing 39 people.)

June 28th 2016, Istanbul. As my three day look-see visit is coming to an end, I ask to delay my flight because I haven’t found my home yet. By evening there has been a terror attack on the Ataturk Airport which kills 45. I get an alert from Emirates saying all flights out of Ataturk Airport have been cancelled until further notice. I try to find a flight out from of Sabiha Gokcen. My boss calls me and asks me if I would like to reconsider this move and I say no. My child is now admitted in the British School Istanbul. I have sold my dining table in Dubai and lightning doesn’t strike twice, right? Next day, I find a lovely ground floor apartment in Etiler.

The next few days are a whirlwind of flights back and forth Dubai, Istanbul and Islamabad; my mother has chosen this time to go through a major surgery and I have to also be in Islamabad while ensuring I get my landing permit in Istanbul and somehow close out the lease, banks in Dubai at exactly the same time. So during all this confusion, come July 16th 2016, I am in Islamabad, having just landed when a hysterical friend from Dubai calls and says “Will you put on BBC?” and I do and there is news of an attempted coup. I am not a full-fledged Istanbul resident yet and not even on location but in part, it feels like President Musharraf’s Coup in 99; same blackout, as BBC reports it, same military tanks on civilian turf, general panic, sounds of planes. Next morning, I again get a call from a panicky colleague in headquarters asking me if I would like to abort this relocation. “Not at all. I am a Pakistani, I was conceived, born and will probably die during a coup”. My Istanbul based colleagues look at me baffled when I joke about how none of the coups in Pakistan have ever been called ‘attempted’.

Back in Istanbul, one evening my local friend Canan takes me to Nisantesi’s House Café and she orders wine and mezze. We sit in its garden and it is lush with trees and other diners drink and revel. Three months later, the same café no longer serves alcohol due to the local mosque’s complaint.

On this trip back the immigration official had asked me why do I live in Istanbul as it so unsafe. I think of thousands of civilian casualties of Pakistan; I say nothing. In Istanbul office I complain to my colleague about Pakistan’s PM and Panama leaks. I tell her that we call him Mr. Potato because in the entire history of his political legacy, he has not shown a single cognitive skill higher than a root vegetable. She laughs and says ‘we too have many vegetables in our political sphere but we dare not mention them.’ When I was moving to Dubai I was advised never to speak of religion, the ruling family, Saudi Arabia, labor laws. In Turkey, it seems to be a visceral reaction and I refrain from opining about the local political scene. By September 2016, I have witnessed a few hurried shhhhs in corridors of my office, in elevators. I hear of arrests of thousands; journalists, teachers. I follow an Istanbul based BBC correspondent on Twitter but I have not truly tapped in any indigenous sentiment because of lack of language skills. Despite Naslin’s best efforts, and sixty hours of rigorous Turkish lessons, all I can truly say is ‘to my home I go.’ Turkish sentences end with a verb as in Urdu which shares vocabulary and linguistic idiosyncrasies with Turkish. In fact, ‘everything is possible’ is said in the exact same way in Urdu and Turkish. ‘herseymumkin.’

Pakistani Turk kardesh, my taxi driver tells me. Yes we may be brothers but then I wonder if that isn’t so much a compliment as it is a curse and if yes, for whom.

Seasons change. Central heating comes on in my apartment. My daughter experiences her first snow. I discover the joys of Hamams in winter and restaurants on Kadikoy. I discover the surreal feeling of taking one turn too early and ending up in a different continent.

December 11th, 2016, my daughter and I go to ‘Speech Bubbles, December Pantomime.’ It is ten minutes from my home so we walk to it. We have Christmas candy and the performance is warm and we sing all the way back. As we reach our home, we hear a massive explosion. I ask the guard what that may be and he gestures he doesn’t know. We think it may be a power generator. It turns out I am wrong. The sound was from a blast near Besiktas Stadium; 44 police officers and others have been killed. It is Karachi on  speed, I tweet.

My organization tells me they will support me if I want to move out. Mostly because of that concern shown by my colleagues outside of Istanbul, I start having mild anxiety attacks; but these may as well have to do with the fact that I eliminated all sugar. A friend cancels his trip when the Russian Ambassador is shot dead in Ankara. I wonder how that could impact his travel plans, a Pakistani, with no connections whatsoever to Kremlin, but he does not tell me. I tell my Polish gym instructor that it feels like we are experiencing Turkish existential crisis and she says she is moving back to Warsaw in  two months.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-17/istanbul-has-a-karachi-moment


The US and Trump Phenomenon

 By S P Seth


Considering Donald Trump’s impromptu twitter pronouncements during and after the presidential election in the US, it is not surprising that people living both inside and outside the US are in a state of shock. And amongst those most shocked are the country’s intelligence agencies that he has been previously contemptuous of, notwithstanding the fact that he is now changing his tune after his inauguration as the US President. At one time, he had reportedly said, “I won’t use them, because they’ve made such bad decisions.” And their conclusion that Russian hackers might have helped Trump get elected is casting his election as unsavory, if not downright illegitimate. This is going to haunt Trump through his time as the president and is going to cast a doubt on his competence.

Even without the findings of the intelligence community about Russia’s cyber hacking role in Trump’s election, he hasn’t been comfortable with his rival, Hillary Clinton, getting nearly 3 million votes more than him. Though his election as the president through the country’s Electoral College system, which finally decides the winner, is legal, losing by the way of popular votes still diminishes his standing. On top of that, being told that he had won due to Putin’s involvement makes Trump look like Putin’s agent in the US. Trump’s response to this has been two-fold. As previously pointed out, he sought to rubbish the country’s intelligence agencies. For which, he often highlighted their comprehensive failure on Saddam Hussein’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction “WMD), which had formed the basis of the Bush administration’s Iraq invasion in 2003. As we know that Hussein did not have any such arsenal, the US invasion of Iraq is regarded by many as one of the worst foreign policy disasters in the country’s history.

Secondly, he is seeking to change the perception that Putin and Russia are somehow natural enemies of the US; even after reluctantly conceding that Russia had, indeed, interfered in the electoral process by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) emails, as based on intelligence presented to him. However, he had blamed the DNC for failing to protect their system. In any case, according to Trump’s interpretation, it was not a bad thing that Putin and the new US President would able to chart a new course for US-Russia relations. At the same time, he has viciously criticised the US intelligence agencies for ‘leaking’ unverified intelligence, likening it to Nazi Germany, which suggested that Trump might be prone to Russian blackmail on the grounds of his salacious footage during his romp in a Moscow hotel in 2013. The US intelligence agencies have denied the leakage but not certified that it is fake and/or planted. Therefore, there is going to be a standoff, of sorts, between Trump and much of the intelligence community, which would require his administration to either overhaul the system or to subvert it. Hence ensued his initial overtures to the CIA that reportedly said, “I love you, I respect you, and there’s nobody I respect more.” The argument that Russia could even be a natural ally in some ways will be difficult to sell especially when many people in the US have grown up believing the worst about it during the long Cold War period. Such views have since been reinforced by the crisis in Ukraine, where Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine is being seen as a serious threat.

Indeed, the Obama administration, just before the transition to power with Trump as the new president, saw fit to send troops and heavy armour to Poland as a deterrence to the perceived Russian threat. However, Trump is keen to change that perception and not dwell on the negative. His advice to reporters at one point was, “I think we ought to get on with our lives.” He also approvingly quoted Julian Assange’s denial that the material WikiLeaks had earlier put up on the Internet was sourced from Russian sources. It might be worth noting that Assange has been regarded by the US establishment as one of their most hated foreign traitor from an allied country — him being an Australian citizen who is now sheltering in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. While seeking to fend off charges against Russian involvement in his election victory, Trump, at times, finds himself in circular arguments. For instance, he once praised Putin for not reacting to the US expulsion of Russian intelligence operatives following the accusation of cyber hacking. He tweeted, “Great move on delay [by Putin]. I always knew he was very smart!” He was, thus, suggesting that Putin had cleverly helped Trump administration from having to react to any Russian expulsion, if carried out, of US operatives from that country. In this way, he further reinforced his favourable view of Putin, having told the reporters in December 2015 that, “He [Putin] is a really brilliant and talented person.”

He has said that the US and Russia do not need to be on opposite sides as they have common interests, like defeating the IS. While Trump has been rubbishing the US intelligence, highlighting its classical failure about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, some Russian commentators have mocked its findings that accuse their country of hacking its computer systems. One commentator pointed to the lack of any concrete evidence, comparing it with the intelligence about Iraq, which had set out the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Alexey Pushkov, a member of the defence and security of the Russian parliament’s upper house, tweeted, “Mountain gave birth to a mouse: all accusations against Russia are based on ‘confidence’ and assumptions. US was [also] sure about Hussein possessing WMD in the same way.”

It is amazing that despite Trump’s open embrace of Putin as well as reports suggesting Russian interference in the US presidential elections, he doesn’t seem to be suffering any serious popular backlash. This brings us again to the factors that had contributed to the Trump phenomenon. Interestingly, such upheaval was foreseen by Richard Rorty, a left-leaning American philosopher, as far back as 1998 in his book, “Achieving Our Country”. He predicted that the neglected working class would not tolerate its marginalization for long and “Something will crack.” He wrote (as quoted in The New Yorker), “The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots...”

He further predicted, “One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion... All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.” Rorty might not have had Trump in mind, but his prescient analysis of a storm brewing could not have been more right as seen now. What remains to be seen now is how this wrecking ball, called Trump, will go about doing the demolition job.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-17/the-us-and-trump-phenomenon


The Nuclear Taboo

By Rizwan Asghar


The US, along with eight other nuclear-armed states, remains unable to reduce its reliance on threats to use nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, its continued dependence on ‘nuclear blackmail’ or fuzzy concepts like ‘deterrence’ has made the possession of nuclear weapons more suitable.

Next month, the world will observe the 71st anniversary of the atomic attack on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, history’s first and only two acts of nuclear warfare. Since August 1945, nuclear weapons have never been used against any country.

This has led some observers to believe that nuclear weapons will never be used again. However, a deep analysis of global nuclear politics does not warrant high levels of optimism. This tradition of not using nuclear weapons is not strong enough to stay intact in times of war.

What explains the continued non-use of nuclear weapons also remains a moot point among security experts. Thomas Schelling, a US economist and professor of nuclear strategy, believes that the reason behind the non-use of atomic weapons lies in their inability to be “contained, restrained, confined, or limited.”

He further argues that nuclear weapons are different because of “a jointly recognized expectation that they may not be used in spite of declarations of readiness to use them, even in spite of tactical advantages in their use.”

Realist scholars believe power politics and purely material factors to be more crucial determinants. However, deterrence advocates would argue that the non-use of nuclear weapons could be explained by the near-universal fear of mutually assured nuclear destruction. It still does not explain why these weapons have not been used in the absence of a credible threat of nuclear retaliation. On the other hand, constructivist scholars tend to argue for the existence of an international norm against the use of nuclear warheads. In their view, the tradition of non-use of nuclear weapons is socially constructed and defines itself through its inter-subjective thrust, strengthening over time.

Other reasons why nuclear weapons have not been used include tactical constraints such as the dearth of good targets and limited military utility. In 1949, the Harmon committee — led by Lt-Gen Hubert Harmon of the US Air Force — concluded that a nuclear attack on Russia could kill millions of Russians and destroy 40 percent of the Soviet industrial capability but a complete capitulation of Soviet troops would remain impossible.

Similarly, in October 1951, the US conducted an exercise involving dummy nuclear weapons against North Korea. The data showed the ineffectiveness of the weapons because of the difficulties involved in the identification of enemy troops in a timely manner. However, the US President Dwight Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, had not only continued to debate the feasibility of limited use of nuclear weapons but also spent a considerable political capital to establish a public opinion in favour of the use of atomic weapons. In 1954, the US had reportedly considered using atomic weapons against North Vietnam. Luckily, military strategists had then declared the nuclear option to be militarily and technically infeasible due to the absence of suitable targets and the risks involving the outbreak of an all-out nuclear war.

In the post-cold war period, Russia has increased its reliance on nuclear weapons to overcome its limitations of conventional military capability. Russian leaders have repeatedly signalled that the nuclear option can be used under some extreme circumstances. The military doctrine unveiled in 1993 made it clear that “Russia could use nuclear weapons not only in response to a nuclear attack but also in the case of a conventional attack against nuclear weapons or the early-warning system which could be classified as a nuclear attack.”

Even though Russia does not have any stated ‘no-first-use’ policy, it is still willing to adopt it on a multilateral basis.

China is believed to be the only nuclear state that has historically upheld the no-first-use policy. Chinese leaders have proposed the conclusion of a treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons but China’s growing nuclear capabilities have the potential to upset both strategic and conventional balance in the region.

Furthermore, there is little historical evidence to suggest that the Chinese no-first-use policy has been driven by reputational concerns because the goals of nuclear disarmament have never been central to China’s nuclear strategy.

The nuclear policies of Pakistan, India, and Israel have also done little to strengthen the tradition of non-use of nuclear weapons. In Pakistan, a major cause of concern for disarmament activists remains the high level of domestic support for the use of nuclear weapons.

Most people are unaware of the threats posed by the existence of nuclear weapons and, thus, approve their use in the throes of a nationalist plague. The situation is not very different in India as well. Since 2014, the Modi government has been revising India’s nuclear doctrine and no longer has a declaratory no-first-use policy.

Since it became a nuclear state in 1966, Israel has made indirect threats of nuclear use. Israel has far superior conventional military but still continues to build nuclear weapons. According to the most recent estimates, Israel has above 200 nuclear weapons of all sizes. It has historically maintained a policy of deliberate nuclear ambiguity. In 2006, Ehud Olmert, the then-prime minister of Israel, had acknowledged the existence of a nuclear programme but later he had to retract his statement under domestic pressure.

This discussion suggests that security policies of nuclear states still favour long-term reliance on nuclear deterrence and the threats emerging from the possible use of nuclear weapons cannot be ignored. The human race will continue to face the greater risk of extinction as long as nuclear weapons are not totally eliminated.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-17/the-nuclear-taboo


The fall of the Turkish Model

By Dr Qaisar Rashid


Revered by the world was a politically democratic and economically egalitarian Turkish model, which acquiesced to political authoritarianism owing to certain changes introduced by the Arab Spring of 2011.This is the central idea of Cihan Tugal’s book, The fall of the Turkish model: How the Arab uprisings brought down Islamic liberalism, published by Verso in 2016. Tugal is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. This opinion piece intends to discuss Tugal’s certain ideas expressed in the book.

In the title of the book, Tugal has equated the words Turkish model with Islamic liberalism. About the Turkish model, Tugal writes on page 4: “[I]t was ‘Islamic liberalism’: marriage of formal democracy, free market capitalism and (a toned down) conservative Islam.” Further, Tugal writes on page 20: “[I]n the current era, liberalism, the apotheosis of individual property and freedom, frequently goes hand in hand with neoliberalisation (privatization of property, restructuring of welfare state to render individuals self-sufficient, and financialisation).”

Tracing the origin of the Turkish model, Tugal writes on page 25: “What is today known as the Turkish model was perhaps finalized by the AKP regime [Adaletve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP), the liberal-conservative Justice and Development Party which came to power in Turkey in 2002], but its foundations were laid by a coup and its civilian extension in the 1980s, which in turn had come as responses to the turbulence of the 1970s.”The reasons for AKP’s popularity were two. First, the Islamic threat, as Tugal writes on page 4: “The perception of the Islamic threat explains the warm reception of the AKP.” Second, economic problems, as Tugal writes on page 8: “[T]he AKP regime’s success was an outcome of bottom-up entrepreneurial activity [characterized by politics-free business of small and medium size].” The incumbent President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan founded the AKP in 2001. Erdogan’s political ideals embodied in Erdoganism (i.e. a religiously inspired centralized leadership based on electoral consent) substitute Kemalism, which was implemented by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Yet, Erdoganism stands somewhere between Kemalism’s secularism and Islamists’ fundamentalism. Though Moderate Islamism of Erdogan is the first deviation of Erdoganism from Kemalism, it may be because the rise of AKP took place against Turkey’s radical Islamists in the post-2001 era.

The book reveals Turks’ two obsessions, whether materialized or not. First, to lead the Arab world under the nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire. Tugal writes on page 12: “These descriptors referred to his [Erdogan’s] tenacity and strictness, especially regarding the Israel-Palestine issue: He was widely seen by Arabs as the world’s most resolute leader against Israel.” Then, Tugal writes on page 14: “There were those who spoke, with excitement, about the return of the Ottoman Empire.” Taken both statements together, one can find an effort on Erdogan’s part to have a say in the Arab affairs. This is the second deviation of Erdoganism from Kemalism which had divorced Turkey from its Ottoman predecessor. The second obsession is to join the European Union (EU). Tugal writes on page 88: “The [AKP] leaders were also vociferously pro-European and committed to the process of EU accession.” The reason for getting this obsession frustrated hitherto is implicit in the sentence written on page 9: “Turkey’s entry into the European union would serve the interests of the entire Middle East.” Unfortunately, this wish was made before asking the EU whether it was ready to welcome a Middle East’s representative, with or without the nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire.

Tugal thinks that the challenge to the Turkish model has come from authoritarianism rooted in Islam and entered in the model through the practice of liberalization. For instance, Tugal writes on page 3: “[T]he successful liberalization in Turkey during the last three decades itself paved the way for Islam’s later authoritarian and conservative incarnations.” Tugal thinks that letting Islam or Islamic actors mixed with neoliberalisation and democratization was a faulty proposition, as he writes on page 21: “[N]eoliberalisation and democratization can proceed together only for a certain time (through the aid of religious forces). When they start to undermine each other, Islamic actors take up more and more non democratic and non-neoliberal practices (as in Turkey).” That is, when neoliberalisation and democratization work together harmoniously, religious forces remain subservient and supportive to them. However, when neoliberalisation and democratization start undermining each other, not only do they get weaker, religious forces also get compatibly stronger and eventually outweigh both of them.

Just to add insult to injury, the Arab Spring opened options for a domestic uprising to subvert the democratization aspect of the Turkish model, as Tugal writes on page 178: “[T]he Arab uprisings actually dynamited the political liberalism of the Turkish model itself, if not (as yet) its economic liberalism. As the uprisings and regime changes unfolded, Turkey shifted further and further to the political and religious right (and to plain sectarianism), even if in an inconsistent way.” The domestic uprising befell in the form of the Gezi Park uprising in Istanbul in 2013. On pages 249 and 250, Tugal writes: “The spark of the Gezi uprising was ignited by urban issues [such as greenbelt protection]... [However, the] police brutally cracked down on several dozen protesters who wanted to protect the last green area (Gezi Park) near Taksim, popular determination to save this park initiated the biggest spontaneous revolt in Turkish history.” The brutal suppression of the Gezi uprising symbolized the advent of authoritarianism (expressed through the then Prime Minister Erdogan’s posturing with the Rabia sign, a four-fingered salute, as mentioned on page 2) and with that the symbolic end of the Turkish model took place. Hence, Turkey has been trying to preserve and promote politics-free business of small and medium size but at the cost of surrendering the process of democratization to authoritarianism — even if it is justified under “authoritarian liberalism,” as mentioned on page 4 — the third deviance from Kemalism which envisioned political decentralization under Republicanism.

To utter dismay of Tugal, Turkey’s parliament has approved a constitutional reform package, called the power bill, on January 21 this year. Forwarded by AKP, the package is meant for turning Turkey’s parliamentary system into the presidential one in which all power will concentrate in the office of President Erdogan who may extend his term in office until at least 2029. Elected in 2014, President Erdogan is just a ceremonial head of Turkey. However, by mid-April, a referendum may be held — to test Populism, another tenet of Kemalism — and a yes vote will lead to snap elections to reify constitutional reforms.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/25-Jan-17/cihantugals-the-fall-of-the-turkish-model


The Begging Bowl

By Anjum Altaf

January 25th, 2017

DONALD Trump’s nascent presidency has generated much uncertainty. In Pakistan, concern has been expressed that USAID funding might be affected by the transition, which stems from the incoming administration delaying meeting with the aid agency to discuss the continuity of future disbursements.

The concern is that since USAID disburses millions of dollars in Pakistan every year through NGOs, any disruption of this pipeline would affect their sustainability, the livelihoods of thousands of employees and the welfare of their intended beneficiaries. This much is easy to grasp.

At the same time, however, analysts have highlighted other, conflicting dimensions of such funding, which question the objectives and consequences of this aid. They suggest that the primary purpose of the aid is to promote US influence in recipient countries, that aid-based development is not sustainable, and that continued dependence dents national pride — references to the begging-bowl syndrome abound.

Why Is No One Willing To Change A Broken Development Model?

There is thus an obvious dilemma to consider: which of these positions ought to influence national policy regarding bilateral assistance in general and USAID in particular, the latter because the US has (most obvious) security interests in the region? In theory, most analysts prefer development that is financed from local resources with a concomitant winding down of external assistance.

In practice, however, they resign themselves to perpetuation of the status quo. They claim there is no alternative because Pakistan’s population does not wish to pay taxes and believes in getting something for nothing. Is this claim fair, and is it a plausible explanation for the present predicament?

Start with the fact that income and wealth distribution in Pakistan is highly skewed — it can’t be much different from India, where the 57 richest individuals are reported to hold as much wealth as the poorest 70pc of the population. Clearly, any move to widen the tax net would also impact those at the top of the wealth pyramid, many of whom are networked in the ruling establishment. Is it realistic to expect the wealthiest to tax themselves voluntarily? Would they move the country towards self-reliance (in a model where they would have to contribute their share) or continue dependence on external money (from which they have nothing to lose and something to gain by way of rents)?

At the same time, is it correct to assume Pakistan’s population does not pay taxes when it is burdened with all kinds of indirect withholdings? Taxes are withheld from everyone who uses a mobile phone, has a bank account or owns a motorcycle, including those whose incomes are below the minimum taxable limit. The injustice is compounded because many do not even know how to reclaim the withholdings. Equitable taxation from above is avoided while oppressive extortion from below is promoted, much as what one would expect from abuse of power.

The bottom line is that the existing arrangement of development assistance persists because it is in the interests of all the key players — the donor country that uses aid to buy influence, the local establishment that does not want to tax itself, the foreign consultants and contractors who feed off inflated charges, and the NGOs that flourish on easy money for which the donors do not demand accountability — the circle thereby completing itself. Each of these players is happy with the outcome and least bothered by the begging-bowl syndrome that gnaws at the pride of analysts.

Such is the eagerness to make the good times last that a blind eye is turned to the readily available evidence pertaining to the outcome of billions of dollars worth of aid Pakistan has received over the decades. Major recipients, like public health and education, are in a state of shambles and people continue to die from lack of access to clean water and sanitation. What is there to show for the thousands of teachers and health workers who have been trained again and again, each training costing millions?

Why, in the face of such clear evidence, are the decision-makers not clamouring to change this development model? Is it because all the key parties involved are benefiting, while those who will have to pay the future liabilities have no say in the matter?

The only way this gravy train can come to a halt is if Trump does one of those bizarre things people have come to expect of him. It might well happen in Africa, but it is more likely he will be convinced to appreciate what his funding is buying in return in a high-stakes zone like Pakistan. At most, he will demand a higher price from the establishment, which they will accept as the new reality.

Source: dawn.com/news/1310524/the-begging-bowl


Then And Now –­ A Difference

By Harris Khalique

January 25, 2017

I chanced upon a meme the other day. It has a smiling picture of our leading human rights defender, lawyer and social critic, Asma Jahangir, and a quote attributed to her. It says that if we could brave the oppression of someone like General Ziaul Haq, how can those with a design to dominate us ever succeed? As happens often on the internet, there is a possibility that she did not say the exact words or her words were paraphrased by an admirer. But knowing her courage and resolve to take on powers that be, she may have actually said this in as many words.

There are two things inherent in this statement. One, that General Ziaul Haq was as bad as it gets when it comes to the Pakistani state and its ruling class. No one can actually match him in curbing dissent and muffling voices; flogging journalists in public; incarcerating and torturing thousands of political workers, trade unionists, writers, poets and journalists; banning political outfits or not allowing social associations to function; changing the whole education system and curricula; and, not only sharply dividing his own people into sects, tribes, ethnicities, but in fact encouraging and equipping them to impose violence on each other.

The other thing inherent in the statement attributed to Asma is the celebration of a resilient struggle that Pakistanis put up in the face of oppression. To safeguard their civil and political rights, they did not refrain from challenging the worst dictator who has ruled this country. This means that people will never give up and continue their fight to subvert the ambition of powerful individuals and state institutions operating in the name of national interest.

The background to this statement, most probably, are the curbs imposed incrementally over the past few years on the freedom of speech of political leaders and critical but non-violent individuals of society while allowing bigots to continue to spew venom against the state and its citizens. We have also witnessed the unfortunate disappearances of bloggers and social media activists in recent weeks and that of political workers over the past many years.

Like many others, I would like to believe that Asma is right. The reason is simple: those who have had contact with some form of political work or social activism, ever in their lives, are able to develop a certain attitude towards life to preserve their optimism. They recount the small successes made in the struggle for justice, equality and realisation of human rights in their own countries. They find examples in history where people prevailed over their oppressors, revolutions were successfully brought about by underdogs and reforms were introduced and benefitted the people. They find alibis to remain satisfied with their existence and struggle to a large extent, if not entirely.

I also believe that General Ziaul Haq’s rule was the worst dictatorship we have experienced as Pakistanis. From using our own country and the soil of Afghanistan as fodder for the American cannons to fight the last physical battle of the cold war to hanging an elected prime minister to dismantling all institutions of democracy and governance to creating a hypocritical and violent society, it will be hard for any single ruler or an institution, military or civil, to be able to emulate him. After General Ziaul Haq and what he has brought upon our nation, it will be difficult to dig any deeper into the abyss.

But my positive attitude and recounting of successes made by the progressive movement in the past, examples from history and the alibis that would help me remain content with the ability of the forces of resistance and the possibility of their success are challenged when I look around and find no significant challenge to the ideas and institutions that dominate both the mind and the public space. I do not find enough reason to believe that Pakistanis as a people are left with the agency to put up a struggle against multiple forms of oppression. In fact, I am not even sure if there is any will left in a good number of people to put up resistance.

Asma and her generation were aided by conscientious political forces and an ethical media. In the times of General Ziaul Haq, there were cadres of the PPP led by Nusrat Bhutto and later Benazir, their allied left-wing parties like the Mazdoor Kissan Party, Qaumi Mahaz-e-Azadi or Awami National Party, democratic parties like the Pakistan Democratic Party led by Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, and religious parties like the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan of Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani, that were all fighting tooth and nail for the restoration of democracy. Their workers – from Lahore to Quetta and Peshawar to Karachi – were resisting and taking on the brute force of the state.

There were hundreds of journalists like Minhaj Barna, Nisar Osmani, Mazhar Ali Khan and Aziz Siddiqui who would not give up in the face of terror. They would fill up jail cells and get humiliated and flogged in public – for instance Nasir Zaidi (who continues to work for The News in Rawalpindi) among many others.

What we are faced with is not just simply a state that is a monolith with a society underneath. It is a state that developed scores of tentacles to control the mind and body of society. But the nervous system failed, and control of the state over some of its tentacles, not all, was compromised. These tentacles have mutated and morphed and found new sources of energy within society – something they were supposed to control when they were originally grown.

The struggle, therefore, is not simple. It is not against a military dictator or a callous ruler or a political regime or a violent group. The struggle is to take on and transform the society in which we live, in addition to dealing with the coercive institutions of the state. The force of the state was never celebrated in a sizeable part of society as much as it is now.

There is no political party or force that demonstrates an effective resolve to clearly take on the bigotry in our society. Knowing full well that their own future is at stake, they are still not determined to be categorical and final in their approach to curb extremism and violence. Their political expediency for small gains and the lust for power in Islamabad or any of the provincial capitals make them cut deals with forces of darkness in broad daylight.

Then we have the media, particularly our powerful Urdu press and private television, which has taken upon itself to broadcast news round the clock for 24 hours. It is never-ending as there is no holiday for newsmakers or news breakers. Some of the most popular and influential media anchors, scribes, analysts and commentators blatantly incite hatred and provoke violence against individuals or groups of people they dislike or disagree with. There are obscurantists, fascists, misogynists and psychopaths who ride the airwaves and enter our living rooms every day.

The crises of our times are: the crisis of conscience in political parties and the crisis of ethics in the mass media. I do not agree with those who say that artists and creative writers are not producing enough quality and have receded from their position in society. If Habib Jalib and Ghani Khan are no more, Fahmida Riaz and Ashiq Buzdar continue to write. There are writers, poets, artists and performers who are young and promising and refuse to conform. But they have fewer comrades, associates, fellow travellers and sympathisers among current politicians and the contemporary media.

Source: thenews.com.pk/print/181496-Then-and-now-a-difference

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/crime-of-extra-judicial-killing--new-age-islam-s-selection,-25-january-2017/d/109836


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